Our Story
There’s no role too small for the social service sector
Rachel Chew
Programmes and Fundraising Executive, Young Women’s Christian Association of Singapore
Published on 10/07/19
Rachel Chew began as an intern at YWCA Singapore, a social service agency committed to meeting the needs of society through the empowerment and development of its members, before progressing to a full time Programmes and Fundraising Executive. 
 
She organises fundraising events and works with multiple departments across the agency. Read more about her journey as a social service professional – and how she feels that every one plays a purposeful role in social service.

Pursuing a Path of Enacting Positive Change
I completed a degree in Sociology before starting my social service journey in 2016. Having always wanted to make a difference in society, I signed up for the NCSS Sector Internship Programme, and interned at YWCA Singapore.
 
It was certainly eye opening. For two months, I got first-hand experience of a variety of work, including data collection, events management and administration duties. 
 
My colleagues were very helpful. Aside from being a fun group to work with, they were also approachable and reassuring. For someone who just joined the workforce, they were patient and supportive of my progress, and were always happy to guide me.
 
Despite the short period, it was a remarkably encouraging experience. I gained valuable insights on social service and how I could play a part in creating a meaningful impact in the lives of others.
 
Learning the Ropes
As an intern, I learnt a lot about event management and how my work contributed to the vulnerable in society. In December 2016, I helped my colleagues to organise a Christmas party for children from less privileged families. Over 20 children from our Meals-on-wheels programme and their families came down for a day of games, performances and activities.
 
As part of the organising team, I helped out with various tasks, including table arrangement, venue decoration and registration. Watching our hard work play out during the event was rewarding. A particularly heart-warming moment was when the children received presents sponsored by our donors. Seeing their faces light up in excitement was priceless. 
 
While my tasks were mostly supportive in nature, I believe that it’s all about teamwork and every contribution counts. Seeing and experiencing our clients’ joy reminds me of why I chose to embark on a career in social service.
 
And it wasn’t long before I realised that social service was my calling. After my two-month internship, YWCA offered me a full time role as a Programmes and Fundraising Executive. I was delighted because I saw this as an opportunity to promote positive change in society through my role as a social service professional. Needless to say, I accepted the job.
 
New Experiences at Every Turn
I began assuming greater responsibilities as a full time executive. This made me feel like I had a bigger role to play in improving the lives of YWCA’s clients. Today, I work under the Programmes and Services Department where I organise fundraising events that support our community service programmes.
 
This involves working with multiple departments and a typical day entails liaising between different staff members, managing logistics and planning for an event.
 
My new role also gave me the opportunity to helm projects. In January 2018, I spearheaded the Bounce for Charity fundraising event, a one-day carnival comprising of performances, stalls, and a multitude of fringe activities. I was elated that the event was well received with a whopping turnout of 700 attendees!
 
That said, planning for it was challenging. It took us six months to organise the massive event and it involved working with multiple vendors, sponsors, and stall owners. And like a full circle, I also worked with an intern who, this time, helped me with my duties. I definitely appreciated her contribution and made an effort to let her know.
 
Seeing the event come to fruition was hard work, but at the end of the day it was all worth it when everyone who attended it enjoyed themselves. To top it off,  receiving positive feedback from colleagues was like icing on the cake.
 
Aside from the success of the event, it’s also encouraging to know that all the events we organise help fund our community service programmes, which in turn contribute to providing a caring and inclusive community and support ecosystem for YWCA’s clients. Indeed, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And I’m glad I’m able to have a part to play – all for the greater good.
 
Throughout my time in social service, I’ve found it to be a deeply fulfilling sector for anyone looking to make a difference in society. To me, the best part of this endeavour is how everyone comes together – to bring about a positive change in society.
Rachel is working on one of the programme that she manages.