#Heartwork: Mr Ng Boon Teck

09 Apr 2024

Mr Ng Boon Teck, a dedicated secondary school teacher, embarked on his journey with TOUCH Community Services in 1994, during his final year of university. What began as a simple request from a sick friend to lend a helping hand at one of TOUCH's children's clubs in Clementi has since blossomed into a lifelong commitment to nurturing young minds and hearts.

Boon Teck moulding young hearts and minds at TOUCH Young Arrows (Bukit Panjang)

As Boon Teck delved into his role at TOUCH, he found himself drawn to the ethos of TOUCH Young Arrows (TYA). TYA envisions children as arrows, capable of being honed and guided towards making positive societal impacts and becoming future community leaders. Through various mentoring activities, TYA strives to unlock the potential of children from single-parent or low-income families, offering academic coaching, values-driven social-emotional learning activities, enrichment programs, and camps across 25 clubs in Singapore.

The Heart of Leadership

Despite initial setbacks and doubts stemming from negative feedback during his early volunteering days, Boon Teck persevered with the support of fellow volunteer leaders. His dedication soon flourished into a deep connection with the children, driving him to continue volunteering even after marriage and starting a family. Through his involvement, Boon Teck not only found his life partner but also witnessed firsthand the profound impact volunteers can have on both children and their families.

“Although I was discouraged by my first volunteering session due to some negative feedback I received from one of the children, I managed to overcome them with help from the other volunteer leaders. Soon, I bonded with the children and would look forward to each club meeting. Since then, I have never looked back and continued volunteering even after I got married and started a family,”shared Boon Teck.

Boon Teck (right), together with children and youths from TOUCH Young Arrows taking part in interactive activities

Transitioning from a volunteer to a volunteer leader, Boon Teck embraced his role with humility and a teachable spirit. Recognising the importance of collective leadership, he prioritised fostering strong relationships and unity among volunteers.

“The most important quality a volunteer leader should have is a teachable heart, to humbly seek help from more knowledgeable volunteers or from the staff within the social service agency. I may not be able to resolve all the issues on my own but collectively, we can tackle any issues and grow stronger together,” shared Boon Teck.

Recognising the importance of collective leadership, he prioritised fostering strong relationships and unity among volunteers.

“As a leader, it is my priority to ensure that the Club’s objectives are met. To achieve this, we need to have a strong and committed team, working towards our shared vision. I believe in collective leadership and all team members should learn to work together despite their differences. As a volunteer you have a big influence over the young lives you are moulding. I have had to counsel volunteers who needed help in being a team player and aligning with the shared vision. I also had to make the tough decision of assessing and deciding on the suitability of volunteers in meeting the needs of the children under our care,” added Boon Teck.

Boon Teck believes that every volunteer plays a crucial role in shaping the lives of the children and emphasises the need for teamwork, mentorship, and alignment with the club's shared vision.

A Community of Growth and Appreciation

Boon Teck's leadership extends beyond operational duties. He created a culture of appreciation and growth within TYA.

Boon Teck (second from right) enjoying a birthday celebration with TOUCH Young Arrows children and volunteers

“Volunteers often come from diverse backgrounds, and their commitment and readiness to serve may also differ. However, it is the love for the children and the desire to bring them and their family members joy that often bind us together. This common goal helps every volunteer chart their own path of volunteering journey. Those who can only commit three hours weekly, will grow to experience the joy and at times, heartaches, of interacting with the children. However, those who can commit more time for home visits, family camps, survival camps, etc. will enjoy a more enriching volunteering experience. These close interactions help every volunteer grow as an individual to appreciate their family members,” shared Boon Teck.

Through structured praise sessions and timely recognition, he ensures that both children and volunteers feel valued for their contributions.

“Giving appreciation must be timely. Hence, we have purposefully structured praise time into our weekly club sessions to affirm our children who exhibit good behaviour during weekly club sessions. When we intentionally praise our children for their good behaviour, it also reminds the staff, supervisors, and club leaders to affirm our volunteers for the activities they have anchored each week,” added Boon Teck

His unwavering belief in the power of giving back underscores his message that even the smallest talents can be multiplied to bless others.

A Legacy of Service and Impact

As Boon Teck reflects on his 30-year volunteering journey, he sees not just personal growth but also the transformative impact of collective service.

“Do not look inwardly at what you are lacking, e.g. inability to articulate well, lack of patience, poor organisation skills, etc. and hesitate to start your volunteering journey. Look at the one talent or plus point you have now and use it. You never know; it can lead to more talents being multiplied to bless others. I started my volunteering journey 30 years ago, with just one plus point – I had nothing else to do on Saturday. However, through volunteerism, I have gained more talents / plus points like how to parent my own children effectively and how to communicate with others more confidently,” shared Boon Teck.

Boon Teck (right) coaching TOUCH Young Arrows children in their schoolwork

Through his steadfast commitment to nurturing a caring and nurturing community, Boon Teck continues to inspire hope and empower both children and volunteers to thrive. In his words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” encapsulating the enduring spirit of volunteerism and the joy of making a difference in the lives of others.

Are you looking to make an impact through volunteering? Check out our Volunteer Resource Hub for useful links to help you in your volunteering journey.