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Mr Gene Teo embarked on a remarkable journey of volunteerism when he was recruited from the National Council of Social Service's (NCSS) monthly volunteer recruitment drive in 1998. Little did he know that this decision would lead to a lifelong commitment to serving the community. Over the past 25 years, Gene has been an invaluable asset to the Sree Narayana Mission (SNM)'s volunteer efforts, contributing his time and skills to various aspects of their mission. SNM is a social service agency committed to providing a range of social services for the underserved regardless of race, language, or religion.
Gene’s journey as a volunteer has been multi-faceted. He started as a regular volunteer, engaging in activities with the elderly residents of SNM. His regular committed visitation provided the seniors with not only companionship but also a vital sounding board, offering them something to look forward to as a distraction from life's challenges.
Beyond direct interaction with the seniors, Gene has taken on diverse roles within the organisation. He became an integral part of the training and recruitment team, ensuring that new volunteers were well-prepared for their roles. Additionally, he contributed his talents to the editorial and publications team, helping to disseminate the organisation's message effectively. Gene's dedication was further underscored when he assumed the role of Chairperson of SNM’s volunteer group, SN Home, demonstrating leadership and commitment.
Gene's involvement extended way beyond SN Home. One particularly noteworthy programme that Gene contributed to is SN Home Assistance Reach-out for the Elderly (SHARE), an initiative aimed at reaching out to seniors and families in Marsiling. Even when the programme has ended, Gene and other volunteers continued to visit the seniors and their families as a strong bond has been formed between them. This is a testament to the lasting impact that Gene and his fellow volunteers have made.
“Volunteering for me started from the desire to contribute to society and bring joy to the underprivileged. But over the years, I’ve come to realise that I have received much more from the experience than I have given.
Firstly, that I have benefitted much more from giving my time and love to the so-called “beneficiaries” – that is both fulfilling and humbling. Secondly, that there are many willing givers, donors, and supporters in our midst – it only takes a spark.”– Mr Gene Teo, Volunteer, Sree Narayana Mission
When reflecting on the impact of his volunteering journey, Gene highlights two key dimensions: socio-emotional and health-related. Through his interactions, he has built meaningful relationships with the seniors, providing them with a crucial sounding board and a source of distraction from life's challenges. On the health front, programmes like SHARE-A-POT and SHARE have contributed to building the physical and psychosocial well-being of the seniors, improving their physical health and overall quality of life.
Gene's story exemplifies the power of consistent and dedicated volunteerism. Over a span of 25 years, he has not only created a positive impact in the lives of countless seniors but has also enriched his own life with meaningful connections and the satisfaction of making a difference. His journey stands as an inspiration to us all, demonstrating that small acts of kindness and commitment can lead to profound and lasting change in our communities and ourselves.
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.