As an Assistant Volunteer Manager at Lions Befrienders, Khoo Yu handles the recruitment, sustenance and retention of volunteers who provide their friendship to seniors at risk of social isolation. This is his story.
Behind the befrienders
Khoo Yu’s Social Service journey started when he heeded his mother’s advice to look at the Social Service Tribe portal for career opportunities in Social Service. Years later, he still enjoys what he does every single day. “My role is similar to matchmaking. I match volunteers – or ‘befrienders’ as we call them – with seniors so they might find solace and friendship in their silver years. Aside from being able to positively impact the seniors, my biggest source of pride comes from seeing volunteers enjoying their stint. Knowing that we contributed to their experiences during their time with us, makes me happy,” he shares.
The interpersonal aspect has been very significant in Khoo Yu’s career, and he gets his drive from people. “When interacting with volunteers, clients, corporate partners or colleagues, what has worked for me is forming genuine relationships with them. This humanizes them and shines a light on their perspectives,” he notes. Being people-oriented, he also values the importance of working as a team and is thankful for having found colleagues who resonate with him and what he stands for. Referring to them as a second family, he is convinced that having good colleagues instantly makes work gratifying. He adds, “An advantage that human beings have is to cooperate and help each other out and when everyone comes together for a common good, we can inspire generations.”
Khoo Yu’s interactions with seniors have also made him realise that staying connected to people is good for one’s physical and mental well-being, especially in the silver years.
Doing whatever it takes
Aside from volunteer management, Khoo Yu is involved in executing events organised by community partners, as well as conducting trainings for internal and external stakeholders too. “The nature of my work calls for me to be a jack-of-all-trades, especially with skills related to design or soft skills such as negotiation and diplomacy. These requirements have allowed for many learning opportunities that I am very grateful for,” he says. Khoo Yu also highlights that there is room for creativity and spontaneity as long as you are willing to dig deep to do what is necessary. “You have to put in the work, because what we do is important in society. Social Service Professionals empower the community and bring out the inclusivity in people, to strengthen the nation’s social fabric.”
A role in volunteer management is one of many in Social Service. To find out more, read about a career in engagement and fundraising..