Insights + interviews

Senior volunteerism and motivations for giving back

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Uncle Andrew (78 year-old) and Aunty Kim (80 year-old) are one of Singapore’s oldest volunteering couples. They have been giving back for over a decade. We find out more about their motivations for giving so generously to different organisations.

2019 will be their 9th time helping out at the upcoming Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. The duo will be handling daily shifts supporting the Race Entry Pack Collection, the Kids Dash on Friday evening and their race day tasks as Medal Distributors.

The Active Age speaks with Andrew and Kim to find out more about their perspective on volunteerism.

The Active Age (AA): Can you share more about yourselves?

Andrew and Kim: We have been helping at South-West Community Development Council (CDC) for the last 10 years, packing goodie bags, handing out water bottles and acting as route marshals for mass events from the National Day Parade to the Sundown Marathon. We have three married daughters, and four grandchildren.

AA: How long have you been married?

Andrew and Kim: We have been married for 54 years, since 1965.

AA: When did you start volunteering at sports events, and specifically the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon?

Andrew and Kim: I have been volunteering at marathons and running events for the last 10 years since 2009, a year after I retire. My first Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon event was in 2009. I volunteer about twice a month at running events.

AA: What do you do as a volunteer?

Andrew and Kim: Prior to a race, I spend between three to five days helping out with the preparations, such as packing and giving out race-packs to the participants. I log an average of 10 to 12 hours on these days. On race day, I pour water into cups for runners at drinks stops along the route, road marshal or helping with crowd control.

AA: Why do you volunteer?

Andrew and Kim: I volunteer in order to age actively – both physically and mentally – to widen my social-circle, and to give back to the society.

AA: How would you describe the satisfaction gained with someone that’s thinking of volunteering?

Andrew and Kim: It is more blessed to give than to receive! It makes my day just seeing a smile on the runners’ faces when I pass them the water, and to encourage them to keep going.

AA: What is the one anecdote over the years that captures the spirit of volunteerism for you?

Andrew and Kim: It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, as long as you are willing to volunteer and is able to make time, just come on board! No effort is too small or insignificant.



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