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A Special Kind of Volunteer

Wanting to make Singapore a happier and kinder place, Ms Sherry Soon founded Be Kind SG, a volunteer-initiated outreach group. During this COVID-19 pandemic, she led her team to provide unwavering support to staff and patients of SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH), landing her a President's Volunteerism & Philanthropy Award in 2020.

I have always been active as a volunteer but my friends could hardly join me as they were too busy with work and family commitments. My husband then suggested starting a platform to offer micro-volunteering opportunities, and that was how Be Kind SG started in May 2017. As a ground-up movement, we hope to inspire more working adults to volunteer by providing a range of flexible and fuss-free activities they can participate in and connect groups of people for a more inclusive society.

You cannot actually tell by looking at me but I have an auto-immune disease called vasculitis. With this disease, there are certain things I cannot do like prolonged standing. Similarly, there are many in our society with invisible or less-visible conditions like autism or dyslexia. I think it is important for people to be kinder and less judgmental. When someone is kind to you, it motivates you to pass it on. I believe we should all strive to constantly create this cycle of kindness.

When Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) had to be converted to care for COVID-19 patients, my team could imagine the great sense of anxiety the staff must have felt. We wanted to lift their spirits and for them to feel like the nation is cheering them on! So, we reached out to any parties, sourced for donated items and put them into care packs for the staff and patients at BVH. We also extended this to Outram Community Hospital and coordinated care packs to staff to encourage them during these trying times.

Our efforts during the pandemic led to me receiving the President's Volunteerism & Philanthropy Award last year as a ‘Leader Of Good’. I feel humbled and grateful, and honestly, this award is a recognition of my team’s hard work. I am especially thankful that SCH made the effort to acknowledge volunteers and their contributions, given how busy they already are during this difficult time.

Beyond the award, I think that volunteering is a truly rewarding experience that allows us to grow and connect with our communities. To you reading this – are there causes that you are passionate about? Skills you have that are useful or relevant? These are all good places to start if you are exploring being a volunteer. If you come across a suitable volunteering opportunity, just do it!

Check out Be Kind SG’s Facebook page @bekindsg