Inspiring The Next Generation: Meet The Teacher Who Transforms Lives Through Volunteering

She seamlessly integrates volunteering into her busy life, continuously learning new skills and encouraging her students to embrace the spirit of community service.
Public service is a mission that, for some, extends beyond working hours and has become a lifestyle that inspires future generations.

Public service is a mission that, for some, extends beyond working hours and has become a lifestyle that inspires future generations.

For Oh Wei Ting, teaching has been a passion that has since become a career pursuit as well. At 33, she’s the Head of the Junior High Science Department at National Junior College, educating young minds.

But once her classes are over and students disperse for the week, her focus turns to people on the opposite end of the age spectrum – the elderly.

Beyond work, Wei Ting is a volunteer. Every week, she devotes her time to activities with TOUCH Meals on Wheels and AWWA Senior Befriender, where she delivers food to seniors and provides them the companionship they need.

“My affinity for serving seniors is deeply rooted in the special connections formed through their stories and the profound lessons they generously share, leaving a lasting impact on my heart,” shares Wei Ting.

Learning Through Volunteering

The diversity of her experiences reflects what public service is about – serving and interacting with countless people, each with their own story and experiences.

For Wei Ting, these are the elderly, children in need, people with disabilities and even foreign migrants needing assistance in Singapore, all of whom she has met over her 14-year-long volunteering journey.

It all started at the Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled, which kindled her ambition to contribute more to society when she was just 19.

I unknowingly embraced the concept of serving-learning long before encountering the term in my role as an educator. Volunteering has been my invaluable cardio exercise, allowing me to learn and grow while serving others. Beyond mere assistance, I view volunteering as a dynamic learning journey. - Oh Wei Ting
What started with just a desire to do good has helped her develop many skills, such as communication, teamwork, and even managerial skills, as she now helps her students organise their own projects.
Oh Wei Ting at Purple Parade with deaf friends.

Some, however, were quite unexpected: like barbering, that she provided for those in need, or sign language. The latter proved very useful during the annual Purple Parade, where the ability to communicate with deaf people helped her. She aims to eventually support deaf students in both academic and non-academic contexts once she attains full proficiency.

While the learning process may demand additional time and effort, Wei Ting sees it as an investment in her ability to contribute meaningfully to the well-being of the communities she serves – in and outside of work.

She currently allocates two hours per week to volunteer, down from five hours when her schedule was less busy.

“Safeguarding these two hours has been challenging amid a busier schedule, but I recognise their importance as they serve as brief yet rejuvenating moments integral to my self-care routine.”

Wei Ting has created opportunities for here students to join her efforts like barbering.

Encouraging the Young Also To Do Good

Having limited time does not mean one can’t contribute in other creative ways. Wei Ting has brought her volunteering spirit into her classrooms, through partnerships with various volunteering communities and networks that she’s a part of.

This has created opportunities for her students to join her efforts or has inspired them to embark on their own volunteering missions, both in Singapore and beyond. Project Meraki, launched in March 2021, was one such student-led initiative.

The project, done in collaboration with Lakeside Family Services, engaged in virtual sessions to instil GRIT values – Grace, Respect, Integrity, and Tenacity – in underprivileged primary school children, and created a safe virtual space for self-discovery, fostering confidence and character development among kids.

Apart from local community projects, Wei Ting has played a crucial role in mentoring student teams for overseas projects, including a school in Siem Reap. Through these, she transitioned into an advisory role for these new teams.

She admits that the evolution of her role in volunteering has been remarkable, transitioning from being "addicted" to serving more, to being "addicted" to influencing more people to engage in service.

Volunteering has seamlessly integrated into my life, enriching it with valuable insights and skills. Proudly embracing my identity as an addicted and active service-learner, I eagerly anticipate the ongoing journey of making a positive difference in the lives of others. - Oh Wei Ting

Get Started With Volunteering

As a volunteering veteran, Wei Ting shares tips for those unsure of how to make the most of their time and begin their volunteering journey as a public officer:

  1. Find what you truly care for
    “Initiate your volunteering journey by starting with ad-hoc opportunities that align with a cause close to your heart, such as working with the elderly.”
  2. Engage and evaluate
    “As you become more at ease, gradually escalate your level of involvement. Following each volunteering activity, take time for reflection — consider how the experience made you feel and the impact it had.”
  3. Commit
    “As you establish a regular commitment, you'll organically allocate dedicated time. Find opportunities that align with your passions, allowing you to make a positive impact while enjoying the experience.”

For Public Officers: Public Service for Good

Make an impact beyond work while fulfilling your sense of purpose and gaining useful life skills. Public officers can use up to 40 hours a year on developmental activities, including volunteering. Find out more here (intranet only).

    Feb 5, 2024
    Alex Tan
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