HOW VOLUNTEERING BRINGS SO MUCH MORE THAN EXPECTED
Retirement is a major milestone in life, providing seniors with the opportunity to pursue new interests, spend time with loved ones, or simply relax. However, for some, the transition to retirement can be challenging, leaving them feeling unfulfilled or without a sense of purpose. This is where volunteering can make a significant difference, opening doors to new experiences, skills, and relationships that can help seniors make their golden years more meaningful.
Mary Ang, 67 years old, a senior volunteer at Lions Befrienders’ Active Ageing Centre (AAC) Tampines 434, has been volunteering for the past nine years, and has gained more than she has given. After having a good life-long career in the sales industry, Mary retired at 59 years old and probably thought that she had gotten all the achievements she could possibly get in life. However, volunteering has allowed Mary to see herself in a completely new light.
Through her volunteering work, she has learned many new skills that gave her the confidence to step outside of her comfort zone, such as teaching weekly art classes at the AAC.
In addition, she shares how her volunteering experience has allowed her to rediscover herself and her potential. “I never thought I could ever draw [like how I am doing now]!” This realisation has motivated her to learn more in her own free time as well. “Because of the seniors whom I conduct art classes for, it motivates me to go on to YouTube to learn [new handicraft],” she said.
More than new skills and experiences, Mary has also gained a more positive outlook on life, sharing, “Volunteering gives my life a lot of fun, and I became more cheerful.” She added that her family, particularly her son, has been very supportive of her volunteering work as they saw how much happier she became. This new transformation which Mary also saw in herself inspired her to bring volunteering beyond the AAC, leading her to help seniors with mobility issues, assisting in grocery shopping or household chores.
When asked about what is her motivation for volunteering, she shares a straightforward yet profound answer: “My satisfaction [from volunteering] comes from seeing the smiles of the seniors I serve. I don’t need anything else.”
Seeing the happy faces of the LB seniors gives Mary such a strong sense of purpose that she has no plans to stop anytime soon, “I always tell myself that I want to volunteer until I can no longer walk.” Mary’s story is a testament to the many benefits of volunteering, from learning new skills and making new friends to finding a new sense of purpose and fulfillment in life. She encourages everyone to try their hand at volunteering, saying, “Even if you have no time, you can still volunteer, even for just a day. Through volunteering, you can discover your talents and life [anew].”