Empower To Engage

A Centre Manager’s Drive for Seniors to Take Charge

Janice Lim, Centre Manager of LB AAC @ Clementi 344.

Janice Lim, Centre Manager of LB AAC @ Clementi 344, joined LB in early 2021 brimming with ideas, corporate expertise as well as volunteering experience that brought a fresh perspective to the table. Here at the AAC, she had proposed the slogan E.T.E. – which stands for Empower To Engage. This would pave the way for an ongoing journey of collaboration, community building and positive change for the LB seniors under her team’s care.

Earlier in her career, Janice had spent five years in the USA working in a university set-up, helping international students settle into their new environment by arranging for home hosting and organising relevant events and activities for them. Upon returning to Singapore, she built upon her profession in the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) sector, with her portfolio ranging across admissions, outreach and international recruitment, financial assistance and events management.

In 2020, Janice decided on a career switch. Years of volunteering in organisations such as Willing Hearts and Ronald McDonald House Charities, as well as serving in her church’s seniors ministry had allowed her to gain much insight into the needs of both youths and the elderly. “I found that (joining LB as a Centre Manager) would be a more direct interaction with the ground to meet seniors’ needs,” she explains.

At LB AAC @ Clementi 344, Janice realised many seniors still have much to contribute to the community even after their retirement. Hence she started the E.T.E. initiative, to Empower (a senior) To Engage (other seniors) by having them teach various skills or conduct programmes at the AAC. Through observation, Janice and her staff identified LB seniors whose talents matched their willingness to serve as Senior Volunteers. E.T.E. was rolled out with a Senior Volunteer teaching balloon sculpting to fellow LB seniors, and this soon expanded to other programmes such as Upcycling, Community Gardening and Fun Walks, all fully led by the Senior Volunteers, who currently number at around 20.

A Senior Volunteer guides fellow LB seniors along in an upcycling project.

The results from E.T.E. have been very positive. “The Senior Volunteers are more motivated, and it increases their self-esteem. They are very happy that they can contribute to the community after their retirement, and not just be on the receiving end. It’s a win-win situation,” Janice says.

Janice hopes to encourage more seniors at risk of social isolation, especially those who may be semi-ambulant or wheelchair bound, to join LB AAC @ Clementi 344, even though they may not be able to do certain activities or exercises. She states, “We want them to know that they are part of the community, and this is a place for them where they can always enjoy social interaction.”

Janice (centre in blue) and her seniors at LB AAC @ Clementi 344.