Launch of AIC’s Silver Guardian Program at PCS Esther AAC

On 5 April 2024, Presbyterian Community Services in collaboration with the Agency for Integrated Care celebrated the launch of a new AAC volunteer programme at PCS Esther Active Ageing Centre, which was attended by guests, seniors and Community Care Partners.

The programme, later referred to as the “Silver Guardians”, is part of a national initiative to help seniors age actively and aims to target seniors to volunteer in Active Ageing Centres (AACs) islandwide.

The emcees greeted the attendees with much enthusiasm, and commenced the launch event with a volunteer-led Chair Zumba exercise session. The energy was felt throughout the entire room as the instructor led the crowd into moving to the rhythm of the zumba beats!

The Guest-of-Honour, Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Health, was greeted and welcomed as he arrived at the centre by PCS’s senior management team and the welcome party from AIC. The Minister even joined in on the fun!

After the invigorating exercise, a short video introducing the volunteer program and showcasing AAC volunteers was screened. The video highlighted the program’s aims to build a strong community where seniors can support each other and make meaningful contributions.

Mr Ong Ye Kung was then invited on stage to deliver his speech, announcing the launch the volunteer programme along with the reveal of its name: the ‘Silver Guardians’

In his speech, Mr Ong said that the program’s pilot project “confirms what researchers, doctors and the Ministry of Health have said, which is that volunteers can benefit greatly, maybe even more than beneficiaries of volunteer work.” 

He also added that through volunteerism, seniors can continue to make a meaningful impact on the lives of people around them, and remain active, healthy and socially connected.

Afterwards, a Token of Appreciation was presented to Community Care Partners, where Mr Ong present plaques Partners for those who have participated in the pilot programme. 

The event was also commemorated with a group photo taken with Mr Ong (left from centre) and all attendees.

A performance was also given by Estheritar, the all-mens’ guitar group from Esther AAC, which covered songs for the senior attendees, namely: “The Young Ones”, “Stand by Me” and “Peng You”, a Chinese oldies song.

Mr Ong (right) even joined in one of the song performances and sang along with the crowd of nostalgic seniors!

Mr Ong also went around various senior volunteer-led activities happening in the AAC. He observed the volunteer-led beading and handicraft activities at activity rooms, with the handicraft activities themselves were organised by elderly volunteers from Handiwork: an initiative to engage and empower elderly volunteers to contribute back to the community with their delicate handicrafts. The volunteer group is known to meet at Esther and Evergreen AAC every week.

Mr Ong also prepared Kuih Kuih with seniors and volunteers at the pantry area as part of the communal cooking activity. The kuih kuih was served along with green been soup attendees at the event.

Our then-former Executive Director, Mr David Lim, shared to shared with Minister Ong about the work of Presbyterian Community Services through the posters and stands displayed on stage, highlight the impact and initiatives of our agency.

Interviews were also conducted for Silver Generation volunteers from our centre, whose stories were featured in various articles, namely: Mr Salleh, a male guitarist for Estheritar; Ms Guan, a volunteer that teaches hanyu pinyin to seniors at Esther AAC; and Ms Zhou, a volunteer that enjoys using her pastry-making skills to cook for seniors.

As the launch event came to a close, we hope that its efforts will bear fruit and inspire fellow seniors to volunteer and improve the lives of those around them.

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