Crossing from beneficiary to volunteer leader (Stewardship Report 2022 – 2023: Crossing Frontiers)

A happy assembly line: Mdm Sandy Tan (second from the left) helping to pack mailers for our fundraising efforts, together with other regular volunteers of Sarah AAC and PCS Fundraising Executive, Ms Christa Choo (far right).

Mdm Sandy Tan started as a beneficiary of PCS Sarah Active Ageing Centre (AAC). In 2021, she came to know of Sarah AAC through the centre’s outreach and began participating in the centre’s activities.

At that time, she was a full-time caregiver for her mother, who had dementia. Amid family friction and bearing the brunt of her mother’s illness,
Sarah AAC was an oasis where she could focus on herself and enjoy interacting with others
. As she spent time with the seniors and staff, Sandy began to have a brighter and more positive frame of mind.

Once, a group of volunteers came. While listening to their story, something came over me and I started to cry. I felt such a release from deep inside, that it came out in tears,” says Sandy. The warmth of those she met through the centre programmes began to change her bit by bit. Naturally, out of gratitude, Sandy looked for ways to give back to the people and the place where she experienced much light.

Now, Sandy is a very encouraging volunteer. She distributes food ration tickets and looks out for her elderly neighbours. Every two months, she escorts a wheelchair-bound neighbour to the centre for SATA’s Doctor-on-Wheels initiative, then to the nearby market for grocery shopping and back. She actively participates in games and trains newcomers to ace them too. She is also a regular at our talks for seniors.

“I got to know Sandy when she helped with packing our mailers. After a while, I realised she is a very warm person and someone the centre staff relied on and trusted. Other volunteers took instructions from her. She knew where all the materials we needed were kept, and even guided me through the whole process! Her support and friendliness were an encouragement, as I was new at the time,” says Ms Christa Choo, fundraising executive at PCS.

“Once when just two of us were packing, she shared with me until she cried. At that time, I was thinking, it really is such a privilege to just be there for such an amazing person. I think as much as we relied on Sandy, she relied on us too,” says Christa.

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