Seeing many happy faces and hearing words of encouragement among volunteers and beneficiaries is a favourite experience of Chan Mun Yew. Having volunteered with SAFRA for 30 years, he also has a rich 28 years’ experience as one of the community members of the SAFRA Community Services Club (SAFRACS).
Currently the treasurer of the club, Mun Yew describes SAFRACS as consisting of a diverse group of volunteers coming “from all walks of life”, from students and teachers to drivers, engineers and retirees. SAFRA Toa Payoh, together with SAFRACS, organises regular activities for club volunteers and beneficiaries from various voluntary welfare organisations to interact. Mun Yew emphasised: “Whatever your vocation, you can contribute and make a difference, to bring much joy to the underprivileged.”
Echoing his sentiments are fellow committee members Patricia Lee, 63, and club chairman Ong Choon Seng, 46, who has been with the club for 17 years. Choon Seng said the club organises monthly activities to support partner organisations such as Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home, MWS Family Service Centre – Tampines, Touch Young Arrows, Pertapis, Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore, Handicaps Welfare Association and Singapore Association for the Deaf.
These events would include going to the movies, going for morning walks, visiting museums and other sights, or having meals and parties to celebrate festive occasions. Choon Seng said he is most satisfied by organising new, interesting events such as a bowling session at SAFRA Toa Payoh with national bowlers and Special Olympics participants, or a futsal tournament for children held at SAFRA Tampines.
Patricia, a volunteer since 1994, said her fondest memories with SAFRACS are major celebrations with close to 200 beneficiaries for Christmas or Chinese New Year. “Our objective is to bring joy to as many different target groups of beneficiaries as we can, such as children, the elderly and the disabled,” she said.
She added that SAFRACS activities are open to SAFRA members and the public, and invites more people to give back to society. Both Choon Seng and Mun Yew, whose supportive family members have participated in the club’s events, also hope to see more new faces at upcoming events. In 2018, SAFRACS will celebrate its 30th anniversary at the annual volunteers’ appreciation night, an event to thank all volunteers for their valued contributions.
“Everyone keen to give back to the community is welcome to join in,” Choon Seng said. “[So long as] they have a passion to befriend and help people in need, they will enjoy pleasant moments of giving.” For information on how to join SAFRACS, please visit www.safra.sg/interest-groups/community-services-club.