Token of appreciation for volunteers' efforts

We thank Ms Quek May Ling ("Volunteers' pay may send wrong message"; last Monday) for her feedback on the Pioneer Generation Ambassador outreach programme.

We agree with Ms Quek that the spirit of volunteerism is about giving from the heart. The Pioneer Generation Ambassadors are volunteers who help our pioneers understand and utilise the benefits of government programmes, such as the Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life.

As ambassadors, these volunteers conduct home visits to explain these schemes to pioneers in a language they understand. This is a time-consuming effort.

Our ambassadors record basic information of the engagement after each visit. This ensures that pioneers who need follow-up assistance receive it promptly, and facilitates subsequent engagements with the pioneers.

The aggregated records of the pioneers also help us monitor trends or emerging needs within a specific locality and, subsequently, enable us to engage community stakeholders to develop local programmes and services for these pioneers.

Many of our ambassadors have also gone the extra mile to connect the pioneers with social programmes in the community or help them apply for other support schemes.

The Pioneer Generation Ambassadors take pride in what they do and undergo extensive training to learn the skills and knowledge to effectively communicate with the pioneers.

As a gesture of our appreciation, the ambassadors are provided with a token allowance to help defray the cost of food and transport incurred in the course of their voluntary efforts, similar to what many volunteer schemes offer.

Chan Wei Gan
Programme Director (Operations)
Pioneer Generation Office

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'Token of appreciation for volunteers' efforts'. Print Edition | Subscribe