Events celebrate spirit of giving back

Youth volunteer Shermaine Ng, who has been organising free workout sessions with her sister since early this year, was among 39 individuals who were recognised by Youth Corps Singapore for their volunteering spirit at the inaugural Volunteer Apprecia
Youth volunteer Shermaine Ng, who has been organising free workout sessions with her sister since early this year, was among 39 individuals who were recognised by Youth Corps Singapore for their volunteering spirit at the inaugural Volunteer Appreciation Day yesterday.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

39 volunteers lauded by Youth Corps Singapore, while 41 win awards from Malay group 4PM

Some people think strength training can be done only at a gym with an instructor.

So youth volunteer Shermaine Ng decided to come up with an exercise regime involving something most would be familiar with: household chores.

Together with her sister, who is a personal trainer, the 19-year-old choreographed a one-hour workout incorporating moves that mimic the action of, for example, mopping the floor and scrubbing clothes.

The sisters have been organising free sessions in Clementi, Pasir Ris and Jurong every two weeks since early this year.

These days, 30 to 40 people attend each session.

Ms Ng was among 39 individuals who were yesterday recognised for their volunteering spirit at the inaugural Volunteer Appreciation Day, held by Youth Corps Singapore at The Red Box in Somerset.

Since its inception in 2014, Youth Corps Singapore, which provides volunteer opportunities for the young, has grown from having 90 members to over 5,000 today, and has helped over 18,000 people.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, the guest of honour at the event, said Youth Corps allows Singapore's youth to use their idealism and energy to contribute to society and bring the community together.

"Today is an opportunity to recognise some of the most active Youth Corps volunteers but I think the ultimate satisfaction comes from making an impact on other people's lives," he said.

Separately, 41 individuals were given awards at the annual Tribute to Volunteers ceremony held yesterday by the Malay Youth Literary Association (4PM).

The most prestigious award - the Outstanding Contribution Award - was given to Mr Muhammad Azri Azman, 31, for his efforts in organising debate workshops, camps and competitions for youth and training young, needy families on entrepreneurship, among other contributions, over 11 years.

Mr Muhammad Azri, whose first contact with 4PM was as a participant at its debate competition in 2006, is today a member of its management committee.

He does not see volunteering as extra work, but as a responsibility to his community.

"The change I see in the people who go through the programmes I organise, for example, seeing a student overcome his stage fright after going through a debate workshop, motivates me to do more," said Mr Muhammad Azri, who is a religious teacher.

The Outstanding Contribution Award is given to only one person.

The other 40 individuals received the New Volunteer Award, Volunteer Appreciation Award, Volunteer Mentor Award or Volunteer Loyalty Award.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, the guest of honour at the award ceremony held at Furama Riverfront Hotel, said volunteers play a key role in the construction of society and bring numerous benefits to individuals, communities and organisations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 11, 2016, with the headline 'Events celebrate spirit of giving back'. Print Edition | Subscribe