'Train next generation of volunteers via mentoring'

Dr Yaacob (third from left) and Yayasan Mendaki CEO Tuminah Sapawi (fifth from left) with some of the award winners yesterday. They are (from left) Mr Muhammad (outstanding volunteer award), Madam Wahizah (long-service award), Haji Salim Suri (senior
Dr Yaacob (third from left) and Yayasan Mendaki CEO Tuminah Sapawi (fifth from left) with some of the award winners yesterday. They are (from left) Mr Muhammad (outstanding volunteer award), Madam Wahizah (long-service award), Haji Salim Suri (senior volunteer award), and Mr Muhammad Firdaus Kamaludin Jamal (outstanding group volunteer award).PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Important to make experience meaningful, says Yaacob at Mendaki appreciation event

Volunteers today have an important role to play in ensuring there is a new generation of volunteers and, to do this, a mentoring scheme is needed, said Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim.

"In order to train the younger generation, we need to use the wealth of experience that we have for the last 50 years," said Dr Yaacob yesterday at the Mendaki Volunteers Appreciation event at Royal Palm at Clarke Quay.

Making the volunteer experience meaningful is another crucial factor in attracting and retaining new members from the younger generation.

Dr Yaacob said that people from his generation "saw there were problems in our education achievements" and they wanted to do something about it. "(We) were fresh young graduates out of university and we wanted to do something, to change the world," he said. "We need the same kind of spirit in the next generation of volunteers."

Dr Yaacob also highlighted the use of technology, such as developing apps, for volunteers to use to reach out to new beneficiaries and extend Mendaki programmes to them.

At the Mendaki event yesterday, 23 volunteers received awards for their outstanding volunteer work and long service.

One of the winners was Madam Wahizah Wahid, 47, who received a long-service award for 12 years of work with the Maju Minda Matematika programme, also called Tiga M. The purchasing executive decided to put her passion for mathematics to good use by coaching other parents on how to incorporate the subject into their daily lives to familiarise their children with the subject.

"Some parents are so appreciative of the benefits that they have become volunteers themselves. Maths is not just on paper but alive for them now," said the mother of two.

Another volunteer, Mr Muhammad Sufi Sayuti, 27, won the outstanding volunteer award for going beyond the requirements of the Academic and Lifeskills Coaching Programme for Institute of Technical Education students.

Over two years, he spent more than 200 hours helping the students in their studies as well as spending leisure time with them. It was his first time volunteering and the experience has spurred him on to do more.

"I'm looking forward to doing it all over again in a heartbeat," said the event organiser, who is pursuing a part-time degree in aerospace system at SIM University.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2016, with the headline ''Train next generation of volunteers via mentoring''. Print Edition | Subscribe