Some 21 years ago, NTUC Income chief executive Tan Suee Chieh received a card in the mail. It was the Singapore Children's Society (SCS), asking people to offer their time and money to help the charity organisation. He signed up and has never looked back.
Since then, he has been serving the charity in numerous capacities, advising it on corporate governance and also as the chairman of its audit committee. For his dedicated efforts over the past 11 years, the SCS presented him with the Ruth Wong award, which is its top award for volunteers.
"When I started, I felt that it's a good thing to do, since I have quite reasonable success...and this is something that I can help with," Mr Tan said. "I was surprised and delighted to receive this award - since it was not for a business success, it was something I did not expect."
Mr Tan was among the record 61 volunteers and donors hailed for their contributions at the Singapore Children's Society's annual awards ceremony on Wednesday evening. The awards were presented by Acting Minister for Social and Family Development, Chan Chun Sing, the guest-of-honour .
A new award, the Commendation Service Award, was also introduced. This award is given to individuals, groups or organisations which have volunteered their services ad-hoc for less than five years, and have made a significant contribution to the society. Five people received this new award.
Since 1982, the Singapore Children's Society has held an awards ceremony annually to recognise the dedication and generosity of its many volunteers and donors. Established in 1952, the society aims to promote the well-being of children in Singapore, especially those from abusive and dysfunctional families.
It currently runs nine centres islandwide which offer services such as caregiving and public education, and reached out to more than 70,000 children last year.