By Jacky Tan (UCSI Student & GG Volunteer)
3 years ago, in 2014, was when my journey of volunteering in university started. With minimal knowledge on what the Community Reading Program (CRP) organised by Generasi Gemilang (GG) was about, I grabbed the opportunity given by my seniors in UCSI University (UCSI) to join simply because I wanted to do something good for the society. Orientations and briefings by the GG team helped set me up for what I was about to do, and I soon realised that I made the right decision to be part of a team that helped transform lives.
CRP aims to strengthen the English language proficiency of under-served community children through means of promoting a healthy lifestyle of reading. Utilising story books to grasp the children’s attention and interest, we teach them words that will help them understand the stories they read. On top of learning volcabulary and pronunciation, this process enhances their understanding of the language of conveyance itself. As an English language major in my studies and someone who loves teaching children, I had a lot of fun and I was pretty much hooked to this volunteering program. The fact that I was actually helping the children also motivated me to keep up my monthly commitment.
Some may ask, why commit yourself to volunteering when you can focus on your studies?
For me, the answer is simple. My participation in CRP opened my eyes to different perspectives and I was able to look at the needs of the society through a wider scope, something my studies alone could not teach me. Such realisation aided me in my involvement where a team of student volunteers and I, from the UCSI English Language Association, conducted a language proficiency session with the children from a homeschool for the needy in the Kuchai Lama area. I was able to dedicate the same amount of love and care to the children because of my volunteering experience.
Through volunteering with Leo/Lions Club during high school and now with GG and UCSI, I am more aware of the concerns in the community that we are living in and even communities that I am not a part of. EVERYONE could use a little love and care from others, and this is where volunteering comes in--where we can give a hand to provide some form of aid, out of love, to the ones who need it.
Volunteering, is hence by no doubt, one of the most sacred acts one can be a part of.
Throughout my journey in volunteering, I came to realise that even the smallest change can help make a difference. And so I have been telling those whom I have crossed paths with something that I live by all these years: “There is no such thing as a small or insignificant effort, because each and every bit of effort counts”.
As I reflect back, no words can describe how grateful I am towards Generasi Gemilang for accepting me into this big family, and to be a part of something so great and so beautiful. Thank you for spreading love and care to the world without boundaries, for giving hope to the ones who need them, and transforming lives for the better.
Time flies and it is now 2017, a brand-new year with blank pages waiting for us to fill with memorable moments. If you haven’t tried volunteering already, why not challenge yourself to it this year? Try making a difference through small baby steps because you have nothing to lose. And I can assure you that this decision may be something you will be proud of in the near future.