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21 July 2010

What would you expect when you place four teenage boys together? To be completely honest, I have to admit that I was somewhat of a skeptic when I first found out what my writing assignment entailed. Accounts of my very own teenage years, both good and bad, came flooding back into my memories. The feelings of nostalgia soon gave way to a daunting revelation when I put the words ‘Teenage Boys’ and ‘Parties’ in the same equation – trouble.
On the 30th of June, I arranged to meet-up with the four engineering students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic in an effort to get to know them a little better before penning down the story about their fundraising project for The Salvation Army. I was greeted by Kong Hock, Zak, Wei Sheng and Kai Yao (see photo on left). I was interested to find out what motivated them to put together such an event. Team Leader Kai Yao shares, “Initially we did it to fulfill a requirement for our I&E (Innovation and Entrepreneurship) module, but eventually we decided to use our skills to do something with purpose for charity instead”.
This sparked something within me, as I came to realize that many people have in reality developed some form of misconception towards volunteerism. Many have failed to see that in essence, volunteerism in its most fundamental and basic form, is simply an act of dedicating one’s time and whatever skills they may have to better the lives of others. These four teenage boys showed us just that.
And so, Salvage a Night @ NP was the brainchild of these four friends who came up with a novel, yet unique idea of fusing a modern day dance party with a traditional fundraising effort. The outcome was truly phenomenal! The pulsating music from the guest DJ, coupled with the electrifying atmosphere attracted hoards of crowds to the dance party on the evening of the 1st of July. The party lasted well into the night with endless laughter, groovy dance moves, and of course plenty of fun. The proceeds from the entire event were then donated to The Salvation Army to help those in need.
In my opinion, “Salvage a Night @ NP” serves as a pinnacle milestone, which marks a new paradigm shift in terms of how we should view and define volunteerism. Presently, volunteerism adorns multiple forms, and in fact anyone can volunteer in their own special way to bless others. Much like this group of inspirational teenagers who dedicated their time and skills to help better the lives of others.
I guess a take-home message for all of us is that a seemingly simple gesture such as our ability to draw a picture, play a musical instrument, or even writing (much like what I’m doing) can also be deemed as volunteerism. Every little bit, regardless of how minute it is, can and will contribute to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Much like how a small pebble when dropped into a pond can create massive ripples, this analogy illustrates how each and everyone’s small contributions can also leave a lasting impact on others. As they summed up their entire experience from this event, the four of them agreed that, “After all the effort which we have put in, we felt really excited and satisfied with what we have done”.
Needless to say, I am genuinely impressed and inspired by what these four quirky teenagers have accomplished. They have proven to me that regardless of age, you can still make a difference in your own special way. Also a reminder to myself, the next time I hear someone joking about engineering students being a boring bunch, I know that this is simply not true at all because these four engineering students are definitely far from boring. J
For more information on how to be a volunteer for The Salvation Army, please visit the SA-V Portal at: http://sg.salvationarmy.org/volunteer