Image credit: Beyond Social Services
10 December 2020
Amid this COVID-19 period, the act of volunteering becomes much tougher as face-to-face interactions are limited. For the children under Beyond Social Services, this meant that they were not able to celebrate (like they used to) the end of their exams as a group.
Beyond Social Services is an organisation that supports disadvantaged children and youths. Their annual event, "Celebration of Learning", celebrates the hard work put in by the children under their tuition programme. This year, Resident Assistants and residents from UTR took the opportunity to collaborate with Beyond, to surprise the children with something new for Celebration of Learning.
Due to the special circumstances of COVID-19, the event was held online via Zoom to ensure the safety of both the children and volunteers, coupled with exciting games and activities.
We introduced fun virtual games such as Among Us, Origami Making, Skribbl, and even planned an exercise and dance segment. Our resident volunteers had the opportunity to interact with the children through the facilitation of the activities in their respective breakout rooms.
Our very first interaction for the volunteers with their participants was via a very popular and fun game, Among Us – an online multiplayer social deduction game; it was exciting for everyone all around! The children had a fun discussion with their peers and our resident volunteers, with everyone participating in the game.
The children also had the chance to guess the drawings of the volunteers through the game of Skribbl – an online drawing and guessing game, drawing many enthusiastic responses!
TikTok was also used as a platform to connect better with the children. For example, it was used as a publicity platform for Beyond to attract the children and the popular “Any Song” dance by KPop star Zico, was taught to them in the exercise and dance segment.
To make the activities more fun and interesting, we included some prizes for the children to win. This helped us to make the activities more attractive for the children. The prizes also gave us an opportunity to meet some of the children during the prize distribution.
We, along with Beyond’s help, visited the winners at their home to give away the prizes that they won. It gave us immense joy meeting them in person – the children were all bright and intelligent. At that moment, I just knew that if we had had the opportunity to have a face-to-face event, we would have created even more meaningful connections. However, we still had a good experience conducting the event online in efforts to adapt to the new norm.
All in all, this event helped to bring our volunteers and the children together to have fun and help Beyond to ensure that the children will continue with their tuition programme. Even though trying to engage participants on an online platform may be a challenge, it will be the new normal for now. This new and unique way of volunteering also shows that we are still able to give back to society even in unprecedented times – there is no excuse!