Community service is an unpaid, voluntary act performed by a student or group of students with an approved non‐profit agency that benefits someone else, the local community or the environment. In other words, service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities. For this community service project, the power of two people is far from enough, so we invite other group members to work together with us to complete this meaningful project. Through the group discussion, we had come out the idea of 5W1H, such as who (who is the beneficiary), why (the rationale for selecting the community service), when (the date and time), where (located at where), what (the activities we done there) and how (the way we making reservation and how we went there). To summarize, we had made the final decision that is doing a community service project at Silver Jubilee Home for the Aged (HOME).
Obviously, HOME is the beneficiary. The reason why we choose this as our community service project is that we would like to use our strength to give back to the society. After the discussion, we decided to went there on 21 August (Tuesday), from 10 a. m. till 3 p. m. Meanwhile, the activities that we did at there is cleaning activities, chatting with them, providing a cake for them and taking the photo with them. Through telephone call and email, we had reserved with HOME. On that day, we went there by car. Conclusion, community service not only provides physical and mental rewards but also proven to make us happier. Students who do community service projects will be better prepared to solve community and social problems by gaining knowledge and professional experience.
Next, volunteer work isn’t just about how it looks on paper, but more about what we can give and gain from this experience. By volunteering, we have the chance to make a difference in our community that will benefit people we care about. It also brings people together, especially working with people from different background, having that common goal will allow us to carry out more than we ever could alone. By finding out more about ourselves and the community around us, we will be strengthening our confidence.
Silver Jubilee Home For The Aged (HOME) was established in the year 1935 to commemorate the Silver Anniversary of King George V. The land, situated in Sungai Dua, was donated by the late Mr. Cheah Leong Keah, J. P. for the aged destitute in Penang. ‘The Penang and Province Wellesley Silver Jubilee Fund’ was then launched to collect funds for the setting up of the HOME. Together the Straits Settlement Government, the Municipal Council of Georgetown and the general public managed to raise about $1,000,000. 00 to set up the HOME. Thus in 1936, a Trust Fund was established under the name of “The Penang and Province Wellesley Silver Jubilee Fund “. The Chief Minister, as Chairman and 3 other trustees are the administrators of the Fund, known as the Board of Trustees for the Fund. They are assisted by a 12-member General Management Committee headed by another Chairman whose function is to oversee the general administration of the HOME. They are all appointed into office by the State Executive Council. While the trustees are appointed for life, the members of the General Management Committee are appointed on a biennial basis and their services to be renewed for as long as they are needed by the HOME.
At the moment, there is the Manager, two Assistant Managers, two Matrons, a Finance Officer, and other section staff to provide the day-to-day running of the HOME. Besides, the donation of the land by philanthropist, the late Mr. Cheah Leong Keah, J. P. , other philanthropists like the late Honorable Khoo Sian Ewe, C. B. E. , O. B. E. , J. P. , donated 4 cottages in memory of his beloved wife, the late Mdm. Lee Sim Neoh and the Lim Kongsi ( Kew Leong Teong Lim Temple) donated another 4 more cottages. At that time, there was a visiting doctor, Y. B. Dato ‘ Seri Tan Ewe Aik, who started the clinic with the assistance of a few nurses from the Grey Sisters. He was then also a member of the General Management Committee. In the 1960 Dato’ Seri Dr. Tan advised, designed and set up a 25-bedded female medical ward for the sick. Referrals were made to the General Hospital for the resident who needed further treatment. Now, it stretches over 22. 5 acres of flat land with eight blocks of cluster units housing 124 rooms, 5 medical wards with over 80 beds, a rehabilitation center, a physiotherapy section, a splendid dining hall, and 2 kitchens to cater for the Muslim and non-Muslim Residents and a self-contained laundry.
Purpose of the project
Reliance College puts special emphasis on the relational aspect of community service and therefore asks students to partner with non‐profit organizations. Community service provides students the opportunity to use our talents and skills to help those in need and to support local non‐profit organizations.
In addition, community service is an integral part of students’ learning experiences, contributing to their intellectual, social and spiritual growth and development as well as providing a framework for students’ roles as members of local, regional and global communities. Through this community service project, it also helps to build classroom culture and community, so that our relationship with each other will become closer and intimately.
Through the group discussion, we had listed some community service activities like, environmental service project, volunteer for an animal organization, helps the local homeless or one that champions international human rights, etc. As a result, we had chosen the HOME as the beneficiary because it was an organization showing a need for funds to raise the quality of life of seniors, particularly those who may have limited mobility, and social interaction due to various constraints. Besides, we would like to desire the seniors live happy, active and independent lives through interactive caregiving. We also hope that through this community service project, it will increase public awareness in order to care more about the seniors. Furthermore, we wish to spread the positive impact, warmth, compassion for the seniors.
Volunteering plays a critical role in empowering individuals, in fostering active citizenship and in building inclusive and resilient communities in which we can all flourish. We know that volunteering has many benefits for individuals who volunteer, the organizations to which we contribute and society as a whole. The benefits of the project to the community is providing a positive impact on the lives of others, so as to spread the warmth, friendship, and kindness from the world around. In fact, it has the power to transform lives and to transform communities. By putting together this pageant, we were able to gain many useful benefits such as; understanding how to work well with a variety of personalities, one on one, and within a group setting. We also learned how to collaborate and compromise by creating the budget for the event. Leadership skills were enhanced by putting members in charge of arranging activities through the event. Moreover, we had learned about responsibility, accountability, managing time and money wisely. Through this project, we had discovered to build social networks, connectedness, and community resilience. Indeed, it helps us to build a sense of satisfaction, pride, purpose, and accomplishment.
Organization and implementation
As a team leader, I’m responsible to provide direction, instructions, and guidance to a group of individuals, for the purpose of achieving a common goal. First of all, we had listed some of the examples of community service activity. Then, we had chosen the one that we think is the most appropriate for the community service project. As a leader, I am the one who is making a reservation with the HOME to confirm the details like date, time, activities that we will do on that day. I also in charge to buy some daily necessary things and a vanilla pandan fruitcake by using the money that we had collected as a donation for HOME. In a word, all member were actively get involved in this project, to ensure everything will be going very smoothly. On that day, the activities that we had done at HOME were the sweeping floor, mopping floors, cleaning fan and window, cleaning ceiling, wiping dust as well as cleaning the benches and armrest along the corridor. Additionally, we also talking with them, serving slices of cake for them and taking photos with the seniors. During that day, Yu Jing is one of the photographers to take some of the memorable moment.
On 21 August, Tuesday, we had organized a trip to visit the HOME which was located at Jalan Sungai Dua, Bayan Lepas. The trip was comprised of 8 members.
When we arrived at HOME at 10 am, Ms. Tan was come forward to us and greeted us with a short briefing friendly. First of all, we went to the donation place to register the daily necessary things that we brought along and put it into a blue trolley. After that, Ms. Tan brings us to the kitchen to keep the vanilla pandan fruitcake into the refrigerator.
In the beginning, we were divided into two groups. One group was consist of 4 people. That is, Einthu, Elizabeth, Jing Xin and I were in a group; at the same time, Qi Keong, Jian Wei, Adam, and Yu Jing were in a group. We were given the task to clean up each of the blocks within the resident’s area of HOME. We were the sweeping floor, mopping floors, cleaning fan and window, cleaning ceiling as well as wiping dust. After we had cleaned each of the dorms, we were cleaning the benches and armrest along the corridor. On the whole, we shared out the work and helped each other in order to complete our jobs as quickly as possible.
In the afternoon at 12 p. m. , Ms. Tan allowed us to had our lunch outside. After having lunch, we cut the vanilla pandan fruitcake into small pieces and distributed to the senior citizens. They were really surprised that we will buy the cake for them. We also chat with them and singing their favorite song together. They really enjoyed it and clapped enthusiastically. As far as I am concerned, they were indeed remarkable and impressive.
Soon, it was time to leave. We all said goodbye to the senior citizens. They seem so sad that we were going back so soon. Before leaving, we had a group photo with them and promised them that we will pay them another visit soon. It was a memorable and ecstatic trip.
Our goal for the beneficiary was to provide support for HOME. At Reliance College, there is an emphasis on everything that we do for HOME being about the change, not the amount of money earned, therefore, our goal was to try our best to do as much as we can. Hence, we had a total of 8 people attend the pageant, for the reason to help the residents of the HOME to be able to live their cleaner and safer environment. In addition, we also had contributed a total amount of RM 200 for HOME. By using this money, we bought a 2kg of vanilla pandan fruitcake which cost about RM 104. Besides, we also bought some daily needs for HOME, namely, canned sardines, soap powder, toilet paper, instant noodles, baked beans, etc. The donation receipt from HOME, the receipt of the vanilla pandan fruitcake and daily needs are shown at appendix. Moreover, we were socializing and befriend with the residents of HOME. We make sure that the residents are well treated with respect, kindness, and dignity.
Evaluation and recommendations
In all honesty, I would’ve never predicted how amazing the effects of my visit to the old folk home would be. After greeting the elderly and speaking to them one-on-one, I was amazed by how appreciative they were for our visit. Perhaps they felt lonely or abandoned before, but now tears of joy glistened in their eyes. Maybe all people need is to know they are cared for, even by a simple stranger. After that, I was stunned by the optimism they had for their future, even at old age. They were so youthful in spirit, regardless of their frail bodies. They were selfless enough to tell me to take care of myself, even if they were the ones in wheelchairs. It taught me that happiness can exist, even at old age, regardless of discouraging circumstances or diminishing health. To conclude, the visit left a deep impact, memorable and fun. A deep impact on our conscious, and on us. We were more sensitive than what we were when we arrived; sensitive towards the elderly. The visit was an epiphany. Each one of us was determined to obdurately stand by our parents and elders, through thick and thin. The residents at the old age home had motivated us all with their hankering hearts and unwavering hopes. I learned that the rewards of volunteering are a two-way street. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll get back – whether it’s a new outlook or a warm smile – when you give your time to help another.
Engaging in community service provides us the opportunity to become active members of their community and has a lasting, positive impact on society at large. Community service or volunteerism enables us to acquire life skills and knowledge, as well as provide a service to those who need it most. These are some of the positive impacts of participating in a community service program, for instance, psychological benefits, social benefits, and cognitive benefits. First, volunteering increases overall life satisfaction and helps us feel good about ourselves because we are helping others. It can also help to decreases stress and ease depression. Second, volunteering engages us with the community, creates special bonds with the population being served, and increases social awareness and responsibility. Third, volunteering helps us enhance our personal knowledge, grow from new experiences, and develop better interpersonal communication skills. Conclusion, participating in community service not only makes a difference to the organization and people being served but also makes a difference to every student’s career prospects. Participating in community service activities helps to enhance our resumes by allowing us to obtain work-related skills prior to graduation, builds good references for employers in regards to community involvement, and provides a forum to network with future potential employers. It also helps us develop civic and social responsibility skills and become more aware of what their community needs.
In my opinion, here are my some recommendation for future projects. Firstly, I would like to wish that we can visit the seniors’ citizen when necessary or during their birthdays, anniversaries or other festivities. Secondly, provide them with more care, respect, and happiness by preparing some performance for them, like the singing song, dancing or playing games with them together. Thirdly, I hope that we can invite more people to visit them as more people are more powerful, for the reason to spread our positive impact for them and use our strength to help them as we could. Besides, I suggest that we could hold a charity bazaar at Reliance College, in order to raise funds for the HOME.
Lastly, I hope that every intake students will visit them at least once because they are very friendly and enthusiastic.