In his primary school years, Apichat Lee Wei recounted witnessing a crying boy who sustained a fall in school. Without first aid knowledge, Apichat stood as a helpless bystander then. That incident motivated him to join Red Cross Youth (RCY) as a Cadet in secondary school, so he could learn first aid. He shares his volunteer journey as a Cadet, and Volunteer Instructor. Subsequently, he joined as a First Aider on Wheels, providing first aid treatments to park-goers in need during weekends and public holidays.
During Apichat Lee Wei's primary school years, he recounted seeing several onlookers staring at a crying boy who sustained a fall in school. Without basic first aid knowledge, Apichat was in a state of panic, helplessness and confusion. He was clueless about the course of action to take. Subsequently, a student sought the help of a teacher.
Journey as a Red Cross Youth Cadet
That incident underscored the fragility of life and the significance of being prepared for emergencies. It spurred Apichat to join Red Cross Youth (RCY) as a Cadet in Fuhua Secondary School from 2018 to 2020 so he could pick up useful first aid skills.
Besides learning essential first aid skills, Apichat was actively involved in several enriching and meaningful activities, events and campaigns. Apichat participated in mobile blood drives (blood donation campaign), first aid championships, first aid duties at school events such as cross country and walkathons, National Day Parade (NDP) 2019, Grateful Hearts Day (tin collection fundraiser), nursing home visits. He also took part in other internal school events associated with RCY. Through it all, he continuously honed his first aid skills and knowledge.
Building up His Confidence, Honing His Leadership Skills
However, his stumbling block was his lack of confidence in his leadership skills. To enhance his confidence in his leadership abilities, his seniors would encourage him to lead or instruct.
"My seniors gave me advice on providing feedback and making a debrief at the end of the training sessions. Their advice enabled me to step up to the role of the Communications and Internal Affairs In-Charge. Over the years, I have honed my leadership and communication skills," he said.
Besides building up his confidence and honing his leadership skills, Apichat had also benefited from RCY in several other ways.
"By volunteering with RCY, I have learnt about the importance of being adaptable and resourceful in various situations, particularly during disaster relief operations. I have also learnt about the importance of empathy, compassion, and humanitarian action. The qualities and skills I have developed through RCY are not merely integral in volunteer work but also invaluable in my daily life," Apichat said.
A Journey of Meaning and Fulfillment
Apichat's three year journey as a RCY Cadet was filled with several memorable experiences.
He recounted that he had the privilege of participating in the National Day Parade (NDP) as part of the RCY Marching Contingent in 2019.
”It was truly a remarkable experience to be marching alongside my fellow Cadets from different schools, proudly representing the Singapore Red Cross, and contributing to a significant national event. That experience instilled a sense of pride and camaraderie,” he said.
Shaping the Lives of Youth
His experience marching as part of the RCY Marching Contingent in the NDP in 2019 also played a pivotal role in shaping his continued journey as a Volunteer Instructor (VI) from 2022.
As a VI, Apichat was involved in planning and conducting training sessions, mentoring cadets, facilitating discussions, and providing guidance on RCY activities. Apichat was also involved in various events, such as subject masterclasses (teaching cadets relevant subject content knowledge from the Gold Syllabus), leadership and programme camps (Warrant Officers’ Programme, Unit Specialist Programme), First Aid Championships, and other related events. He leveraged his videography, photography, editing and audio-visual skills as a VI for some events. At other times, he carried out administrative or safety work.
Apichat’s role as a VI had been nothing short of rewarding.
“One of the most memorable aspects of volunteering as a VI was witnessing the positive impact and transformation of the Cadets. It was fulfilling to see reserved and shy young individuals blossom into confident leaders who are passionate about humanitarian causes and community service. I am thankful to my Youth Officers (teachers in charge), for giving me opportunities to shape and develop the younger Cadets, which enabled me to contribute back to society. Life has become more intentional and meaningful," he said.
Apichat urged for increased publicity for VIs like himself so their invaluable contributions could be celebrated with everyone and this would hopefully inspire more volunteers to join their ranks.
Leveraging First-Aid skills for Greater Good
Subsequently, Apichat learnt about the First Aider on Wheels (FAOW) programme in 2023, where volunteer first aiders, provide first aid treatments to park goers in need at East Coast Park and Jurong Lake Gardens during weekends and public holidays.
Since 2023, Apichat, 18, has been volunteering as a FAOW at Jurong Lake Gardens which is closer to his home, but a different area, without familiar faces. Through the volunteering experience, he has forged a rapport with other first aiders.
"I have always believed in the importance of community service and helping others, for the greater good. Volunteering as a FAOW enables me to leverage my first aid skills and make a meaningful impact in my local community," Apichat said.
Together with the team of first aiders, they treat casualties who are members of the public. Injuries sustained included minor bleeding, abrasions, cuts, and sprains.
Volunteering For A Good Cause
Volunteering for the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) has kick-started a journey of personal growth and impact.
"Through my volunteering journey, I have picked up invaluable life skills, forged friendships, and, most importantly, being a force for good in the community," he said.
Apichat encourages people to volunteer.
“Your contributions, whether big or small, can make a profound difference in the lives of others. Joining the SRC as a General Volunteer is not merely an opportunity, it's a commitment to create a better and more compassionate world for all. FAOW is not the only volunteering opportunity available. There are several ad-hoc events and projects, so register at the Volunteer Portal to find out more!” Apichat said.
By Sum Chung Wai, Intern, Marketing Communications
Copyedited by Foo Ming Yee, Volunteer