From a First Aider to a Volunteer Leader

As we commemorate World Red Cross Day, we cast the spotlight on Hakim Lu, a volunteer with the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) First Aider on Wheels (FAOW) programme. Having stumbled upon a first aid post at East Coast Park, Hakim was keen to put his first aid skills to good use, to help the community. Besides volunteering in the FAOW programme, he also volunteers as a Community Responder with the Home Monitoring and Eldercare programme. His visit to a senior as a Community Responder spurred him to learn Psychological First Aid. In recognition of his dedication, he was urged to register for the Volunteer Leadership Programme, which honed him to become the Volunteer Leader he is today.

Amid a school holiday in 2018, Hakim Lu stumbled upon the Singapore Red Cross' (SRC) community first aid post at East Coast Park. 

Having been trained and certified in Standard First Aid at school, Hakim, then 18, was keen to leverage his first aid skills to help the community. He approached the first aid post and enquired about how he could join as a volunteer. 

Embarking on His Volunteering Journey

Since then, Hakim started volunteering with SRC's First Aider on Wheels (FAOW) programme.  

"I was a little nervous when I volunteered as a Community First Aider for the first time. Though there were several occasions where I applied my first aid skills to help my friends at school, it was my first attempt providing first aid treatments to strangers," Hakim said. 

Hakim's initial concerns dissipated quickly as his team leaders provided step-by-step guidance on the first aid procedures for different injuries, e.g. fractures. This refreshed his memory of what he learnt previously. 

“When I volunteered, I was not volunteering alone. Team Leaders were there to provide guidance,” he said. 

Hakim has incorporated regular volunteering twice or thrice monthly into his schedule. Since SRC conducts multiple programmes year-round, he picks the right volunteering opportunities that fit his interests and schedule–a flexibility he appreciates. 

“Volunteering enables me to do something meaningful while learning along the way," he said.

Volunteering as a Community Responder 

Besides volunteering as a first aider, Hakim has also been volunteering as a community responder with SRC's Home Monitoring and Eldercare (HoME+) service. HoME+ is a non-invasive monitoring, alert and response system installed in the seniors' homes, for community ageing-in-place. When seniors activate the panic button, the call centre will alert Community Responders to assist the seniors.  

In May 2023, the call centre notified Hakim that a senior had activated the panic button. Upon visiting the senior's home, he realised that the call was not for help with a physical injury, but it was a call for emotional support. 

"I was glad to lend a helping hand and offer a listening ear to the senior. It was an eye-opening experience for me," Hakim said. 

This incident provided Hakim with a new perspective on community aid. 

"Often, one would focus primarily on the physical injuries or wounds. However, we can also help by offering a listening ear and conversing with them," Hakim said.

The experience also motivated Hakim to attend the one-day SRC's Psychological First Aid course. 

"I learnt the skill sets to provide psychological support to support affected persons," Hakim said.

Trained to be a Volunteer Leader

In recognition of his passion and dedication to volunteering, Senior Volunteer Leaders encouraged him to participate in a four-day SRC's Volunteer Leadership Programme (VLP) in May 2023. 

"The programme equipped me with the knowledge and skills to plan and lead projects, discover my qualities, and get to know myself better," said Hakim, a nursing student who works part-time as an ambulance technician.

The programme equipped Hakim, now aged 24, with the knowledge and skill sets to become an effective Volunteer Leader with SRC's Community First Aid programme. 

As an SRC Volunteer Leader, he leads volunteering programmes, manages volunteers, and guides newly minted volunteers. Specifically, Hakim leads and trains our Emergency Response Team, participates in the Civil Emergency exercises and leads the FAOW team at Pulau Ubin.

The last six years of Hakim’s journey from a newly minted volunteer to a Volunteer Leader have been enriching and insightful. He hopes to inspire others to volunteer as well.

"If there’s a volunteering opportunity you are keen to join, go for it, don't shy away from it. You can explore to find your passion; something that resonates with you," Hakim said. 

By Ankaj Sharma, Volunteer
Copyedited by Sondra Foo, Marketing & Communications

Inspired? Volunteer with the Singapore Red Cross!