Shaping the Young Humanitarians of the Future

As we commemorate World Red Cross Day, we cast the spotlight on Chow Yin, who started out volunteering as a Community First Aider and with First Aiders on Wheels. Since 2010, she has been serving Red Cross Youth as a Youth Officer. Since 2021, Chow Yin has also been volunteering as a Psychological First Aid (PFA) Instructor with the Singapore Red Cross Academy. Given the values that RCY imparts, Chow Yin has encouraged her son to join Red Cross Junior @ Community, and hopes to get her daughter to join RCJ @ Community the following year.

"The greatest rewards come from acts of service. Every one can make a difference in our own way, however small," said Chow Yin, 39, a passionate first aider turned Red Cross Youth Officer, and RCY's Coordinating Assistant Director (Links).

Chow Yin, 39, has always had a passion for serving others, since her days in a uniformed group CCA in secondary school. While volunteering at another organisation, a contact encouraged Chow Yin to volunteer with the Singapore Red Cross (SRC). Believing in the importance of giving back to society, she started her volunteering journey as a Community First Aider in 2010, providing first aid coverage for the Chingay and National Day Parades. Besides that, she also volunteered in the First Aider on Wheels programme, patrolling along parks during weekends and public holidays to provide first aid coverage for park-goers in need. She had been volunteering as a first aider till 2019, when she had her first pregnancy.  

Embarking on Her Journey to Nurturing the Youth

Besides volunteering as a first aider on weekends, Chow Yin has a career as a full-time teacher since 2009. She became a Youth Officer of the Red Cross Youth Uniformed Group unit of Chongfu School since 2010. As a Youth Officer, she has been imparting the Red Cross Youth (RCY) curriculum and syllabus to Primary 3–6 students, nurturing the next generation of humanitarians. It was in RCY that she found her true calling.

"I enjoy working with the youth as their vitality and enthusiasm energise me and add optimism to my life. It is rewarding to see the Links grow, transform and mentor others. Through my involvement with RCY, I have experienced countless heartwarming moments. I have forged lasting memories and friendships that make every sacrifice worthwhile," Chow Yin said.

Touching the Lives of the Vulnerable Overseas

Apart from shaping youth into the future humanitarians, Chow Yin was deployed on an Overseas Humanitarian Programme (OHP) in China in June 2013, where she interacted with persons with disabilities at a home, and set up a library there. In December 2016, she undertook another OHP to Nepal, where the RCY team she was in, set up a library at a school nestled on a mountain, taught sanitisation to the children and arranged for the installation of solar panels and lights in the classroom.

Through these OHP experiences, Chow Yin accumulated a wealth of knowledge, experience, and insight, which broadened her perspectives on the impact of humanitarianism on a global scale. 

"The overseas OHP trips were eye-opening experiences for me. We touched the lives of the vulnerable in other countries. Besides learning to count our blessings in life, the OHPs cemented my aspiration to do more," Chow Yin said. 

Besides the OHPs, she gleaned insights into the operations of other Red Cross Red Crescent Societies through learning trips regionally. Chow Yin learnt about the disaster management and blood programme of The Japanese Red Cross Society in June 2016, the operations of the Uniformed Group in schools in Hong Kong through the Hong Kong Red Cross in December 2015, and the sharing at an exchange camp organised by the Malaysian Red Crescent Society in June 2014.

Taking on Leadership Positions within RCY

She climbed through the ranks from a dedicated volunteer to a leader, a testament of her dedication and leadership within the organisation. Today, she proudly serves as the Coordinating Assistant Director of Red Cross Youth, overseeing the curriculum, activities, events and programmes for the RCY Uniformed Group in all primary schools in Singapore.

Since 2021, Chow Yin has also been volunteering as a Psychological First Aid (PFA) Instructor with the Singapore Red Cross Academy. She hopes to impart PFA to the youth to ensure their mental well-being.

"Mental health is integral. Having been trained to be a Psychological First Aid Trainer, I ensure that RCY's activities prioritise the well-being of its members," Chow Yin said. 

A Balancing Act - Juggling Different Responsibilities and Roles

Yet, every journey has its challenges. It is no mean feat for Chow Yin to juggle her responsibilities within RCY, work commitments and precious family time. It involves much dedication and sacrifice. Despite the hurdles she faced, Chow Yin remains undaunted, driven by her firm commitment to serving others.

"With a heavy workload in school, time management and prioritisation are integral. I am fortunate to have a very supportive husband," Chow Yin said.

Deepening Parental and Children Bonds 

Another way she strikes a balance between spending time in RCY and spending time with her children is by roping in her five-year-old-son, Sebastian, to join the Red Cross Junior (RCJ) @ Community. She hopes her four-year-old daughter, Chelsea, can join RCJ @ Community the following year as well.  RCJ @ Community provides activities, programmes and events that both parents and children can engage in together. 

"I am a firm believer of parental involvement in RCJ activities. Through our shared experiences participating in RCJ @ Community activities together, we can deepen the parent-child relationship through open communication while contributing to the betterment of society. Such activities enable me to carry out my responsibilities within RCY while spending time with my children," Chow Yin said.

Nurturing the Right Values in Her Children 

"By roping in my children to join RCJ @ Community's engagement activities and programmes, they can continue growing within a supportive and nurturing community. I believe the values inculcated in the youth through the activities will shape my children to be responsible, empathetic, kind and compassionate individuals. These qualities will serve them well throughout their lives. As they learn to be of service to others, I hope they will embrace the spirit of volunteerism, to give back and make positive contributions to society in the future while counting their blessings in life," Chow Yin said. 

Her children were overjoyed about joining RCJ @ Community activities.

"I am super happy going there. I want to go there to play!" Sebastian quipped.

"I will be happy! I like to go play with the kor kor jie jie (older brothers and sisters)!" Chelsea quipped.

Finding Fulfilment and Purpose through RCY

Chow Yin has derived much joy and a profound sense of fulfilment, and purpose through her enriching volunteering journey with RCY. Through her unwavering dedication and tireless contributions, Chow Yin has imparted positive values through the activities and programmes in RCY and RCJ, shaping and leaving indelible marks in the lives of countless youth whom she has touched. Now, she hopes RCJ @ Community will positively impact her children as well, to shape and transform them into humanitarians in the future. 

By Sulis Binte Muhamad Juffery, Marketing & Communications Intern
Copyedited by Michael Gutierrez, Volunteer, and Sondra Foo, Marketing and Communications

Inspired? Learn more about Red Cross Youth. Learn Psychological First Aid. Volunteer with the Singapore Red Cross.