Nurse’s experience: Volunteering enriches one’s life

Caption: (From left to right) Julie Khabir, Executive with Community Resilience with Stella Lee (right in this photo), ElderAid and Nurses Network volunteer who has been volunteering with the Singapore Red Cross since 2016.

By Julie Lim, Volunteer

Nurse Stella Lee started volunteering with Singapore Red Cross in 2016 and has not looked back since. Today, she is the Chairperson of ElderAid, in charge of the befriending programme and outreach activities in the South East District. Besides recruiting new befrienders, she also visits the elderly fortnightly.

She explained, “I started volunteering because I wanted to contribute my professional skills for a good cause. It stretches my comfort zone when I volunteer with the less fortunate - the elderly, who face insurmountable challenges even as they grapple with their basic needs.”

But getting the elderly to open up was not easy. Nonetheless, her perseverance paid off when she finally forged a strong rapport with the elderly despite their initial resistance.

“Now, they look forward to my visits. I feel very welcomed by them. Their profuse fussing over me and their facial expressions tell it all,” said Stella as she beamed with pride.

She feels that her personal time is utilised in a fruitful and rewarding way when she volunteers to bring cheer and happiness to the elderly. In another dimension, Stella sees herself fulfilling the social and emotional needs of the community. She finds it most rewarding when an elderly transforms from being reticent to being receptive and connected with the people around them.

Besides volunteering in ElderAid, Stella joined the Nurses Network steering committee in February 2017, getting involved in dementia screening for the elderly, and community first aid events. Apart from these, Stella serves as the Vice President for Red Cross Club at the South East District. She also volunteers with FoodAid service on an adhoc basis.

Stella feels that volunteering has made her more tolerant, less impatient, more resilient and better able to manage multiple demands on her time. She has found much joy and meaning in serving the vulnerable and less fortunate.

“Volunteers do not necessarily have more free time than others - what they have is the heart,” Stella opined. “We need more nurses to come forward… We intend to recruit more nurses, and keep them engaged to sustain their interest and action. We will work to identify their strengths, guide and groom them as volunteer leaders.”

As a parting shot, Stella shared a quote by Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.” 

Come and experience volunteering for yourself, and inspire others to follow in your footsteps.