My first Magazine St Joseph's Home_40th Anniversary magazine.compres - Page 70

Changing to Serve The Improbable Volunteer ONE BIG COMMUNITY Lee Jiak Jee Ever imagined yourself as an 80-year-old? The thought fills Lee Jiak Jee with such fear and uncertainty that it took him 30 years to find the courage to volunteer with us. He just wasn’t sure about being in the company of seniors. Nine months on, Jiak Jee cycles to the home three to four times a week to monitor the edible herb garden he started with fellow volunteers and our residents. They’re part of the Grow-a-Garden project to cater to those with green fingers and to build bonds among neighbours. The 50-year-old shares how he went from ground zero to proud co-owner of a garden patch that has yielded enough produce for sale at a bazaar and much more. Imagining the Worst “I CANNOT IMAGINE myself as an older person! To me, life occurs in three stages - ages 0 to 24, 25 to 49, 50 and up. The final phase is filled with lots of unknown. I remember a time in my 40s when I asked myself: ‘What is the meaning of life? Volunteering and interacting with the residents was an even more foreign concept. While I’ve been to St Joseph’s Home once in the past, it still felt like there was nothing for me to say to the residents. And what should I do? Would I offend them? What were they thinking? When I finally found the courage to step in here, Geraldine and I discussed what my interests were. Since I did some gardening of my own, she planted the idea of starting Grow-a-Garden and asked if I could get the project going. Yes, I like gardening but that was limited to a few potted plants. Leading a group of people to run a herb garden was a whole different ball game! I’m not sure what made me say yes, but since I have already committed to serve here, I decided to push through. Baby Steps It helped that new volunteers had to attend a training workshop. One of the speakers for the module on ‘Communicating with Seniors’ said ‘Communication starts when you’re 10, 20 metres away from a person - with the way you walk, look and your body language. And you don’t need to speak the same language, you only need to communicate that you care.’ This has guided me in all my interactions with the residents since. The home also organised for an NParks volunteer to share tips on how to start a herb garden. With that, we planted a few pots of green beans and placed them around the home to get the residents excited. Fellow volunteer Francis brought edible herbs for 68 | St Joseph’s Home Jiak Jee with fellow volunteer Francis in the early days Volunteer Jiak Jee (left) with resident Mr Kwang Changing to Serve ONE BIG COMMUNITY The Improbable Volunteer Ever imagined yourself as an 80-year-old? The thought fills Lee Jiak Jee with such fear and uncertainty that it took him 30 years to find the courage to volunteer with us. He just wasn’t sure about being in the company of seniors. Nine months on, Jiak Jee cycles to the home three to four times a week to monitor the edible herb garden he started with fellow volunteers and our residents. They’re part of the Grow-a-Garden project to cater to those with green fingers and to build bonds among neighbours. The 50-year-old shares how he went from ground zero to proud co-owner of a garden patch that has yielded enough produce for sale at a bazaar and much more. Lee Jiak Jee Imagining the Worst “I CANNOT IMAGINE myself as an older person! To me, life occurs in three stages - ages 0 to 24, 25 to 49, 50 and up. The final phase is filled with lots of unknown. I remember a time in my 40s when I asked myself: ‘What is the meaning of life? Volunteering and interacting with the residents was an even more foreign concept. While I’ve been to St Joseph’s Home once in the past, it still felt like there was nothing for me to say to the residents. And what should I do? Would I offend them? What were they thinking? When I finally found the courage to step in here, Geraldine and I discussed what my interests were. Since I did some gardening of my own, she planted the idea of starting Grow-a-Garden and asked if I could get the project going. Yes, I like gardening but that was limited to a few potted plants. Leading a group of people Jiak Jee with fel low volunteer Francis in the ea rly days 68 | St Joseph’s Home to run a herb garden was a whole different ball game! I’m not sure what made me say yes, but since I ha H[XYH[Z]Y\B\KHXYY\Y XH\’][Y]][Y\Y][HZ[[ܚ ۙHوHXZ\܈B[[Hۈ8&[][X][][[ܜ&HZY8&[][X][ۂ\[[x&\H L  Y]\˜]^HHH\ۈ H]B^H[H[[[\B[XYK[[H۸&]YYœXZH[YH[XYK[BۛHYY[][X]H][H\K&H\\ZYYYB[[^H[\X[ۜ]B\Y[[KHYH[ܙ[\Y܂[\[Y\\H\›ۈ\H\\[]] H[YH]›وܙY[X[[XY[B\[HYH]B\Y[^]Y [[Y\[\YYXH\܂\[™ H]\Y[BBB’XB[Y