My first Magazine - Page 70

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