Meet your WorldChangeAgent, Charmaine!

Our community of #WorldChangeAgents (volunteers) journey through so many adventures through our Beyond Awesome program.  We wanted to take some time to introduce you to some of our favourite faces - well loved by youth in our program as well as those who serve alongside!  Scroll to the very bottom to see how you can get involved/contribute!

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 2.25.18 PM.png

When I’m not volunteering at Beyond Awesome I…:  am a full-time video producer - and have been doing this for the past 7-8 years. In my free time, I enjoy travelling, reading, going for hikes... And I really love sunsets/sunrises. :) Also I can't say no to a good cup of coffee or wine :p

Three words I would use to describe myself:  Empathetic. Organised. Assertive

One fun-fact that you may not know about me:  I can drift a car! Couple of years back I did a full day defence driving course, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I like driving and the need for speed. Shh :p

Where was the last place you travelled to and what did you do?  I went to The Philippines for work - but 'work' doesn't sound very exciting, does it? The last place I travelled to for a holiday was Bali - I basically lazed by the beach, went paddle boarding in crystal blue waters, saw sunrise at Mount Batur, got a nice golden tan, went to a hot spring, went dancing... Hey I couldn't say no when the DJ played 80s and 90s music all night!

How did you find out about the program?  Through a fellow volunteer, Kate. I was looking for a place to volunteer at - specifically with children, somewhere not on an ad-hoc basis. So she told me about Beyond Awesome, I signed up, went for an orientation (check out the upcoming ones - Beyond Awesome 101 - here), and here I am, (exactly) one year later!

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 2.36.59 PM.png

How often do you volunteer with the program?  Because of my irregular work schedule, I started out volunteering twice a month - but since becoming a captain, I spend more time at the space, around three or four times a month. Sometimes heading in for packing/cleaning! 

What do you love about the program/WCA community?  I love how different all the WCAs are - different personalities, different races, ages, occupations (we have scientists, pilots and producers?!) and backgrounds... But yet we all share one thing in common, and that is to want to make Beyond Awesome a great place for the children to spend time at, learn, and grow into amazing young adults.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 2.41.23 PM.png

How do you add value to the program? How are you contributing?  Bringing along my experience and skillsets of a producer - I am able to help manage and coordinate bigger events. 

What have your experiences been like with the program?  It has been... BEYOND AWESOME! (Am I the only one who made this lame pun?!) That said, I won't deny that on some days, it gets overwhelming. It takes a lot of energy and patience to handle the children whenever they're a little harder to handle than normal. But, with the support from the other volunteers and Captains, things are always made easier. You feel less alone. You help each other get through the most dramatic of situations! We also have WCA Hangouts every month, and it's really fun to just get to know the others better and bond.

Why did you want to/do you volunteer with the program? I like children! I am actually ok with crying babies on the plane. It's fine, babies cry, it's normal. But I won't tolerate naughty behaviour!

What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with Beyond Awesome? The most rewarding aspect of being involved is seeing children grow - intellectually, emotionally, socially. The change is gradual, but it gets so prominent over time. I've seen how some of the children who were once really rebellious/hard to handle last year - now step up, and lead examples to the new/younger children. It makes my heart so full.

Screen Shot 2018-07-20 at 8.53.05 PM.png

Can you share your favourite session or moment that has stayed with you from being with our program?  I have so many moments that I remember and love throughout the past year. Some are sad but mostly heartwarming and funny! The most memorable session would be the session that one of the other volunteers, Aruno, led on Bullying. I thought that the children wouldn't be as interested or might even talk back - but turns out that they were super engaged during the session. I think the boys look up to the male volunteers and the girls look up to the female volunteers. We all have been there before - we look at an adult and think to ourselves, "I want to be him/her when I grow up". So having people like Aruno and Adam share their stories from when they were in school, made it very relatable and real to the children. 

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 2.19.02 PM.png

Beyond Awesome does not primarily focus on academic success but other measures of success which are largely intangible such as compassion, emotional intelligence, resilience, creativity, etc - what does success mean to you, personally?  You are absolutely right, that intelligence/success isn't all about education and academics. It's all that you mentioned above, and even being able to tell a witty joke or having a high EQ are signs of intellect! To me, success is something that doesn't always immediately come at the first try. It is when we put our minds to something and see a change, even a very slight one - is still success. 

Think back on all your time journeying with the students…can you think of one specific interaction you’ve had with a child that has just stayed with you? 
Wow.. There are so many! If I had to pick one... It would be seeing one of the youths, E, growing into this intelligent, witty, kind-hearted girl the past year. We were working on an art and craft project - she did pretty much 3/4 of it while I helped. When another volunteer praised her on the end product, she said, "Thanks! It was team work." It made me feel so happy knowing that she had that sort of mature mindset. Other children offer to share their prizes with each other, holding the lift door for strangers... It's the kind of thing I love seeing in the children, because they not only become better human beings but also set examples to the younger ones.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 2.27.01 PM.png

 What tips do you have for new volunteers?  You are not alone. There are WCAs and Captains who are with you. So don't be afraid to ask questions. Things may not always have a structure, so come with an open mind and take initiative as much as possible. Treat the children like adults, respect them like a friend, but also be firm when necessary. Remember that you're working with children, so our actions and words really help set examples. Most of all, have fun!

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering with Beyond Awesome?

I think the answer above would be the same for this one here!

What do you love most about being able to give back to communities in Singapore?

Knowing that it creates meaningful change and improvements to the children's lives, one way or another. 

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 2.57.19 PM.png

Interested to volunteer but can only commit on an ad-hoc basis?

Interested to volunteer on a regular basis and have direct interaction with youth? Sign up for an upcoming information evening and volunteer orientation.

Join our community of WorldChangeAgents serving through our Beyond Awesome program *click* 

Interested to give financially from anywhere in the world?  *click*