Community service is one of the most meaningful experiences in life, and here in Singapore Polytechnic (SP), there’s a rich and proud tradition of going all out to help one another. Central to this is the Go Serve programme, where students and staff members serve numerous communities to bring more joy to their days.
SP’s Caring Community
Go Serve seeks to align community responsibilities, activities and programmes with SP’s core business of training and educating students. This helps to ensure that those who pass through SP’s doors are not only work, life and world ready – they are also passionate and concerned about the well-being of the community they live in.
To improve its beneficiaries’ living conditions and livelihood, Go Serve aims to inspire students and staff members to develop sustainable technology and business solutions, and foster a strong sense of social responsibility. In this manner, SP steadily builds up a caring community that creates positive impact far beyond the school’s – or even the country’s – borders!
Take the case of Cruz Sim from the School of Digital Media & Infocomm Technology (DMIT), for example.
When he’s not busy rocking digital animation creations and videos for assignments, Cruz Sim gets inspired by paying it forward through community service. It adds a whole new dimension to his SP experience, and he loves it!
“It makes me feel more alive when I help people. It also reminds me that SP is not just about schooling, co-curricular activities, projects and exams, but also about giving back and serving the community,” says the bubbly and cheerful Cruz.
Vietnam in Focus
Cruz reveals that one of his more memorable community service experiences is from 2012, when he participated in a Go Serve expedition to Vietnam called Project MELT – Moments that Last a Life Time.
In this activity, 30 students and 3 lecturers from DMIT travelled to Ho Chi Minh City to share digital photography and photojournalism skills with students from the Nguyen Huu Canh College. The project aimed to upgrade the beneficiaries’ personal skills, thus giving them enhanced job opportunities, such as in freelance photography and image editing.
Cruz shares that the trip also involved partnering the college students in further acts of community service.
The children are delighted with their new stationery sets from the SP Team
“The students not only learnt more skills in digital photography and photojournalism, they also travelled with us to different parts of Vietnam to pay it forward by way of community service. For example, all of us went to visit a remote school in Ha Tien District to donate stationery sets to its students,” he says.
The DMIT team even visited the Long Hua orphanage home to donate 1,500 kg of rice and 60 cartons of noodles, which they obtained through holding a fundraising event in SP. In this manner, the whole poly involved itself in giving the orphans there precious food staples.
“I valued the opportunity to share skills and help the less privileged in Vietnam,” says Cruz of the entire experience, which he describes as enriching and inspiring.
“Not only did we spread joy and goodwill, we also forged new friendships and had enriching cultural exchanges with the people in Vietnam. This has inspired me to value friends and family more, and to not take things for granted. The whole project was a powerful experience. It reinforced the significance of giving back to the community and showing care and concern for others.”
Inspired to Serve
Unsurprisingly, Cruz went on to serve even more following his Go Serve stint in Vietnam.
He has since gone on to help out at old folks’ and nursing homes, taken on beach clean-up volunteer work, and even integrated volunteer community service into his other SP activities. In March 2014, while on an Immersion Programme in San Francisco, Cruz was inspired to use that overseas opportunity to serve breakfast to the homeless and do his bit for the community!
That’s just how Cruz is. For him, there’s always a way to brighten someone’s day.
“Whenever there is a chance to serve the community, I’m always all in. Be it big or small, as long as it’s from the heart, that’s what’s most important.”
Want to Go Serve?
Should you feel inspired to do more for the community, whether in SP, Singapore, or the world around you – just go for it and get in touch with Go Serve! You’ll find plenty of opportunities to serve, and lots of different ways to brighten up someone’s day.