Volunteer Diaries - Brendan

Updated: May 26

Sometimes, volunteering simply starts when we find a worthy cause. For 24-year-old Brendan Ong, it was in 2015. He had witnessed how someone close to him struggled with their mental health and it encouraged him to join the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) as a volunteer.

Recognising that he had some free time on his hands during his National Service (NS), Brendan decided that he wanted to contribute back to society, specifically the mental health community. He had found and understood his purpose for volunteering then: “to help reintegrate the lives of patients back to society”.

However, as Brendan entered university, it became harder for him in finding volunteering opportunities and contributing in a meaningful manner. The hectic school life kept him preoccupied but he eventually found a new avenue in the form of Skills For Good.

In 2020, Brendan joined “SGExams But Better” as the project lead through Skills For Good. His team of 5 worked together in the development and design of an implementation plan for SGExams to incorporate career guidance services into their student community. During the course of the project, they faced a number of challenges. One such challenge was juggling between identifying the gaps in the current Career Guidance market and discerning SGExams’ capabilities as a team to ensure they suggested feasible ideas.

One of the things which inspired Brendan while volunteering was the story behind “SGExams But Better”. He was impressed by how a group of students who simply started by sharing notes on Reddit transform themselves into a full-fledged platform with an abundance of resources for students from all stages of their educational journey. “They’re all much younger than me, and they managed to do that,” Brendan states, noting the ages of the founders.

Brendan was impressed by the notion of like-minded people coming together for a cause that they strongly believed in. That eventually inspired him to join Skills for Good’s Business Development team. He admired how Skills For Good “provides accessible and meaningful projects to volunteers who are seeking to make a difference.”

Brendan recognizes, as a student himself, that while we may have the passion to volunteer for these beneficial causes, it may be difficult to do so. As such, Skills For Good alleviates this problem by providing the flexibility of short stints that are easier to schedule into our hectic student lives. He is grateful to Skills For Good as a “meaningful ground-up initiative” where he is surrounded by people who are equally passionate to serve and where his contributions continue to feel beneficial for the larger community.

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