Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is an annual celebration of young volunteers around the world.

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is an annual celebration of young volunteers around the world, and this year, we had the opportunity to put together another successful project to celebrate this important day. On April 16th , we chose to lighten up the old folks home, Elder Care Nursing Home for Dementia and Alzheimer patients in Old Klang Road.

Our aims for this volunteering project were:-

1) To bring an awareness to enhance and expand joyful interactions in the Elder Care Nursing Home environment.
2) To help give a broader understanding about dementia patients and know how to treat and care for them

We had a team of 10 YES and AFS alumni members. Upon arrival, the volunteers were given a brief introduction about the aim of this event and the activities planned for the day and also the do’s and don’t’s. We started the day by singing the ‘Hello, hello, how are you’ song to get the old folks excited, and they gave great response by clapping their hands and singing along.

Before lunch, we did some art activities such as colouring and drawing with the elders, where all the volunteers joined in the session and helped and interacted with the elders. The elders love to open up and share their life stories, which was very inspiring to some of us. After lunch, the volunteers were given their own time to mingle around with the elders, such as playing bingo, ping pong and also just chatting with them. Before heading home, we gave them a fruit basket as a gift and took some photos as a keepsake memory. The elders had a smile on their face and thanked us for visiting them.

Overall, the project went well as we successfully put a smile on their faces. As a volunteer, I cherished this opportunity because it is by visiting the old folks that I appreciate my own grandparents more. It is not hard to please these old folks because all they long for is your presence and someone to talk to.

Our smiles have made their day better and that is an incredible feeling to me. I sincerely hope the visit the home made them feel loved and appreciated. Even though it was a small gesture, I hope it gave a huge impact to the volunteers and the old folks. This is the start of my effort to give back to the community and I hope there are more opportunities like this in the future.

What do our volunteers think of their GYSD experience?

At first I thought that its more like a volunteering thing where we contribute to others but it turned out to be more than that. We are the ones who benefited from this experience because of the lessons that they taught us from their stories, it was indeed very inspiring. It wasn’t just about making our day better, it was to make them feel loved and appreciated.
– Huey Leng, 2014 YES Alumni

I was a bit nervous to take the lead in this project, to be quite honest but seeing their happy faces towards the end of the day was the highlight of it all. Before leaving the house, we gave them fruit basket, and you could see their faces light up, and one uncle even came up to me several times to get me to give him some bananas. They were all smiling, thanking us for visiting them; you could hear the sincerity coming from their voices. I hope to do more of this in the future!
– Athirah, lead organizer of GYSD 2016

Written by,
Athirah Anis  (YES’14)