Thinker with a Mission, Leader with a Heart series Nivetha d/o Senthil Kumar
There is a saying, "the happiest people are those not getting more, but giving more." Volunteering is all about giving back to society, where we have received so much from. In times like these, it is through volunteer work that we learn to embrace the values of altruism and selflessness, giving hope and joy to those who need it the most. By helping others, we give them a most priceless gift - happiness. That is exactly what Nivetha d/o Senthil Kumar (2T13, Class of 2019) did.
Through observing her parents, friends and people around her who shared and lived the desire of giving back to society, Nivetha found her calling in volunteering. As someone who embraced the call of wanting to do more for others, Nivetha started her volunteering journey when she was in secondary school. After a stint as a volunteer at the Red Cross Blood Bank, she became more passionate and signed up as a volunteer docent with the National Heritage Board (NHB) in 2018 while she was in Catholic Junior College (CJC). She was also a volunteer at the Residents' Committee (RC) before she journeyed with the Radin Mas Youth Network (RMYN).
As Vice President of the Interact Club in CJC, Nivetha led several activities such as spending time with the elderly at the St Luke's Elder Care once a week. The Interact Club soon intensified their activities to support the elderly more, such as the 'Grey Can Still Play Carnival' organised by The Interact Coordinating Committee (ICC), the Rotary Club of Singapore, Youth Corps Singapore and Metropolitan YMCA. Through these experiences, Nivetha has been enriched by the invaluable knowledge from planning activities and interaction with beneficiaries from diverse backgrounds. Nivetha is grateful for her time in CJC which provided her with many opportunities for volunteering through the Interact Club. She recalls a quote from a seminar that she attended with the Interact Club: "Service is about Learning". While it was challenging balancing school work, her co-curricular activity (CCA) and volunteer work, Nivetha puts in her best in all of her endeavours. She reiterated that the supportive environment in CJC as a place of learning and living made it possible for her to lead and serve in the area of volunteerism, and she has also grown to be resilient in the face of setbacks.
As Singapore and the world battles Covid-19, it is with that same spirit of resilience, courage and empathy that inspired Nivetha to step up and offer her hand to the community. As the national measures to contain the pandemic led to the postponement and cancellation of volunteer events, Nivetha realised that there were even fewer opportunities for her to serve. As a RMYN volunteer, she rose to the call of assisting the elderly and the needy during this trying period through mask distribution, hand sanitiser distribution and temperature screenings. Together with other volunteers, they baked cookies and distributed them to healthcare workers.
Nivetha's passion for volunteering is evident in her belief that it is the missing piece in her life. As a student, she has learnt to manage her time to balance her studies and her passion. In addition, Nivetha feels a sense of fulfillment and she hopes to inspire and encourage others, especially the young, to start thinking about how they can contribute to society. She believes that it is vital to eliminate apathy and indifference, and to be proactive in learning about the needs of the less fortunate in order to be agents of change. She encourages CJCians to be open to volunteering, to not underestimate the value of one's contribution and also to keep an open mind in this pursuit. With this mindset, she believes that one can go against all odds and embody the essence of being a Thinker with a Mission and a Leader with a Heart.
(Photos from Dawn Chueh, Class of 2015)
Nivetha was not the only CJCian who stepped up to serve in these difficult times. We were very moved and encouraged when we read about Dawn Chueh's (Class of 2015) selflessness and sense of duty to the hospital that she was attached to while reading medicine in the UK.
Dawn decided to stay on and continue working in the hospital instead of returning to Singapore when her studies was disrupted because she knew that the hospital needed help. Here's Dawn in her own words:
"I really love this community and all our patients, each time I go to work I am filled with love and happiness! They really keep me going. After seven months of placement in this hospital, I also grew attached to the medical team here and can’t bear to leave while the hospital is so understaffed. Can’t turn my back on family! I feel so blessed by God throughout my life and especially during this period, I’m calm and at peace despite all that’s going on because I’m assured He will protect me! There are many challenging moments but also so many daily blessings that remind me of that.
I really hope that everyone (especially current CJCians) explores and finds something they are passionate about, you can’t go wrong if you love what you do and do it wholeheartedly! I’m so thankful to have found my calling and trust me (and ask my teachers), I never expected it to be medicine! I took a gap year to explore and work, had some really rough months and some really great times. The journey is tough but it’s 100% worthwhile!"
We give thanks to God, our Father, for CJCians like Nivetha and Dawn, and pray that God will continue to keep them and their families safe and well. To read more about Dawn's contributions, click here.
In Veritate et Caritate