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  • Sugimoto Shoujin

Shoujin's Volunteering Experience (YGOS)

As part of our Volunteer Experience Series, we have Shoujin, our Marketing Manager as well as YGOS Branch IC to share more about his volunteering experiences!

Why did you join Rental Hearts as a volunteer?

I joined Rental Hearts in order to help the underprivileged, who I have a strong sense of empathy and understanding for. I joined when I was in the army in order to cultivate a stronger sense of purpose in my life and to add meaning to my life by providing value to people, especially those who need it the most. After being invited to one session by my friend, I found myself to enjoy teaching and interacting with the kids, and I also felt that it was a place that could help hone my leadership abilities, thus I have been continuing for just over a year now.

What makes you want to continue volunteering with us?

I continue to volunteer because I find myself looking forward to each weekly session and from there, it naturally finds its place in my weekly schedule. I also make it a conscious effort to volunteer minimally once a week. I realised that many of us, myself included, get lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. While it seems to be a normal way to live in this day and age, I occasionally find myself placing too much emphasis on my own success and happiness and as a result, I decided to care for other people as well. I make it a point to spend just 2 hours each week focusing on building others up, instead of just myself.

With the knowledge and resources that I have, the amount of joy and value that I can provide for other people - especially the underprivileged children is a lot. Likewise, the children bring light to my life as well, with their youthful energy. As of now, it is more of a habit to volunteer than an extra effort that I take. Overall, I find that volunteering is enlightening and enjoyable, and I do not plan on stopping volunteering.

What are some of your most memorable experiences while volunteering?

My most memorable experience is when my students tell me words of appreciation or tell me that they want to see me. Their words of appreciation or gestures of fondness never fail to motivate me to continue volunteering. Volunteering is something that is less prevalent as many people find them to be lower on their list of priorities, especially when work, studies and socialising come into play. Volunteering is no easy work, even more so when we are investing tens of hours into it. Seeing their smiles and knowing that your efforts are impacting others just reminds me that my efforts are not wasted and that I am doing something right.

How do you handle volunteering with your work/life schedule?

Volunteering with Rental Hearts is pretty convenient for me as it is on a Friday evening, after work/school. I normally go over to volunteer straight after work/school and it is just for a short 2 hours. Since Rental Hearts has 4 venues throughout Singapore, I usually book the venue that is the nearest for me or along my way back home.

Surprisingly, volunteering does not feel tiring or draining for me at all because I find it to be very purposeful, so it is completely manageable. It is also a good time for me to catch up with my friends from Rental Hearts, as we often grab supper or even go for runs after the sessions!

What are some barriers you faced and how did you overcome them?

One barrier that I faced was motivating my students. Some students may not be self-motivated and therefore easily distracted. Also, as we are usually allocated to new students each week, it is harder to motivate them consistently and maintain a good rapport.

I tackle this problem by getting to know them better at the start of each lesson, making small casual conversations, usually about the things that they are interested in which gets them lighted up. Being a student myself, I understand the importance of having a purpose for your studies, so I encourage them to form their own goals and clarify the importance of their goals with them whenever I see them. I have also learned to become more approachable and relatable along the way too.

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