One of our volunteers, Ms Deepti Dongre (right in cover photo), pens her reflections on her volunteering journey with SPD.
I have been a friend of SPD for four years now. I came to know about SPD from a dear friend of mine, who is always spreading positive cheer around. I was amazed by her positive energy and wondered how she managed to be so. It was then that she shared about SPD and how it changed her attitude towards life completely. And now, I am experiencing the same.
I started volunteering in 2018 at the SPD Sheltered Workshop twice or thrice a week. This year, I was deployed to the SPD Day Activity Centre (DAC) where I work with clients with physical disabilities or who have autism spectrum disorder.
Being an artist, I have a keen sense of observation. I have observed the way the SPD training officers, volunteers, even the cleaners and van drivers manage the clients on a close level. I am so proud to say that I have never found one occasion where the clients were neglected. Every training officer has a good sense of responsibility and imbibes a sense of discipline, hygiene, and self-care in every client. It’s a Momma Bear approach – tough love and protection, along with immense kindness and empathy.
The training officers come up with different games daily like Pictionary, Bingo, as well as dance sessions and art and craft activities. Every festival and occasion like National Day or New Year’s Day are celebrated with fun-filled activities, meant not only to hone the clients’ skills in different areas, but also to engage and immerse them in the festive spirit. Credit goes to the training officers for making it interesting for the clients every day.
The officers at the DAC Without Walls (DWW) also deserve a mention. This community-based programme sees the officers training the clients in various life skills such as taking the public transport. Clients also get more opportunities to interact with people in the community through activities like helping to pack products at the supermarkets, sweeping or gardening at resorts. The amount of effort and thought put in by the officers to ensure that the clients are meaningfully engaged is incredible.
Volunteering at SPD has made me a better person. I find myself appreciating acts of love and kindness more, dealing with problems with a positive attitude and harbouring gratitude with what life offers me.
I hope to continue this friendship with SPD and learn more each day.