by Alden Tan (17S06L), President, and Joan Koh (17S03G), Vice-President
Service is the very essence of Interact. We are a unique CCA – our 160-strong family is made up of passionate, committed and sincere youths who are willing to give our time and effort to make a difference in our community and to touch the lives of others. Service is a way of life, and Interact cultivates that way of life in each and every one of us.
Some may regard service as a straightforward endeavour; yet, your yearlong journey in Interact will reveal multiple challenges that lay beneath our grandiose aim of service before self. Service transcends superficial interaction with our beneficiaries, delving deeper into the intricacies of our society and the day-to-day issues that marginalised communities in our midst have to grapple with. After all, we don’t serve when times are good and things are easy, we serve where there is really a need for it. This is part and parcel of service: to recognize that these problems exist, and that we all have a shared responsibility to play our part.
Every week, Interactors attend a General Meeting with the rest of the club as well as attend at least one service session at their Service Centre (SC). This weekly service is something that we look forward to after a long day at school, whether it’s seeing the faces of the elderly light up as we enter the senior activity centre, or witnessing the joy in the children’s eyes as they manage to solve a maths problem under our guidance. Over weeks of service, we gradually come to realise that service is about patiently building a relationship with those whom we serve, valuing them sincerely as equal individuals, whilst appreciating the simple joys in life with them.
In addition to weekly service, club service is also an avenue through which we reach out to different parts of our community. Partnering with different Voluntary Welfare Organisations, Interactors have the opportunity to take part in refreshing and innovative events that champion various causes. For instance, as part of Youth Corps Singapore’s NDP Befrienders activity, Interactors attended the National Day Parade 2016 with friends from the Down Syndrome Association, befriending them through the visual spectacles at the parade. Raffles Interact also partnered with World Vision Singapore for PlayStreets SG, a survival simulation which reached out to families to raise awareness of the pertinent issues faced by those in developing countries.
The speciality of Raffles Interact lies in our very own trademark events – Youth Got Heart (YGH) and Dine in the Dark (DITD). Together with Interact Camp, these 3 events are our core club events. Every Interactor will join an Organising Team, helping to plan and prepare for one of these events. The journey serves as a platform to foster close ties amongst Interactors, as we work together to anchor our events in purpose-driven activities that will leave a meaningful impact on our participants. A champion of community causes within school, Raffles Interact makes use of YGH and DITD to reach out to the wider school community, with YGH encouraging volunteerism and DITD raising awareness of the challenges the visually impaired face in their daily lives.
With “Interact” standing for “International Action”, Raffles Interact also organises an International Understanding (IU) Week which seeks to promote understanding of international causes within school. Interactors also have the chance to embark on an IU Trip overseas to experience first-hand the causes which we promote, as well as to make a tangible impact on our friends from other countries.
Interact values servant leadership, providing a plethora of leadership opportunities for Interactors to step up and lead one another in our shared pursuit of serving others. Through roles such as the Board of Directors, Service Centre ICs and Event Main Committees, each and every Interactor is encouraged to step out of their comfort zone, honing their leadership and interpersonal skills. Through these opportunities,Interactors gain the confidence and capability of leading others whilst being grounded in humility, forging a close-knitted family to which everyone feels a deep sense of connection.
Service requires neither skill, talent, nor any prior experience. Service is anchored in simple and small acts which reflect a larger sense of purpose and a deeper connection to the wider community. An Interactor only needs an open and willing heart, one that is ready to put service before self, to practise service as a way of life, and to put smiles on others’ faces, one smile at a time.
If you have the heart to serve, Raffles Interact warmly welcomes you.