CCA Previews ’19: Raffles Interact

By Raffles Interact

Service starts with the smallest of actions – simply being there and enjoying the relationship with the people that you serve. Spending time with them every week, these seemingly inconspicuous gestures have the potential to build genuine and trusting relationships that can have profound impact on the lives we hope to touch. Service is what defines Interact, and the passion to make a difference is what binds the 160-member club together.

While service may initially seem daunting, all you need is an open mind and a big heart to serve. It is not about talent, prior experience or skills, but rather the willingness to put yourself out there, doing your very best to fill the room with the same warmth and joy that the elderly and children bring into our own lives.

An Interactor’s journey would include weekly service at our various Service Centres, General Meetings and ad hoc events. Interact partners with various Service Centres, from elderly care centres (Comnet Senior Services), welfare organisations for various groups (MINDS and Sunlove Dementia Care Centre), organisations that support children from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds (Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home, Pertapis Children’s Home and Henderson Care Centre), to our very own homegrown enrichment programme for disadvantaged children (Raffles Institution Mentorship Programme).

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Interactors from Pertapis Children’s Home (Photograph by Brendon Loo, Raffles Photographic Society)

With our strong emphasis on direct service and the personal touch, we celebrate the tiniest achievements with the people we serve, valuing them as equal and unique individuals, and learning to appreciate the simple joys of life. Playing with the kids and seeing the sparkle in the elderly’s eyes as they share heartwarming life stories remind us to take a step back from the frenzied pace of our own schedules. It reminds us that we far too often, underestimate our own ability to give.

Nonetheless, our year-long journey as Interactors is unlikely to be completely smooth-sailing. Confronting the systemic problems and challenges that members of our society grapple with on a day-to-day basis can be testing, and attempting to better the lives of the people that we serve can be fraught with frustrations. However, recognizing our individual obligations to journey through life’s ups and downs together with them might just be the spark needed for us to create something greater than ourselves. And it is nothing short of inspiring to see them overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and their resilience in the face of the overwhelming struggles they face on a day-to-day basis.

Another hallmark of any Interactor’s journey is contributing to one of our signature club events, that includes: Interact Camp, Youth Got Heart (YGH),  International Understanding (IU) week and Live in the Dark (LITD). Building upon the legacy left by seniors, each event is a chance for the club to come together, translating passions into action and contributing in our own special ways. Although each event has their own unique goals, they are all anchored in purpose, working to improve the lives of our wider community.

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Blindfolded participants during Live in the Dark

Service does not only start with the smallest of actions, but also culminates in them. It is those tiny, beautiful moments – when your non-verbal buddy with autism holds the door for you, or when your tutees come back with scores on their assignment better than their last one – that makes this experience an unforgettably fulfilling one. As long as you have the heart to serve, Raffles Interact warmly welcomes you.

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