By Raffles Interact EXCO ‘21
In Interact, our philosophy is service before self. All of us are guided by the principle that through building genuine connections with those we help, we are able to be there for them. Before COVID-19, Interactors experienced service through serving multiple beneficiaries such as elderly care centres (COMNET Senior Services), welfare organisations (MINDS and Sunlove Dementia Care Centre) and organisations that help children from disadvantaged backgrounds (Pertapis Children’s Home, Henderson Care Centre, and Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home).
As for General Meetings that take place every Wednesday, Interactors look forward to sharings from notable experts, book readings, and other engaging activities to learn more about service, helping us to better empathise with and reach out to beneficiaries. Traditionally, Interact organises events such as Live in The Dark, Youth Got Heart, and Interact Camp. Each of these large-scale events have provided Interactors with valuable opportunities to grow as individuals and strive for deeper meaning in their respective service journeys. Events are a way of broadening the scope of what Interactors consider service.
Through service, we learn that the heart, emotion and desire to serve is what keeps us going. On your service journey, your personal takeaways will be uniquely shaped by what you do and what you want to learn. You don’t need to worry if this sounds daunting; Interact is a place for you to try things that you’ve never tried before and discover previously unknown sides to yourself. It is a safe place where even if you make mistakes and stumble, the rest of the club will be there to help you up and encourage you to persevere. Service is not about being perfect or helping the most people; it is about your heart and the effort that you put into making a difference in someone’s life.
You may be wondering how Interact has been affected by COVID-19. What was once direct and physical has turned online and impersonal. All of a sudden, there are no service centres to go to, no physical events to look forward to, and no General Meetings for the whole CCA to come together physically.
And yet, the flames of service still burn bright in the hearts of Interactors. While COVID-19 may seemingly have tied our hands, service can still be manifested in the simplest of ways, like starting a conversation with your family members on what we can do to help migrant workers, or tutoring a neighbour through Zoom. Service is not limited by physical barriers. It transcends time—persisting for long after the service session has ended, and space—bringing someone on the other side of Singapore happiness because your presence can make them feel less alone.
Despite the impossibility of direct service in the foreseeable future, we still hope to continue serving by utilising digital platforms to interact with the elderly, give tuition, or become pen pals with our beneficiaries. Even if we cannot be with our beneficiaries in real life, we can still make real impacts through the virtual space.
The things that have not changed in Interact are our focus and our values. Although there are some disruptions, we still emphasise the love for our community and the empathy needed to connect with others. If you have a heart to serve and are willing to dedicate time to Interact, Interact welcomes you and hopes that you can join our family.