Three decades of impact

Three decades of impact

Caption: Moulding young hearts and minds

Three decades of impact
When Boon Teck first volunteered three decades ago, he was taken aback when one of the children said something negative about him. Feeling crushed, he almost gave up. Fortunately, he managed to overcome his hurt with help from other volunteers.  

Soon, he bonded with the children and enjoyed interacting with them. That was the start of Boon Teck’s volunteering journey with TOUCH Young Arrows (TYA), which reaches out to children from low-income families at 25 locations, otherwise known as Clubs. Boon Teck’s responsibilities included providing academic coaching and helping to organise programmes for the children to meet their social and emotional needs.

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Caption: Boon Teck (second from right) enjoying a birthday celebration with some TYA children and volunteers

“A child’s behaviour can be complex and it could be a cry for attention. I have learnt to reframe my thinking with a positive mindset and see how I can help children maximise their potential,” says Boon Teck.

Breaking barriers
Since then, Boon Teck has not looked back. Over the years, he grew in his responsibilities to become a Club Leader and spent some 20 years working with the children and volunteers at the Clementi Club. For a period, his two children would take part in the activities together with other TYA children while he and his wife were volunteering.

Now at 53, Boon Teck is still volunteering faithfully each week, but with more responsibilities at the Bukit Panjang Club as a Club Supervisor. He would also help out at other clubs when needed.

“Volunteers play an important role in inspiring hope and impacting the lives of not just the children but their families too. It takes effort to get to know the children and their parents, to win their trust and equip them with resources to strengthen relationships. Being accepted as part of their bigger family makes my volunteering experience so meaningful,” says Boon Teck.

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Caption: Boon Teck coaching some TYA children in their schoolwork

Boon Teck feels that children can be nurtured to make a positive impact in society. He is thrilled to see them contributing as volunteers even in their adulthood.

Moulding young minds
“Children learn the most through play. As volunteers, we help to facilitate this learning process by equipping them with a good foundation that will serve them well throughout their lives. For example, through our Survival Camp, they learn to rough it out without their parents. They go hiking, compete in telematches, and learn to cooperate and resolve conflicts. Through these experiences, they learn empathy, acceptance and gratefulness,” says Boon Teck.

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Caption: Boon Teck enjoys reaching out to children and youths through interactive activities

Such camps are also an opportunity for the younger volunteers to hone their leadership skills as they take charge of the children under their care. Boon Teck sees such experiences as life changing events.

“Volunteering is about building relationships. You need to volunteer for some time before you can see transformation; it takes patience and commitment,” says Boon Teck, adding that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

When asked about his future plans, Boon Teck intends to continue volunteering as long as he remains healthy. If he does suffer from any health issues, he will explore other volunteering opportunities and make the best of what he has to serve the needy in society.

Today, TYA is supported by some 400 regular volunteers across its 25 Clubs. For more information on volunteering opportunities, please visit

Story published in 2024