Chia Wen Jia discovered his passion for nurturing young minds when he started volunteering with TOUCH Young Arrows (TYA) in 2011. As an ex-engineer in the semi-conductor industry, Wen Jia always looked forward to Saturdays when he would spend his time with TYA children.
From planning events to helping the children with their studies, Wen Jia’s volunteering experience inspired him to consider a career switch to join the social service sector full-time.
“As a volunteer once a week, there’s only so much I could do to help. I wanted to contribute more daily and decided to quit my engineering job. The switch is worth it because I can now put my time and energy into something I’m truly passionate for – sowing seeds into the lives of others,” shares Wen Jia.
Showing Care Across Generations
Having spent 6 years at TYA, Wen Jia also wanted to reach out to seniors in need. Since 2021, Wen Jia began his journey as a Programmes Executive at TOUCH Active Ageing (TAA) at Yishun, where he focuses on community outreach and befriending seniors.
Working with seniors proved to be a whole new ball game. He shares that besides having to polish his conversational Hokkien, the needs of both sets of clients are fundamentally different and there was a lot for him to learn.
“For the children at TYA, it’s a lot about education and awareness to ensure that they receive help to improve their well-being, grades, and family relationships. Whereas for seniors, it’s more important to listen to their needs and build trust so that they will open up to you about their struggles,” he shares.
Connecting His Loved Ones with the Community of Care
Through TAA’s Yes2HealthyLife programme – which aims to help seniors age well in place by providing them with tips and resources to help them eat and cook more healthily, Wen Jia found an opportunity to rope his mother, Mdm Chong Ying, in as a volunteer.
“My mother is a great cook and knows how to whip up a delicious yet healthy meal for us. Since she recently moved from Malaysia to Singapore, I thought she could assist with the centre’s cooking demonstrations and make new friends to help her settle down here,” shares Wen Jia.
Mdm Chong shares, “I really enjoyed helping with the cooking demonstrations. As a senior, I’m thankful to have the opportunity to share my skills with other seniors and befriend them. I’m glad Wen Jia chose a career in this sector, because you can directly impact the lives of others through this job!”
TOUCH Active Ageing empowers seniors to lead fulfilling lives as they learn to stay physically active and socially connected. TOUCH Active Ageing believes that every senior - regardless of their age, ability or physical status - can be equipped as a resource to help others.