(Article is contributed by Bank of Montreal Singapore Branch)
Serving the community is ingrained in the culture of the Bank of Montreal (BMO) across the world. We are committed to giving back to the community in which we operate in; last year, BMO donated over CAD $60 million to great causes around the world. Locally, the BMO Singapore Branch has also raised funds to support local charitable organisations.
In 2016, we deepened our CSR commitment by giving our colleagues the opportunity to directly serve the community. We felt that it would be a great way to engage and introduce our colleagues to opportunities in making a difference in the lives of others.
To ensure that our goal of serving the community directly was a success, we worked with TOUCH Community Services, which helped us reach out to different segments of society, such as children and the elderly. The TOUCH staff was very helpful in presenting proposals months in advance for discussion, and customised the activities according to the number of available volunteers.
One of our first activities was a pizza-making session at a pizza restaurant with children from TOUCH Young Arrows. We found that the session was relatively easy to organise, and more importantly, it provided a platform for our colleagues to support and interact with the children. Apart from time with the children, our colleagues also embarked on an activity with the TOUCH Senior Activity Centre (TSAC). Through this activity, many colleagues expressed their satisfaction with an afternoon well spent, upon seeing the contented faces of the elderly during our interactions.
Caption: Pizza making activity with children from TOUCH Young Arrows
Buoyed by the success of these activities, the BMO Singapore Branch partnered with TOUCH again in 2017. In conjunction with BMO’s 200th anniversary, we organised a Deepavali celebration for 200 senior citizens from TSAC. Ms. Chae Min Jeong who was in the CSR committee said, “The activities not only benefit the clients of TOUCH, but also helped me to build rapport with my colleagues. Sometimes, we had to spend time and effort to plan the activities, and we learnt to be pro-active and to help each other.”
Other colleagues also shared some of their memorable moments while serving the community. Ms. Jerome Pushparaj and her teenage daughter participated in the Deepavali celebration and she said, “I had a wonderful experience with the senior citizens. They sang and danced along with us and participated in the games we organised. I remember one lady whom I helped to tie her saree for during the saree-dressing competition. She received two gifts, one for herself and one for the person who helped her to tie her saree. She was so happy to present me with the gift, but she was even happier when I told her to keep the gift for herself. She hugged, kissed, and blessed me and my daughter.”
Caption: Bringing cheer to seniors at Deepavali celebrations at the TOUCH Senior Activity Centre
From these volunteer activities, our colleagues also had the opportunity to work with other colleagues from different departments, and we also discovered some hidden talents in singing and performing! However, more than just team bonding, personal testimonies from our colleagues help affirm the purpose and reason on why we serve the communities in which we operate.
Mr. Peter Nesbitt, Managing Director and Branch Manager of BMO Singapore Branch commented, “It was heart-warming for me to interact with the senior citizens at TSAC. I know my colleagues feel the same way. BMO certainly looks forward to supporting TOUCH and its clients in the coming years.”
BMO’s tagline is, “We’re here to help,” and our partnership with TOUCH certainly enables us to live up to this credo.
There are many ways that our corporate partners can partner TOUCH in giving back to the community. Find out how at https://www.touch.org.sg/get-involved/corporate-partner