From Special Needs Graduate to Active Volunteer

From Special Needs Graduate to Active Volunteer

Caption: Veylin (second from right) with other special needs trainees volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels. 

On Fridays, Veylin Seah (48) heads down to TOUCH Centre for Independent Living (TCIL) to guide trainees with special needs as they volunteer to deliver meals to homebound elderly with TOUCH Home Care (THC)’s Meals-on-Wheels (MOW) programme. During MOW, Veylin accompanies trainees as they take public transport to THC in Toa Payoh and guides them in distributing food packets to the correct household units.

Giving Back as an Ex-Trainee Volunteer

Veylin's Graduation
Caption: Veylin graduated from TCIL in 2020 and returned as a volunteer. 

As an ex-trainee from TCIL, Veylin is diagnosed with intellectual disability and graduated from the centre in 2020. Upon graduation, Veylin’s Social Worker, Ms Kho Wai Leng, encouraged her to give back as a volunteer and guide the trainees as they attend their weekly Mobility Training on Fridays.  

Veylin assisting trainee in ordering lunch
Veylin and trainee identifying price of items during mobility training
Caption: Veylin guiding other trainees during Mobility Training. 

Since then, Veylin has been a regular volunteer at TCIL’s Mobility Training, where she accompanies trainees to purchase food at the food court and helps female trainees who need physical support or directions to the toilet.  

Veylin may be quiet in nature, but volunteering has given her confidence to lead other trainees once she has familiarised herself with what to do. Ms Sharon Lim, Veylin’s previous Lifeskills Coach shares, “Veylin enjoys helping other trainees and feels good offering her help. Whether it’s an existing or new trainee, she is comfortable guiding them even though they may not be close friends yet. She does not do things halfway and always ensures the completion of a task.” 

Gaining Confidence to Lead 

In 2023, Veylin was given the opportunity to expand the scope of her volunteering to MOW. With Mr Goh Kim Yeow being the only Lifeskills Coach overseeing trainees in this programme on Fridays, Veylin was entrusted with the role of watching and guiding trainees who may need assistance delivering the food to the correct household units.  

Veylin guiding trainee to distribute to the right unit
Veylin guiding other trainees
Caption: Veylin guiding other trainees during MOW. 

Unlike Mobility Trainings which Veylin used to attend as a trainee, MOW was a new experience for her. Mr Goh shares, “When Veylin first joined us, she was unsure how to lend support to other trainees as a volunteer. I guided her each week by running through the steps on how she can help others, and she’s now confident and independent enough to take the lead.”  

Achieving New Milestones

Veylin and family celebrating Christmas
Caption: Veylin (second from left) and her family celebrating Christmas together.  

On top of weekly volunteering, Veylin has also been gainfully employed as a Kitchen Assistant at a restaurant since 2013 and has started working as a Kitchen Steward since last year. Her two sisters have also witnessed Veylin’s improvement at home, where she helps with purchasing groceries and is able to manage her money well. They hope Veylin continues to have a heart for helping others in need through weekly volunteering.  

Sharon shares, “I’m very proud of how far Veylin has come! She is TCIL’s first trainee-turned-volunteer. Even though she is quiet in nature, I can tell that she loves TCIL and is happy to give back.” 

Veylin has been an inspiration for how persons with disabilities can be empowered to go beyond their limits and realise their potential. Her spirit of volunteerism is a reminder that everyone can be someone! 
TOUCH Centre for Independent Living (TCIL) is a day activity centre which offers competence-based training programmes for adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. It aims to provide them with functional knowledge and skills that will equip them to live independently in the community. This client-focused training programme teaches daily living and pre-employment skills to trainees, and visual arts, sports and recreational activities to improve their quality of life.    

Story published in 2024