The year-end holidays came rolling around and instead of my go-to school holiday activity of sleeping which I usually spend an inordinate amount of time on, I decided to do something different and more meaningful. With my new goal in mind, I searched the internet for volunteering opportunities. That was when I came across “Be A Book Santa”, a book donation campaign to help the community. Beneficiaries included Dignity Mama, Skool4Kidz Preschool Community Library and Books beyond Borders. This activity caught my attention as it was for a good cause, and seemed interesting yet manageable for students like myself. In addition to collecting books from public donors at designated collection points, I could leverage my network of friends from school for their donations. Hence, I enthusiastically signed up for it.
The process for the book donation campaign was simple and the instructions from the organisers were clear. It helped that the organisers were friendly, encouraging and quick to respond to queries and to clarify any doubts that I had. After receiving instructions, I immediately started to plan my course of action. I looked through my phone contacts and made a list of friends who may have suitable books for donation. To make it more convenient for my friends to donate their books, I offered to collect the books from them at their residence. I also decided on a suitable location to place the book collection box. It had to be at a place where it was easily accessible for people to drop off their books. I also had to source for empty boxes to contain and transport the books to the beneficiaries.
With my plan drafted out, I proceeded enthusiastically with the book collection drive. However, unforeseen challenges soon started to appear. Firstly, although I approached my friends for donations, many of them did not have books to give away. I felt snubbed and was disappointed, but I persisted in reaching out to even more friends and relatives for their donations. Eventually, my perseverance and efforts paid off as more friends reached out to me with their books. The collection box also started filling up fast. I also had other unknown donors contact me to express their interest in donating their books. With my spirit uplifted and morale boosted, I was turbo-charged to continue with the campaign. However, that was when I met another problem – I had no means of transporting all these books by myself. With some quick thinking and a positive attitude, I decided to enlist my parents’ help to carry and transport the heavy boxes of books. In the course of delivery, I met up with other volunteers and was heartened that they were kind, warm and friendly.
Upon the conclusion of the campaign, I realised that I had learnt and benefitted much. I appreciated the opportunity to be involved in several stages of this very meaningful campaign -from planning, collection to delivery of the books. I felt a greater sense of ownership and achievement as I was involved in the entire process for collection and transportation of the books. I also gained useful skills from volunteering at Big at Heart, such as communication and administration skills. In addition, the activity was fun and meaningful. I’ll definitely do it again in a heartbeat, should the opportunity arise again.