People’s Association scholars doing their part for community
He was in kindergarten when he first learnt the importance of paying it forward.
Mr Tay Zi Heng, 20, told The New Paper: "I vividly recall my father at the coffee shop, buying food for someone who couldn't afford it."
Now, Mr Tay is a People's Association (PA) scholar and will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in Public Policy and Global Affairs at the Nanyang Technological University after completing his national service.
The PA Scholarship Awards was started in 2013 to recognise talented young people who have a heart to serve the community.
Mr Tay was inspired by his taxi driver father, who led by example. He said: "He taught me no matter what your situation, there is always someone less fortunate than you."
He added that his father, 51, and the sole breadwinner of his family of four, instilled in him the values of empathy and being kind to others.
Growing up with these values, Mr Tay eventually found his passion for volunteer work when he was at Ngee Ann Polytechnic doing his diploma in psychology studies after a four-month internship at the Alzheimer's Disease Association last year.
Mr Tay, who frequently volunteers for the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) on weekends, said: "It taught me that something as simple as lending a listening ear can go a long way."
Another PA scholar, Miss Hazel Loo, started volunteering at homes for the aged with her father when she was just nine, and she has not stopped since.
She told TNP: "Seeing the bright smiles on the faces of the elderly made it meaningful."
Miss Loo joined Temasek Junior College's Leo Club - which participates in volunteering activities - during her time studying there and would volunteer weekly at Bedok Green Primary School as a reading buddy, coaching students on reading and pronunciation.
The 19-year-old, who is pursuing a double degree in Communication and New Media, and Business at the National University of Singapore, believes volunteering creates a ripple effect.
She said: "These people just need to know that someone in society actually cares for them."