Personality Spotlight

Shena, 17, one of the youngest volunteers at Nursing Home (Tampines)

Published on 26 Mar 2024

At the age of 14, most teenagers would probably be spending their free time chasing pop idols, gaming or socialising with other teens. Shena chose to spend hers with the residents in NTUC Health’s Nursing Homes.


Shena conducting exercise sessions for the nursing home residents

Shena began her volunteer journey at the age of 11, in 2018. She volunteered at a local nursing home and decided to continue doing so. So during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2021, as her first activity volunteering in Nursing Home (Chai Chee), Shena introduced engaging 45-minute seated exercise sessions to the residents, drawing inspiration from the Ministry of Health’s Mozzie Wipeout video. Despite being young and inexperienced with facilitating activities, Shena persisted in her weekly engagements.


In a recent interview with 8World, Shena shared about her motivations to volunteer at NTUC Health Nursing Homes, "When I was in Primary five, I volunteered at a nursing home and sang and played bingo with the seniors. I thought it was a very meaningful experience. I loved it, so I wanted to continue volunteering."

In August 2022, Shena started volunteering at Nursing Home (Tampines) and introduced Rummikub to the residents there. What started as a small group activity of six residents expanded significantly, involving over 40 residents who eagerly looked forward to weekly Rummikub sessions with Shena. As the game involved 14 cards, the seniors nicknamed her ‘14 cards’ and were always asking the nursing home staff if ‘14 cards’ would be coming by to play Rummikub with them.

Shena’s initiative resulted in a successfully organised inter-ward Rummikub Tournament within the nursing home in March 2023. It brought the residents immense joy and allowed for the bolstering of social connections amongst them.


Shena facilitating a game of Rummikub for the residents

Beyond Rummikub, Shena generously hosts cooking and baking sessions within Nursing Home (Tampines). Her menu had included dishes such as sausage bread, mini cheesecake, ABC soup with handmade noodles and chocolate cupcakes.

Shena's volunteering efforts thus far won her an award in the inaugural student category of the 2023 Silent Heroes Award. The Silent Heroes Award is a national award by the Singapore People's Association that recognises everyday Singaporeans and permanent residents for their extraordinary humanity and compassion towards people, causes, and mission. She said, "I think the more important thing is the friendship made with the residents. When I become good friends with them, it makes me very satisfied."


Shena and Michael who often play Rummikub and engage in many team activities together

On volunteers like Shena who come to the nursing home, Mr Michael Lam, Nursing Home (Tampines) resident, commented, "I feel very excited and emotional. We have activities when they come by. We all feel very happy."

Inez Oh, who currently manages volunteers in the nursing home mentioned, "I hope I can train Shena to become a volunteer leader. Let her lead more young and caring volunteers like herself to interact with the residents here."

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