Posted: 2 Min ReadCorporate Responsibility

The Right to Wind in Your Hair

Celebrating Symantec’s Volunteer of the Quarter Xiaowei Chan

Symantec’s Volunteer of the Quarter initiative highlights and rewards those employees who dedicate their time and talents to those in need. We have a long and proud history of encouraging our employees to volunteer. While the driving force of our efforts is largely altruistic, volunteering makes our company a better place to work, and employees are helping both Symantec and the organizations they give back to.

Today we highlight our Volunteer of the Quarter Xiaowei ChanCorporate Counsel, based in our Singapore office.

Volunteers and seniors are ready for a ride (photo credit: Cycling Without Age)
Volunteers and seniors are ready for a ride (photo credit: Cycling Without Age)

I began volunteering as a student in high school. Helping the elderly age more independently and gracefully is something I care deeply about. Today, I volunteer four to six hours on average each month. Some of the activities I participate in include helping to prepare and deliver meals with Willing Hearts and taking the elderly on trishaw rides with Cycling Without Age.

Willing Hearts operates a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks, and distributes 5,000 daily meals to more than 40 locations island wide, 365 days a year. The charity, run entirely by volunteers, serves the elderly, the disabled, low-income families, and migrant workers in Singapore.

With Cycling Without Age, I’m able to give seniors the chance to feel a part of society. We give them the right to wind in their hair, the right to experience the city and nature close up from the bicycles, and the opportunity to tell their stories in the environment where they have lived their lives.

At Symantec, my job in the legal department requires that I always think many steps ahead to figure out any potential legal obstacles and pitfalls. I find myself applying these skills when I take the elderly on trishaw rides – except that I look out for potholes and cycling hazards instead.

Volunteering can be challenging, but it’s so rewarding. I remember one project where our team of volunteers cleaned out and repainted the one-room flat of a widower who was living alone. It was horrifying to see that someone could live in such unhygienic and drastic conditions. It made me realise that we have to do more to help those who would otherwise fall through the cracks. 

Those in need are provided with a delicious meal at Willing Hearts (photo credit: Willing Hearts)
Those in need are provided with a delicious meal at Willing Hearts (photo credit: Willing Hearts)

Volunteering brings me immense fulfillment and makes me feel that I’ve achieved something positive with my day. It has also challenged me to step out of me comfort zone on many occasions and taught me to be more adaptable. 

Xiowei, far left, assembles solar lights for Solar Buddy at an in-office volunteer event
Xiowei, far left, assembles solar lights for Solar Buddy at an in-office volunteer event

I’m thrilled to receive the $1,000 Volunteer of the Quarter grant from Symantec and will be sending it to another cause I’m involved with: Muhammadiyah Welfare Home. This children’s home guides, nurtures and empowers at-risk youth. The grant will be used to help plan for an upcoming move and to develop meaningful programs for the 10 to 19 year old boys living there.

I love working at a company that supports employee volunteer efforts. Through our Dollars for Doers grants, Symantec financially supports the organizations employees volunteer with. Employees then get to see firsthand how these donations are being applied, which motivates our employees to volunteer more. Symantec also encourages employees all over the world to come together and take part in our annual Global Service Week, a full week dedicated to service.

I’m going to continue to volunteer with the causes I care about and I encourage you all to get involved and give volunteering a try this year.

About the Author

Xiaowei Chan

Symantec Corporate Counsel, based in Singapore

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