Volunteers give of their time in Disney-backed scheme
It was a happy day for Yvonne Leung Yin-fong when she volunteered to play with a group of mentally disabled children and doubled up as photographer in December last year.
'I captured lots of happy faces. When the students saw 'Santa Claus', who was played by another volunteer, a staff member of Standard Chartered Bank, they cheered with joy,' says the 15-year-old student from the New Territories Heung Yee Kuk Yuen Long District Secondary School.
Yvonne was helping in Give a Day, Get a Disney Day, a volunteering programme run by the Agency for Volunteer Service (AVS) and backed by Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
The scheme lasted from March 28 to December 31 last year. Participants spent eight hours on voluntary work in return for a free one-day ticket to Disneyland.
More than 40,000 people took part, providing more than 350,000 hours of volunteer work.
'We're more than happy to offer a platform for people to join as volunteers and benefit from the experience. Usually it is the volunteer who gains the most,' said Andrew Kam Min-ho, managing director of HK Disneyland Resort.
Yvonne would totally agree. 'I've learned a lot just playing with the students,' she said. 'I needed to be more patient and to explain the rules clearly before the game started. The experience has reminded me to be more caring and zealous in joining voluntary work.'
She has also won a video contest by capturing the happy moments and interviewing the children and other volunteers. 'The sunny smiles on the children's faces made me realise happiness is a simple thing.'
AVS chief executive Flora Chung Woon-fan said: 'Volunteering is a good, inspirational learning process to learn to live life not just for yourself but also for others.'
Yvonne's good work has paid off; she has received four free tickets. She can't wait to take her parents and sister to the theme park. 'It's our first time to Disney. I'm really looking forward to it.'
If you want to share the joy of volunteering and get a free ticket to the resort park, this year's application is open until December 1. Details can be found at https://www.giveaday.hk/page/en/index