Volunteers find joy in their work

SOCIAL workers are no longer the only ones to take part in social services nowadays. Many students are joining as volunteers, hoping to enhance their interpersonal relationships, presentation skills and analytical power.

A group of energetic young volunteers on the Homework Guidance Hotline organised by the Hongkong YWCA find their work very useful.

''Helping primary school students solve their difficulties is indeed a meaningful task,'' Cheng Hoi-sing, a Form 4 science student at Wa Ying College, said.

He said the service enabled him to help himself as it upgraded his personal training. ''I realised that my communication skills were much stronger after working on the hotline. Now I can handle even emergency cases on my own.'' Another volunteer, Christine Chu of Good Hope School, told Young Post that she has gained much more experience after working on the hotline. ''I got a chance to talk with people from different classes.'' ''I also find the work challenging as I don't know what kind of questions I would be asked and what kind of children I would encounter,'' Christine added.

Katie Chan of Maryknoll Convent School said the work enhanced her presentation skills. ''It's difficult for me to explain even the simplest things, but as I picked up more calls, I got better at it.'' In addition to helping callers settle their academic problems, the volunteers also have to identify problem children who need further help and counselling and refer them to professional social workers.

The volunteers have one thing in common - an urge to help the needy.

''I don't think working on the hotline will affect my studies. I only put in one or two hours a week. When I have exams, I will stop working for a while,'' Sophia Yau, a fourth-former from Maryknoll Convent School, said.

Meanwhile, her schoolmate Maria Chu considers the work as one of her leisure activities, like watching TV and listening to pop music.

''Watching TV or listening to music can only benefit me. But I want others to benefit as well,'' Maria said.

Unlike some young people nowadays, these volunteers have a positive attitude towards life.

Anita Wong, also from Maryknoll Convent School, said since her philosophy was to be happy all the time, she would always do her best.

Mr William Lee Man-fai, youth worker at the YWCA centre, is responsible for monitoring the hotline service.

According to Mr Lee, the most valuable thing these volunteers would learn is the spirit of team work, which has always been emphasised in social services.