Learnathon 2013 – The Final Challenge (Part 1).

by Patrick Liew on December 6, 2013

I read with with both happiness and sadness the report, ‘Singaporeans becoming more generous’ (The Straits Times, December 4, 2013, Page A2).

I’m happy because we have improved our ranking in the World Giving Index 2013. We have gone from being in the 114th position in 2012 to 64th position.

Still, I’m sad.

Singapore prides itself for so many achievements on the global stage.

Yet, we are lagging in what I believe is one of the most important values – giving back for a good cause.

I feel that Singaporeans do have a good heart.

It was not too long ago that we were in the economic backwater. We understand what it means to be poor and in need.

We want to do well and do good.

However, for many people, we need a jolt. We need a slight push if you will to help us get started.

Once we have overcome the inertia, in true Singapore spirit, we will soar.

That’s why I initiated the Learnathon series of projects.

Please allow me to share with you what I mentioned to Professor Adlai Wertman, Learnathon 2013’s Special Adviser and my mentor in social entrepreneurship.

I aim ‘to inspire Learnathon’s volunteers to be involved in supporting a worthwhile mission on an ongoing basis.’

I shared with him that Learnathon 2013 hopes to make the following impact on the volunteers and I quote:

‘1. Progressive involvement.

Volunteers are involved for a short period of time and are assigned tasks that are meaningful and manageable.

2. Purposeful Experience.

Learnathon 2013 is primed by experienced leaders. They strive to meet the needs, expectations, and aspirations of the volunteers.

They are focused on ensuring that the project is not only a meaningful experience but also an enriching and  a fun-filled one.

3. Positive Relationships.

Volunteers get to build positive relationships and learn from likeminded people who seek to do well and do good in life.

4. Performance-based System.

Systems and templates have been created to enhance operational structure, system and process.

Volunteers can leverage on them to
fulfill mission-critical tasks effectively and efficiently.

Through Learnathon 2013, volunteers will realize that social contribution can be a positive learning and fulfilling experience.

They can decide to join a non-governmental organisation  to provide more and better voluntary services after the Learnathon project.’

One of my greatest concerns is that after Learnathon 2013, volunteers may return to their previous lifestyle and may not get involved in any other social cause.

To me, if that happens, I have failed the worst failure in running Learnathon 2013.

What are your thoughts about what I call the Final Challenge?


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