St John, St Maarten — The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation started off the New Year treating the approximately 64 elderly clients at St. Martin’s Home as well as the 20 staffers on duty.
A total of 27 Tzu Chi volunteers of all ages participated in the traditional New Year’s Day visit to the Home on January 1.
The programme began just around 12:30pm with volunteers helping the staffers serve lunch to the seniors. Volunteers also interacted with clients and did their utmost to make them feel special.
The event was spiced up with a game promoting minor exercises, such as passing a ball, stretching of the hands and clapping, with the seniors. Winners were rewarded with prizes. “The clients were very happy and the volunteers were very excited to play with them and help them,” said Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung.
During the programme one of the young volunteers shared his experience with the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation and the things that he has learnt from being part of the Foundation.
The youngster, David, said that it was his belief that the younger generation should do their utmost to take care of the older generation. Another young volunteer, read a Tzu Chi teaching about being good to one’s parents.
A special cake was taken for clients to celebrate ushering in the New Year.
The programme wrapped up with volunteers presenting the 64 clients with New Year’s gift packages containing juice, biscuit, colouring book, coloruing pencil, soap, toothbrush, Chinese tea, red bean powder mixed and other items. A total of 20 packages were also distributed to staffers. Volunteers visited elderly clients who were restricted to their rooms to present them with their gift packages.
After the event, two of the clients said they were very grateful that Tzu Chi volunteers took time out of their New Year’s schedule to visit them.
In sharing his experience about the activity, Tzu Chi volunteer Roger Yee-Fong said it had been heartening to see so many Tzu Chi Volunteers, young and elderly, male and female, eager to participate and assist the seniors with a sense of compassion and commitment. “It was amazing how the Tzu Chi volunteers interacted with all the seniors, both individually and as a group. Expressions of joy, happiness, bonding, interaction and emotions could be seen and felt among all those that were present,” he said.
“From the ball passing event, to the active hand clapping of individuals in singing and cheering and giving attention to the stories being related, many seniors also expressed their own sentiments of happiness by actively participating individually and one even offered suggestions.”
He said the first visit for the year to the Home had been “quite stimulating and meaningful.” “Someone once said, there is understanding when you hold someone’s hand, but it is happier and more joyful when there is a community effort. I am thankful to be part of the Tzu Chi team in serving our local community,” Yee-Fong noted.
Another volunteer, Margaret Steeman, said she was grateful to have been given the opportunity to help feed the seniors, play games and interact with them and participate in the activities of the day. “We cheered up the seniors, they were all happy,” she said.
Cheung thanked volunteers for their kind gesture on New Year’s Day; thanked the St. Martin’s Home for accommodating the volunteers and thanked the seniors for being such great recipients.
She said Tzu Chi will continue its good work in the community.
Source: 721 news Tzu Chi treats St. Martin’s Home clients, staff for New Year