Keeping up with the CCFs: Voices from the ground (Alex, 2/2)
Alex is a long-time volunteer with Impart. He started off as Youth Advocate (YA) under Impart Education, tutoring and journeying with youths-facing-adversity. Having experienced the joys and tribulations of YA work himself, he stepped up as a Community Care Fellow (CCF), in the pilot program in 2021. Currently, he serves as a co-lead in this year’s iteration of the CCF program.
We hear from Alex, as he reflects on his journey as a CCF in a two-part reflection. This is Part 2. Link to Part 1: https://www.impart.sg/post/keeping-up-with-the-ccfs-voices-from-the-ground
"Always looking to improve its operations and better take care of the volunteers that make its work possible, Impart revamped the Community Care Fellow (CCF) program for 2022. The most significant change was the division of the role into two largely distinct categories, with one of the CCF types focusing only on one-to-one interactions, and the other on creating a group of volunteers to support each other. The former is termed “Hotspots”, and the latter, “Huddles”.
A specific experience I had as a CCF late in 2021 impressed upon me the importance and value of a community of care in the lives of busy people. Some of the volunteers I had been reaching out to had been spending their Saturdays at a rental flat community playing floorball, engaging the kids of the area. Since I only knew one of the five volunteers outside of my CCF capacity, and also was unfamiliar with the work they were doing, I decided to go down and observe and talk to them all. While there in person, I was struck by the dedication they brought to their work. Even as university students, they were willing to give up essentially a full day every week to support a program that brought joy to the lives of others. However, it was also clear to me that it did not feel simply like an obligation to them. The community that they had built up among the volunteers and residents was vibrant and enthusiastic. It turned out that I was not particularly needed as a “Community Care Fellow” after all, at least in the capacity of providing mental health services. The friendships and community they cultivated largely served that purpose already. My presence, both physically and in monthly checkups, was still greatly appreciated, but I could see that the community itself made all the difference in the world. I was inspired by Impart’s transcendence from a volunteer program of individuals, who may be willing to do good work but still consider it a burden, to a collective where socially transformative activities could simultaneously be bonding and fun.
Realising that the level of required or desired care is different for each person, Impart now gives volunteers the option of a much more active CCF who facilitates a social “huddle” of volunteers. While my presence within the floorball community was very minimal, some CCFs are now tasked with creating and managing a similar type of social support group. Meanwhile, there are other CCFs who serve as “hotspots” and provide more passive care through one-on-one sessions. This ability to adapt and eagerness to find the most effective forms of care is, in my opinion, the most exemplary evidence of Impart’s commitment to being a people-centred organisation. And, since the people and communities that make up an organisation may be the best measurements of its success and impact, I feel incredibly excited to see the CCF program’s continued evolution."
Impart's Community Care Fellows (CCFs) are volunteers who are empowered to improve organizational health and nurture a supportive culture within Impart. They do so by providing psycho-social support for other volunteers — a partial reframing of the “volunteer manager” role.