The Different Hats We Wear ft. Kylie

Full-time Mom, Long-time Volunteer (Health Ambassador)

“At the gates of heaven, they’ll ask me, ‘What did you do with your life?’”

For years, Kylie worked in the finance and project management sectors in Australia and New Zealand. She was good at her job and it paid well, but the question above always lingered at the back of her mind. 

“I didn’t want to say, ‘I just made money.’… I needed something with more purpose and drive.”

She decided to change her career path and started working in Australia’s disability sector for a non-profit organisation supporting persons with disabilities. When she moved to Singapore with her husband, she wanted to continue helping the community here.

Kylie started volunteering at a local orphanage where she helped give haircuts to the children. After discussions with her husband, they also decided to become foster parents, and adopted their son, who is now 12 years old. Kylie discovered HealthServe in early 2021 and has been volunteering regularly as a Health Ambassador with our Outreach & Engagement (O&E) team ever since.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, I recall that the migrant brothers were quite affected by COVID, (especially) in the dormitories. I thought this was a great opportunity to be able to help.”

Kylie’s primary role as a Health Ambassador is to be a pre-screener at HealthServe’s regular engagement events for migrant workers. At these events, a team of staff and volunteers assist with the provision of health checks, health education and referral for medical follow up, as well as distribution of welfare packs. 

As a Health Ambassador, Kylie helps conduct preliminary health screenings for the workers, such as taking their blood pressure, height and weight, and calculating their body mass index (BMI). If anything seems out of the ordinary, she directs them to HealthServe’s medical personnel at the event.

During the engagements, Kylie also tries to get to know the workers on a more personal level by striking up friendly conversations with them. It’s a positive, safe space for both volunteers and migrant workers alike.

“At an event, I helped distribute some gifts and encouraged the brothers to return for our next event in two weeks,” Kylie shares. “And at our next event, a couple of brothers greeted me and said, ‘We came back!’ And it was just so wonderful. It made me feel that we really do benefit them.” 

Kylie isn’t bilingual, and she doesn’t have a medical background, but these barriers don’t stop her from engaging the migrant workers and finding ways to ease communication gaps. She uses gestures and objects to tell them what she needs to do, such as pointing to a blood pressure monitor to indicate that she needs to take their blood pressure. And even if anyone doesn’t fully understand, the others in line are always ready to help with translation.

“I’ve had no issues with communication. Even though we’re all wearing masks, you can see if someone’s smiling and engaged. It’s quite amazing,” Kylie recalls. “They’re very respectful, very gracious. I’ve had some really good chats.”

“For each brother that comes to you at an event — you’re the only face they see. So what’s important is to actually take the time to engage with each brother, treat them as a brand new individual.”

And how is Kylie able to slot volunteering into her busy schedule, on top of household chores and caring for her family? She admits that the volunteer shifts can get tiring sometimes, but it’s all worth it.

“The exhilaration that you feel when you walk out of an event after several hours of working hard — it’s just wonderful, the fact that you may have made a difference, highlighted a health need, provided some guidance and support. The exhilaration is so worth it to me that I keep coming back.”

“I’ve come here as an expat from a different country and it’s great to also be able to give back to the country that has been very good to us.” 

“Volunteering gave me so much more purpose, drive and focus. It’s impacted my life so much that I feel like there’s more scope to ‘Kylie’ now. It gave me more awareness of diversity and of different people’s challenges.”

At a lean non-profit NGO like HealthServe, volunteers form the backbone of the work we do for our migrant community in Singapore. For more information on how you can be a volunteer like Kylie, click here!

𝘉𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘞𝘦𝘦𝘝𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘳, 𝘢 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵-𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘕𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘛𝘦𝘤𝘩𝘯𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘜𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺’s 𝘞𝘦𝘦 𝘒𝘪𝘮 𝘞𝘦𝘦 𝘚𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.

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