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Friday, 25th March 2011

Observatory volunteers

This blog is written by staff who belong to the Observatory's volunteer group. Just look at the pictures, and you will understand why I am so happy to share this with you.

B.Y. Lee

As early as 1998, the Social Welfare Department started a territory-wide volunteer movement. The purpose is to encourage people from different walks of life to take part in volunteer work, so as to build a society of love and care. The Observatory took up the challenge and a volunteer group was formed in November 2000 and all staff were invited to join.

There were only a few members in the beginning. But they have passion and conviction in helping the underprivileged. It was through words of mouth and persuasion that the group started to grow. Their first act was in August 2001, which they pulled off with cake selling at a stall in the Choi Hung subway station, raising some funds for the elderly. This was a very encouraging start.

Figure 1     Volunteers selling cakes to support needy elderly
Figure 1      Volunteers selling cakes to support needy elderly

From then on, the group participated in more and more activities, which included charity walks, flag selling, making of dumplings and mooncakes, visits to needy people, as well as special events to raise funds for victims of the tragic 2004 tsunami in south Asia and the severe Sichuan earthquake in 2008. The volunteers have demonstrated their dedication each time.

Figure 2     The director (second from left) joined the volunteers in the 2010 Po Leung Kuk charity walk
Figure 2      The director (second from left) joined the volunteers
in the 2010 Po Leung Kuk charity walk

The latest attraction was the event on 26 February 2011, when more than 10 volunteers went to the Choi Hung Elderly Service Centre to entertain the elderly there. Here is the account:-

"As warm-up, we played a couple of golden oldies, which they liked very much. We sang and clapped hands together. This was followed by a weather session aimed at introducing the various warnings issued by the Observatory. To our surprise, not only did they know most of these warnings, they even had vivid memory of typhoon passages in the bygone era.

The show of the day was energetic Latin dances performed by 9 volunteers. They were soon joined by the elderly, who lost no time in picking up the skill. The atmosphere came to a new high, with everybody enjoying themselves. This was followed by a quiz to give away prizes, and everybody received a souvenir at the end. We brought them woolen caps hand-woven by the volunteers, alongside biscuits and other small gifts. All the while the elderly danced and sang along. We were all reluctant to leave, were it not for the fact that it was already rather late."

Figure 3     The volunteers at the Choi Hung Elderly Service Centre
Figure 1      The volunteers at the Choi Hung Elderly Service Centre

All these would not have been possible without the colleagues sacrificing their own time and the general registry staff providing the logistic support, not to mention the contributions from the director and other colleagues. Seeing the happy faces every time and everywhere the group go is enough to keep us going. The work will continue, and we hope that more can join the group --- to let more people know that the Observatory cares.

Last revision date: <17 Jan 2013>