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A heart and mind for people

The opportunity to make a difference to peoples’ lives was what drew Ms Valencia Wong, 27, to the People’s Association (PA) Scholarship.

“I found that PA’s mission of building and bridging communitiesbfor a cohesive society would provide opportunities for me to build a future career towards serving others,” she says. When Ms Wong was awarded the scholarship in 2013, she chose to study Accountancy at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

She credits PA for internship opportunities that exposed her to community work, and for fi nancial support during her stay in the College of Alice and Peter Tan located in NUS. Staying in the residential college, which has a focus on community engagement and active citizenry, helped her to deepen her conviction that it is crucial to build a community with strong bonds and develop a stronger desire to serve others.

After graduating in 2017, Ms Wong began working with the grassroots at Taman Jurong Constituency Office, where she was eager to put what she has learnt to benefit the Singapore community. Some of her responsibilities then included managing forms for grants and bursaries, and coordinating deliveries of food rations.

Serving the community
Last March, she moved to work at PA’s headquarters as Head of Strategic Planning. Her current work involves making plans to address community concerns at a broader national level.

“Thus, there is a continual need to faithfully consider better ways of doing things, and to always remember the residents we are serving in the work that we do,” she explains.

Through her work, Ms Wonghas had many opportunities to create new concepts and developments, vis-à-vis the changing social fabric. One aspect of her work involves working towards ensuring that communities stay cohesive and trusting of one another. “We hope to encourage people to step forward and make the change they want to see in their neighbourhood, with one another,” she adds.

Ms Wong feels there is a pressing need to nurture community resilience and bridge divides, especially against the current global backdrop of increasing societal polarisation. This is why she believes in contributing towards nation building through her meaningful work.

Because of those convictions, she says: “I strive to do every piece of work assigned to me with excellence, knowing that the outcome matters to our community.”

“For me, this is not just a regular ‘9am-to-6pm’ job. Every day presents an opportunity for me to use my skills, time and heart to contribute towards building close, interconnected communities that will make Singapore a better home for all.”