Mr Muhammad Ilyas Bin Zainal Akmar’s volunteering journey with Singapore Children’s Society started out quite early on. Back In 2017, he assisted with the football programme at Roundbox, one of our four youth drop-in centres.

Inspired by that experience, IIyas, who works as an Executive in the Facilities Management industry, asked how else he could help.

He was matched to the Appropriate Adult Scheme for Young Suspects (AAYS), supporting young persons who are required to attend investigation interviews conducted by law enforcement agencies. He looks out for signs of distress and provides emotional support when necessary.

He quickly learned that this role was not without its challenges. One of the first few interviews he attended lasted almost an entire day. “It all ended well, but at some point, I felt I was out of my depth. Still, I kept telling myself that I could do it.”

Ilyas, who received the Silver Service award this year for his contributions to the Children’s Society, is not just an AAYS volunteer. He also finds time to be a volunteer mentor to ITE students and he was also a volunteer football coach with the Special Olympics back in 2018. Ilyas is someone who is committed to giving back to the community.

“I have a strong desire to be involved with youth. I sincerely believe we should always inspire our youth to be the best version of themselves, and also help shape them into productive members of society,” he says.

Thank you, Ilyas: Receiving his Silver Service Award from President Halimah Yacob this year 

For Ilyas, the biggest volunteering lesson has been patience.

“In an environment in which you are expected to be impartial, you have to be patient. There are moments when your moral compass pushes you in certain directions, but you need to take a deep breath and remind yourself to remain neutral,” he says. 

To aspiring volunteers, IIyas has this advice: “Just do it. There is no greater pleasure in the world than giving your time to a cause you really believe in.”

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