Darien had to experience many hardships and challenges to be formed into the diamond he is today. Our next Everyday Hero hails from Halogen Foundation Singapore, and though he is only 21-years-old, his life experiences are undeniably beyond his years.
“Share, love and care”
Growing up in a low-income single parent family made him feel uncared for, and also made it necessary for him to take on jobs from a young age in order to support himself. He felt alone in his life battles, but it was also these tough battles that made him stronger and blossom into the person he is today. After some time, he realized that there are indeed people out there who support and care for him.
“It is their acts of sharing, loving and caring that made a positive difference to my life, and changed my behavior and mindset as well.”
This is why his motto has always been to “Share, love and care” so that he could pay the love that he had received forward to others who need it. When asked about what drives him to do volunteer work, he ascribes it to those that he had met during Community Involvement Projects in secondary school.
Darien: I met orphans, seniors living alone, people with terminal illness and many others. It kind of struck me and got me thinking if I ever felt unwanted, unloved and uncared for, these people from the various vulnerable groups I met probably felt worse.
“I started to see how privileged I was, and learnt to be appreciative of all the help rendered to me and the small acts of kindness by those people around me.”
Darien has come a long way, from feeling alone in his challenges to realising that most people around him face their own personal struggles as well. This personal journey has not only pushed him to be caring about those around him, but also to strive and do as much volunteer work as he can to make a difference in the world. His nurturing personality seeks to bring out the best in others around him, and he fondly remembers how he watched a fellow volunteer grow into a passionate changemaker.
“Just smile, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Darien: I asked about her passion, a cause that she feels for and why she wanted to volunteer in the first place. I would say that conversation kind of relighted her passion. After that conversation, she joined me to organize a project for the families in our area and volunteer for another project to serve the vulnerable seniors. Recently, she even spearheaded a tuition project for the low-income families. All I did was to help her uncover her “why”, the intrinsic motivation, provided the support for her to learn and grow, and thereafter she was enabled to do even more.
He describes it as a very heartening experience and one of the most memorable experiences he’s had. If you’re not inspired by Darien yet, we have to mention that he is not just a volunteer with Halogen Foundation Singapore. He is also a Capacity Building intern at Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE Ltd) and volunteering with both Trybe Singapore and YMCA Singapore.
Just how do you juggle all these commitments?
Darien: For me, I always find my own self-worth and value when I am able to be of value to those people around me. But the problem here is that I only have limited time, energy and resources and I cannot do all of it. At the end of the day, I need to learn to say no to some so that I can commit to things that matter to me most.
We definitely agree with his reply. As much as many of us may feel that we only have this one life, it’s the quality and not the quantity of things that we do that matter.
Darien has left us all smiling as he shares his compassionate outlook on life. We clearly aren’t the only ones that have been touched by his life story, with Halogen Singapore Foundation fondly recalling to us how there was a time where he saved $50 from his lunch allowance so that it could be donated. With his family situation and his age, $50 was far from a measly amount. That act of kindness was priceless. He was the National Young Leader Award Finalist in 2016, and to all of us at The Hidden Good, he will always be one of the most brilliant hearted young leaders we’ve ever met.
Find out what you like to do and what you care about. Then match your passion to a purpose. Don’t just think or feel, act upon it! Know that it is never about how much you give, but how much you put into giving.
Remember to share, love and care!
Everyday Heroes is an online series that captures stories of youths creating impact and embracing possibilities to build a more positive community in Singapore. Most importantly, they help stand as positive reminders that doing good doesn’t have to look a certain way!
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