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Retirees find extra meaning in life through volunteering
16 December 2004

Taipei,Taiwan (ROC): Some people believe that retirement is the equivalent to the beginning of the end for one's life. However, Yu Ko-ting, who has engaged himself in volunteer service work since his retirement, does not believe anything of that sort.

Yu not only works as a volunteer for four different agencies, this year the 74-year-old was cited in recognition of his efforts as being the guardian to five young individuals.

Meanwhile, Lin Ni-ying, who has been involved in volunteer work for 18 years, and Chang Chin-yi, who had shown that she can make sacrifices to perform volunteer work.

These individuals were awarded the Gold Diamond Award for their volunteer work and as model volunteers this year.

Yu Ko-ting has been involved in youth-related volunteer services for 15 years. He has walked throughout Songshan district in Taipei, constantly on the look out for people who need assistance, such as the homeless and elderly people who live alone.

Every Wednesday, Yu mans the service counter at a district social welfare office. Everyone is familiar with this elderly man with the white hair who is always busy doing something. His colleagues at the welfare office said Yu is never late for work and never leaves early. In addition to being the founder of a volunteer group at the service center, he was also chosen as the model worker for the entire agency.

Since his retirement, Yu has provided services to more than just the Songshan district social welfare office. In 1990, he became a volunteer at the Taipei Zoo. In 1993, he worked with the Taipei City Lifeline Association. Given his dedication to the work, he has won the award for the being the most ardent worker – several times. In 1994, Yu also began serving as a volunteer in a ward for terminally-ill patients at the Mackay Memorial Hospital. Today, Yu is still full of optimism and passion for life, and he aims to bring the most dignity possible to the severely ill patients in the ward. In addition, he has been designated as an honorary guardian by the Taipei District Court, and presently attends to assisting five young people.

Lin Ni-ying is considered as the longest-serving award recipient of the Gold Diamond award. He has been working for the Zhongzheng district social welfare office.

For a while, Lin's work involved paying visits to elderly persons who lived alone. It came as a surprise to him one day when he checked one person only to find that the elderly person was a talented painter. Lin immediately worked to utilize the welfare center's resources to stage a painting exhibit for elderly man. All of the paintings at the exhibit were sold. He said that this resounding success of the exhibit revitalized the man's interest in life and confidence in himself.

The other awardee, Chang Chin-yu, is a volunteer at the Taipei Municipal Zhongxiao Hospital. Her selfless contribution in assisting the disabled or people from poor background have won her admiration from many.

In1999, there was a 101-year-old elderly woman in the district who needed to go to the hospital on a regular basis to get medicine. Chang found out that the woman had difficulty walking because of an earlier stroke. For the next three years, she has helped take the woman to the hospital to get her medicine.