Reimagining Life’s Possibilities Through Volunteering | Carissa Lau, Swire Trust Go-Givers of 2022
Together with Time Auction, the Swire Trust Go-Givers Program encourages skilled volunteers for Swire Trust NGO partners from 2020 to 2022. 10 outstanding volunteers will be selected annually as the “Swire Trust Go-Givers of the Year” with special rewards & recognition. Meet our 10 Go-Givers of 2022!
Not many people are brave enough to change career paths mid-way, but Carissa Lau is one of them. Originally working in business administration, Carissa is currently a web designer at a telecommunications company. This big switch was sparked during the severe waves of the COVID-19 pandemic when people had to work from home. With much more time on hand, Carissa wanted to use her time wisely by upgrading herself and she decided to self-learn the complex UI/UX web design, which opened a new door of volunteering for her.
Through Time Auction’s volunteer matching platform, Carissa found an opportunity to be a website designer for CantoGather. This NGO is focused on empowering non-Chinese speakers in Hong Kong, most of whom are underprivileged ethnic minorities. Working with various NGOs and school partners, CantoGather seeks to provide effective language programs and inclusive multicultural education, which foster mutual understanding and positive relations in the community.
As their website designer, Carissa’s primary duties included redesigning the layout, adding new pages, and updating graphics and pictures. The project was initially planned to last only a little over a month but ended up being a lengthy four-month project, for which Carissa spent over a hundred hours. This was mostly due to the positive collaboration between Carissa and CantoGather. With distinctive input from the skillful designer, the NGO’s strategic goals could be materialized on the screen.
The CEO of CantoGather, Florence Lau, applauded that “Carissa devoted herself fully to our project and performed above and beyond our expectations. As our project was on web design, she first created a draft for us to discuss, and later implemented our advice as she created our Wix website. She is extremely responsible and always strived for excellence in her work. We are greatly appreciative of her efforts!”
Rethinking pro-bono work
While CantoGather appreciates its dedicated volunteer, gratitude is also expressed reciprocally. As Carissa only had a few months of self-learned web designing experience when the project began, she is particularly thankful that CantoGather gave her their vote of confidence. Being presented with such a valuable opportunity, Carissa did her best to turn rough ideas into sophisticated web pages.
Beginning with a simple desire to practice and polish her new skills, Carissa was very surprised that this volunteer opportunity ultimately offered her much more. For starters, her joyful collaboration with Florence developed into an inspiring relationship between two young professionals. Moreover, working with an NGO in a different sector broadened her horizons, especially since she hadn’t had much exposure to the South-Asian community in Hong Kong before. And, of course, there is also the Swire Trust Go-Givers of the Year award, which Carissa described as a “bonus” on top of all the magnificence of volunteering.
Most importantly, Carissa discovered her unique value, which she had not paid much attention to previously. As a website designer, Carissa often faced computer screens instead of end users. However, through this volunteer experience, she realized that people could only learn more about these emerging NGOs by building appealing websites. Subsequently, NGOs can promote their causes and work with an unlimited number of internet users. Carissa advised prospective volunteers:
“Although many Hong Kong people think there are not many benefits to volunteering, your skills or ideas can actually bring great impact, so don’t underestimate yourself.”
Thank you so much to Carissa for contributing 112 volunteer hours & beyond at CantoGather!
To see details of the Swire Trust Go-Givers Program and support their NGO partners, head over to Time Auction website.
Written by Margaret Ng, Volunteer Copywriter