When Mount Pinatubo erupted on the Luzon Island of the Philippines in 1991, hundreds of people lost their lives while thousands were displaced. It was the second largest eruption recorded in recent history. Marina Bay Sands’ Operational Evaluation and Analysis Manager, Charlene Ong, who was 10 years old at the time, followed her parents as they set up a donation drive to collect necessities for the victims in Manila and also volunteered at the medical and dental missions to help victims in remote villages in the Philippines. Through this experience, Ong realized she could positively impact the lives of others in her community and make a difference to those in need. With her parents as a source of inspiration, she embarked on her own volunteerism journey and has not looked back since.
“Volunteerism has always been part of my family,” Ong said. “Growing up, I watched my mum prepare groceries and pack lunches for the staff and patients at the Mental Health Institute in Manila. I didn’t put much thought into it back then until I witnessed how these small gestures made someone else’s day, especially after they suffered something so devastating like the Mount Pinatubo eruption.”
Despite her demanding work schedule, she makes it a point to set aside time to give back to the community through Sands for Singapore, Marina Bay Sands’ corporate social responsibility program. Through Sands Cares, Las Vegas Sands’ corporate giving program, Team Members are given the opportunity to volunteer in the communities in which the company operates, making the communities better and supporting local organizations all over the world that promote a strong quality of life.
“Volunteerism makes me feel more appreciative and thankful for everything I have and at the same time, I learn more about myself during the process,” she said. “Without Sands for Singapore, I doubt I would have the opportunity or time to volunteer so regularly. Marina Bay Sands makes it easy for Team Members to give back through its comprehensive volunteerism activities. There is something to look forward to every quarter. Through volunteering, you meet different kinds of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Volunteering does not look at one’s race or gender. Over time, we gain new friends and it’s heartwarming to see how these activities help develop lasting relationships and bonds between both volunteers and beneficiaries.”