We’re all flat out giving our kids the best education we can, focusing on choosing the best schools with the right philosophy and raising the smart, well-rounded citizens of tomorrow. However, we tend to overlook the importance of instilling the value of giving your time to help those less fortunate: and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with volunteering in Singapore. Real understanding and empathy for others only truly comes through first-hand experience. Meeting, connecting to and touching the lives of others is a million times more powerful than learning about poverty in a sterile class room, or making a cash donation. Want your kids to get involved and give a little back? We’ve done some digging and have come up with a handy list of Singaporean philanthropic organisations in need of a helping hand.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has a stellar reputation when it comes to making a tangible difference to to lives of those in need. Here’s a snapshot of current programs that would suit secondary school students.
- Befriending Your offspring will be welcomed with open arms and hearts at the Peacehaven Nursing Home, Bedok Multi-Service Centre. They’ll learn a thing or two about Singapore heritage from the wise residents and help run fun activities.
- Donations-in-kind (DIK) processing Youth will have a chance to exercise their eye for vintage while sorting through the second-hand thrift store donations. By also pricing the goods, cleaning and and setting up the stalls, they’ll earn a sense of pride in seeing a project through to fruition.
- Academic mentoring At the William Booth Corps Students’ Care Centre, Kallang Bahru Outpost, and Gracehaven centre, volunteers aged 17 and up will have the chance to help younger kids with school work. It’s also an exercise in commitment, with volunteers pledging to attend at least one session a week for three months.
- Student projects The Salvation Army recognises that it can be hard to juggle school and long-term volunteering. Students are encouraged to plan their own activity for the elderly or childcare kids. Check out the Salvation Army’s volunteering opportunites on its website for some more inspiration.
National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation has been bringing hope into the lives of those with renal failure for almost 50 years. The NKF welcomes all volunteers, and caters to families with the ‘Love Life Love Your Kidney’ event and Children’s Art competition. Get in touch through its volunteering link and join their mission to educate and prevent kidney disease, and to care for those afflicted.
Soup Kitchen Project
For a hands-on experience, join the charitable folks at the Soup Kitchen Project. Every Monday from 6-8pm, the team feeds 220 hungry souls in the Jalan Besar – Lavender Street area. All you need is time and compassion. And while you’re at it, why not have a clean out at home and donate household items gathering dust. Drop the volunteer co-ordinator, SY a line on 98423287 to sign up.
Make a Wish Foundation
Make A Wish Foundation is a brilliant organisation brightening the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Your child can lead a school fundraising activity – like a car wash, walk-a-thon or bake sale. The sky is the limit, and all ideas are welcome. Contact this worthy foundation on 6334 9474 or email email@example.com, and help make wishes come true.
Touch Community Services
Another awesome opportunity for your kids to connect with the elderly in need and disadvantaged youth is through Touch Community Services. One of Touch’s core drivers is to challenge young volunteers to test their limits, unleash energies and realise their full potential to impact society for the better. Touch also provide a meals on wheels service, so why not volunteer as a driver and spend some quality time with your child delivering vital food to the frail and elderly.
ACRES (Animal Concerns Research & Education Society)
ACRES is the perfect fit for the budding animal protectionist. There’s a minimum age requirement of 14 (as some tasks involve cutting and carrying heavy equipment). There’s plenty of exciting animal encounters awaiting the brave, and there’s no time like the present!
Foodbank Juniors Club
The Foodbank fights hunger, reduces food wastage and takes donations of unwanted food for voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), charities and soup kitchens. They’ve just launched the Food Bank Juniors Club, aimed at five to 12-year-old volunteers, where kids can help out at the warehouse and be educated about hunger and food wastage issues in Singapore. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or p. 90232588.
Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore
The Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore (RDA) has been giving thousands of disabled children and adults the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of horse-riding therapy for over 30 years. No previous horse experience is required, and volunteers will start out as side walkers, guiding smiling beneficiaries around the track as they enjoy a welcome break from wheelchairs. For kids aged 16 and above. Check out this video on the great work of RDA Singapore.
If you have a strapping lad aged eight to 12 keen for some boy scout training and community involvement, The Boys’ Brigade is for them! BB CARES (Community Activities Rallying Everyone to Serve) is a day of fun and meaningful community activities. Some popular activities include teaching senior citizens to use Facebook, and spreading awareness of dengue fever. They also run international programmes like the Boys’ Brigade Learning Centre (BBLC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and the Christmas Share a Gift initiative.
Green Volunteers Network
Get your little environmentalist to be a green ambassador with the Green Volunteers Network. They can get involved with grass roots projects such as reforestation through family tree-planting sessions, and clean-up activities at mangrove swamps. There’s also plenty of need for helpers to raise funds to support ongoing costs. p. 6337 6062 or e. email@example.com.
Giving.sg aims to be a one-stop-shop for volunteers in Singapore. The opportunities are many and varied, including volunteering with the disabled, elderly, environment and the arts. All ages are welcome, with some parental supervision and consent is required for the youngest philanthropists.
Trash Hero Clean-Ups
Gloves and garbage collection bags will provided for the regular Trash Hero beach clean-up sessions where kids (and adults) can come along and do their bit for the environment by keeping Singapore’s shorelines trash-free. There’s plenty of educational value to the missions too: guides will impart wise words about the impact that waste and rubbish has on the global environment, and how we can all play our part to help.
Here’s one for teens and older – if you’ve attended events such as the Singapore Writers Fest and Car Free Sundays, you may have wondered who keeps these events running so smoothly. Well, it’s built on the backbone of volunteers. Sign up to volunteer for sports events in Singapore such as National Day Parade or support the arts at events like Weekends at The Artground. They register you on different systems so make sure you sign up to the right website. Not only will you be able to help to make a difference, if you’re lucky you’ll be able to get up close and personal with the events while on duty. Front row seats, here we come!
That’s not all folks! To find more volunteering opportunities in Singapore and beyond, take a look at Expatgiving, an online portal connecting non-profit organisations with interested parties. You’ll be tempted to roll up your sleeves and join in the fun!
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