Teach your kids to think of others through volunteering: here’s our guide to worthy local organisations and charities in Singapore.
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 smart, well-rounded citizens of tomorrow. However, many of us can easily overlook the importance of instilling the value of giving our time to help those less fortunate. We’re talking about volunteering.
Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved if you’re looking to volunteer in Singapore. After all, real understanding and empathy for others truly come through first-hand experiences. Meeting, connecting, and touching the lives of others is a million times more powerful than learning about poverty in a sterile classroom or making a cash donation.
Want your kids to get involved and give a little back? We’ve done some digging. Here’s a handy list of philanthropic organisations and charities needing a helping hand. So go on and encourage your kids to volunteer!
Where to volunteer with kids in Singapore
1. Habitat for Humanity
Put those little hands to good use by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. There are many opportunities for your kids to explore, from skilled to event-specific volunteering. They can take part in cleaning the homes of vulnerable persons, volunteer to clean up neighbourhoods on their own time, or be a fundraiser. Do note that each programme may have age limits, so be sure to check the requirements before signing the kiddos up.
2. Lion Befrienders
Singapore’s ageing population has been rising, and most of them are either living alone or put up in care homes. Lion Befrienders help these folks feel less alone by having volunteers assist them in maintaining social integration. Volunteers can look forward to handling tasks such as facilitating activities at the centres, visiting the elderly in their homes, and becoming chaperones to those who need to go for medical appointments. Children below the age of 18 have to be accompanied by a guardian.
3. The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has a stellar reputation when it comes to making a tangible difference to those in need. Here’s a snapshot of current programmes that would suit secondary school students:
Entertainment and Befriending. Learn a thing or two from wise residents as you help the charity run fun activities or performances.
Fundraising and Collection Drives. Put your organisational and fundraising skills to the test as you help out at collection drives for second-hand items.
‘Empower’ Sessions. Volunteers aged 16 and up can assist facilitators as they carry out activities for children.
Check out the Salvation Army’s full list of volunteering opportunities for more inspiration.
4. 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 supports families through multiple events and programs. Get in touch through its volunteering link and join its mission to educate and prevent kidney disease, and to care for those afflicted.
5. Soup Kitchen Project
For a hands-on experience, join the charitable folks at the Soup Kitchen Project. Every Tuesday from 5.15pm to 7.45pm, the team feeds 420 people in the Jalan Besar–Lavender Street area. All you need is time and compassion. Drop the volunteer coordinator a call at 8951 4501 to sign up.
6. Make a Wish Foundation
Make A Wish Foundation is a brilliant organisation that brightens the lives of children with critical or life-threatening medical conditions. Your child can lead a school fundraising activity – like a car wash, walk-a-thon or bake sale. The sky’s the limit, and all ideas are welcome. Contact this worthy foundation at 6334 9474 or send an email and help make wishes come true!
7. 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 their energies and realise their full potential to impact society for the better.
Touch also provides a meals-on-wheels service. This gives you a chance to volunteer as a driver and spend some quality time with your child while delivering vital food to the frail and elderly.
8. ACRES: Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (Singapore)
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 are plenty of exciting animal encounters awaiting the brave, and there’s no time like the present!
9. Therapy Dogs Singapore
It’s no secret that dogs are man’s best friend, so this non-profit voluntary welfare organisation uses pet-assisted therapy to engage with and help the underprivileged.
It’s a great opportunity for kids to tag along with parents as they volunteer to learn from this pawsome experience. If you and your kiddo love pets and want to help the community, Therapy Dogs Singapore is the place to sign up.
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. Consent is also required for young philanthropists.
11. Boys’ Brigade
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.
The Boys Brigade also runs an annual Christmas Share-a-Gift initiative to distribute grocery items and gifts to the needy. A fun way for the kids to volunteer in Singapore!
12. Willing Hearts
This volunteer-run soup kitchen sends about 5,000 packed meals to 40 locations all over Singapore. Kids can take part in prepping ingredients, cleaning dishes and utensils and eventually packing lunch boxes ready for distribution.
If your kids are much younger, they’re not forgotten either – they can paste sticker labels on the lunch boxes! There’s a way for everyone to contribute to this thoughtful initiative from Willing Hearts.
13. Trash Hero Clean-Ups
Gloves and garbage collection bags are provided for the regular Trash Hero beach clean-up sessions. 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 have on the global environment. Plus, learn 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… Volunteers!
Sign up to volunteer for sports events in Singapore such as the National Day Parade. You can also support the arts at events like Weekends at The Artground. You’ll be able to help to make a difference. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a chance to get up close and personal with the events while on duty, too.
15. Food Bank Juniors Club
Food Bank Singapore‘s goal is to fight hunger, reduce food wastage and take donations of unwanted food for voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), charities and soup kitchens. They’ve previously 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 or call them at 6831 5395.
16. Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore
The Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore (RDA) has been giving thousands of children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of horse-riding therapy for over thirty years. No previous horse experience is required.
Volunteers will start out as side walkers, guiding smiling beneficiaries around the track as they enjoy a welcome break from wheelchairs. Note: volunteers must be aged sixteen and above. It’s a great option to volunteer with kids in Singapore. Psst, check out this video on the work of RDA Singapore to find out more.
17. Singapore Red Cross
You know this organisation as a CCA in schools. But the Singapore Red Cross is more than that. It’s part of the largest nationwide humanitarian network that renders assistance to those in times of suffering.
Ages nine to 35 can automatically sign up as a Youth Member. They’ll have volunteering opportunities for various services, such as helping out at Singapore Red Cross events. Register as a volunteer or email for more information.
Do you have an avid reader at home? Then get them to share their love of reading with kids from less privileged families. How? By partaking in KidsRead, a nationwide reading programme! Kids aged fifteen and above will spend an hour each week reading books (hooray!). They also get involved in story-related activities that’ll spark imagination and creativity.
It doesn’t stop there. Postcards will be sent to the beneficiaries too. Your kid will love reading even more, enjoy interacting with others, and gain confidence. Check this page for volunteering opportunities.
19. Club Rainbow
Started in 1991, Club Rainbow is a local charity that supports and empowers children that have chronic illnesses. Young people can sign up as volunteers and help out with the organisation’s programmes and services. As volunteers, the beneficiaries will also look up to them as friends and mentors. Only sign up when you’re ready to commit! Otherwise, there are other ad-hoc activities that kids can participate in too.
Migrant workers in Singapore are often overlooked and under-appreciated. ItsRainingRaincoats is an initiative that aims to improve the lives of migrant workers. They do this by strengthening their integration into the community. Kids can take part in spreading kindness by organising events and distributing basic essentials to these folks.
Love this list of volunteering opportunities for kids in Singapore? Check out these charities for adult volunteers too!