- Benefits of Youth Volunteerism
- Volunteer Opportunities in Singapore for Your Teen
- Help Your Teenager Make a Difference
Benefits of volunteering and helping your teen make a difference.
It may be because it’s a small country that the threads of community are woven strongly in Singapore, with many locals and expats alike often engaged in civic activity. This has been more evident in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic only temporarily getting in the way of the trend. Beginning in the pre-pandemic years, an encouraging rise in civic engagement was noted among youths in Singapore, coinciding with a global rise in youth volunteerism. Notably, co-curricular activities at prominent international secondary schools in Singapore also began to expand the options for volunteer work, with many expatriate teens becoming active volunteers.
Indeed, the limitations brought about by the social distancing measures implemented during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced the number of offline options for volunteerism and civic engagement, causing a decline in physical civic activities within Singapore. That being said, the appetite for civic engagement remained strong among the youth, with many taking their volunteerism online when the country began implementing circuit-breaker measures. Today, volunteerism and civic engagement among local youths is stronger than ever.
Benefits of Youth Volunteerism
This persistence of civic engagement in Singapore even through the pandemic is great news, as volunteering offers many benefits for young people. These include:
- Better employability. Volunteer work exposes teens to various operations related to running a program or organization. Many of the skills they learn through volunteering may be seen as valid work experience by future employers and may even serve to help them do better during job onboarding.
- Reduced likelihood of engaging in destructive behavior. A 2017 article published by the Michigan Sociological Association suggests that volunteerism is strongly associated with a reduction in smoking, drug use, and other undesirable behaviors in young people.
- Better interpersonal skills. Civic engagement necessarily results in high-level social contact with other people, many of whom may have differing views and backgrounds from one’s own. Meaningful interaction between teens and other individuals within the context of a civic activity may help teens develop empathy and learn how to deal with people from dissimilar backgrounds.
- Better leadership skills. Volunteering for civic activities in childhood and adolescence is now widely understood to be linked to the development of leadership qualities later in life. This is largely because teens who volunteer will often have the opportunity to guide others, learning valuable lessons about people in the process.
- Better likelihood of growing into civic-minded adults. Teens that enjoy civic activities are likely to become more engaged in their communities as adults, becoming valued wherever they are.
- Better chance of doing well in school. Students who engage in civic activities tend to do better in school. This is likely due to them applying the practical skills they learned as volunteers to their academics.
Volunteer Opportunities in Singapore for Your Teen
If your teenager wants to help make their community a better place, chances are, their school is in touch with a nonprofit or a government organization that could offer age-appropriate civic activities for them to join.
In any case, here are some volunteer opportunities in Singapore that may be a good fit for your teen. Make sure to get in touch with these organizations ahead of time to verify if there are age-appropriate positions open for younger individuals.
Action for Singapore Dogs is an animal shelter that needs volunteers to take their dogs out on regular walks. Volunteering to walk dogs for ASD is not only a great way to make a real difference in the life of companion animals but a great way for your teen to get some exercise as well.
Voices for Animals (VFA)
Voices for Animals takes in rescue animals and abandoned pets of all species. Voices for Animals volunteers travel around the city-state to feed, rescue, and rehabilitate animals in need. VFA is dependent on volunteers and always needs help rescuing strays and caring for animals already in their care.
Mummy Yummy is a volunteer organization that distributes vegetarian meals to underprivileged families across Singapore. Volunteers can help drop off food packets or make modest financial contributions. Additionally, commitments can be regular or one-off, making Mummy Yummy a flexible volunteering option.
The illegal wildlife trade has caused serious damage to wild animal populations throughout Southeast Asia. ACRES is involved in wildlife animal rescues and rehabilitation but also seeks to address the root causes of the illegal wildlife trade through education and community outreach activities. Note that most of the available volunteer opportunities in this organization are for older teens.
Food waste is a major waste category in Singapore. Food from the Heart’s bread program tries to mitigate this issue by collecting excess baked goods all over Singapore and distributing them just in time to beneficiaries.
The RDA uses horses to facilitate therapy for differently-abled individuals. Volunteers will be introduced to the basics of equine therapy, after which they will assist horses and riders. Administrative tasks, stable work, and fundraising are also part of a volunteer’s responsibilities. Volunteer opportunities at the RDA are generally for teens aged 16 and older.
kidsREAD at the National Library Board
The Singapore National Library Board’s kidsREAD program is a unique childhood literacy initiative where volunteers read to disadvantaged children for an hour a week. It’s the perfect civic activity for busy teens and a great way for them to learn how to interact with children.
Action for AIDS has a remarkable goal of ending HIV/AIDS in Singapore by 2030. Volunteers will assist in screening operations and engage in community outreach and information campaigns. Action for AIDS’s advocacy is largely centered around ending the stigma of living with HIV/AIDS and working towards better public access to treatment and prevention tools.
Help Your Teenager Make a Difference
These aren’t the only civic opportunities available to teens in Singapore. If your child is interested in making a difference, their school administration may be able to point them to other opportunities close by.
Civic engagement isn’t just great for our communities, it also helps provide direction and meaning for younger individuals. It’s a great way for teens and even younger children to gain a fuller understanding of the things they learn inside the classroom, improving the odds that they will grow to be well-rounded adults.
Also read: Parenting Teens with love and logic