Volunteering doesn’t only teach kids positive values. “Volunteering is the perfect way for children to be welcomed as productive, active members of a community,” writes Gabina Torres in her paper, “The Future of Volunteering: Children Under the Age of 14 as Volunteers”. In it, she explores the benefits of exposing children to volunteer opportunities such as the opportunity to learn life skills and positive values. Gabina also suggests that children under the age of 14 are “an underutilised resource” and “a previously untapped source of ideas and inspiration”.
According to Gabina, children who volunteer and learn to serve others are less likely to become involved in at-risk behaviours later on.
A study conducted by the Search Institute, an organisation focused on discovering what kids need to succeed, examined the lives of 47,000 children in public schools from Years 5 to 12 across the United States. The results of this study indicated that children who volunteered for just one hour or more a week were less likely to be involved in at-risk behaviours than those who were not active in volunteering.
The thing is, volunteering with the family can be just as beneficial for the parents as well as the kids. Being loyal to the people we love doesn’t just mean helping our family and friends. There are many other needy people around us who could use a little bit of love too!
Especially in difficult times like these, there are many little acts of service that we can do for others. These simple activities not only provide some well-deserved family bonding time, they also can help to foster a compassionate heart for our young ones.
Throughout Singapore, there are many opportunities for your family to volunteer. Here are a few options:
Meals-On-Wheels with Touch Community Services
Touch Community Services has many regular and ad-hoc volunteer opportunities. Of these, Touch’s Meals-On-Wheels programme is a great opportunity to spend a morning or afternoon delivering food packets to the needy elderly. Kids are welcome to tag along, so if you have a car and a willing heart, give Meals-On-Wheels a whirl!
FoodBank Juniors Club
Food Bank Singapore has a Juniors Club for Junior Foodbankers aged 5 to 12. There are a variety of ad-hoc volunteering opportunities that are held every quarter during the school holidays, where children can help in sorting and packing food donation bundles, with their parents’ supervision. Come fill the hearts (and stomachs) of others at Food Bank Singapore!
Red Cross Youth Membership
The Singapore Red Cross Society is more than just a school CCA, but a humanitarian organisation that aims to meet people’s needs, especially in times of suffering. Volunteers between ages 9 and 35 can sign up for complimentary Youth Membership and assist with events like Flag Day, World Blood Donor Day, International Bazaar, and more!
Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen
Willing Hearts is a volunteer-run soup kitchen that sends about 5000 packed meals to 40 locations all over Singapore. It is a family-friendly organization with jobs for everyone depending on skill level. Volunteering is ad-hoc and whenever you’re comfortable, just submit a registration early!
Volunteering isn’t the only way to be loyal to the people around you! Let us continue to give where we are able: helping our neighbours, donating to charities, and most important of all, living our lives with a heart of service, ever willing to help others in need.
This article is adapted with permission, from a version that was first published on Mums At The Table.