Tuesday 9 July 2013

Take the initiative in volunteering

VOLUNTEERING need not just be doing a pro bono project involving one's skills or spending time with an elderly person once a week ("Ways to get more young people to be volunteers" by Mr Tiang Zi Xuan; last Thursday).

As a matter of fact, it is not just about finding ways of getting more young (or old) people to be volunteers; it is simply about getting all of us to believe in the spirit of volunteering.

Volunteering can take the form of a ground-up initiative that could impact the community. Examples of this include SG Haze Rescue, Chope Food for the Needy or even Singaporean of the Day.

It is all about an idea that fills a need in the community. Mix it with passionate people who care and are willing to put in the time, and an initiative is born.

It is that simple, and more people should step up to the plate and get more involved with their communities.

Singapore has over five million creative minds and growing. It is ripe and ready for ground-up initiatives. So why aren't more people jumping in and doing something?

We should not be afraid of test-driving an idea and of others questioning our motives or saying that we are wasting our time.

Who knows? A little idea could end up being a big idea that could be taken to another level.

We should not always depend on the Government to solve the needs of the community and lament that it is not doing enough to help.

We live in the community and we know our community. We should be asking ourselves: Are we doing something for our communities, and if we are, are we doing enough?

We all yearn for a more gracious and caring society. But to achieve this, we need to take ownership, do our part as citizens of our communities and lend our voice to help those in need.

To understand more about the needs of Singapore and read up on some ground-up initiatives, check out the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre's e-magazine, SALT Online at www.salt.org.sg

Eleanor Yap (Ms)
Managing Editor
SALT Online, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre
ST Forum, 8 Jul 2013

Ways to get more young people to be volunteers

THE spirit of philanthropy is growing in Singapore, and more people are volunteering their services.

However, more young people can make the effort to volunteer their time and talents to help others.

One way they can do so would be through ad hoc volunteering.

As young people have busy schedules, homework to do and various other commitments, they can opt for more flexible and ad hoc volunteering opportunities, to be able to plan their schedules more easily.

This would allow them to balance their time between schoolwork and volunteer work properly, as the timings for volunteer work are more flexible.

Another way young people can contribute would be through lifestyle volunteering.

Young people nowadays have a wider range of interests, from sports to leisure activities.

They can do volunteer work that relates to these interests. This can be done during their free time or holidays.

A third way would be through microvolunteering.

In recent years, microvolunteering has been increasing in popularity, as it can be done any time and anywhere.

Microvolunteering combines small little actions, such as projects done online, by many people, to create a big impact.

It can be done at home, in school, or even while on holiday.

Organisations like Help From Home support microvolunteering.

Volunteers need only go to the website and follow the instructions to volunteer.

As a youth volunteer, I strongly encourage other young people to be volunteers too.

Volunteering need not necessarily be boring.

It can involve working with animals or the environment, or simply doing things you are interested in.

Volunteers get to meet different people, do different things, and learn new skills or apply what they have learnt.

A single act of volunteering goes a long way towards changing other people's lives positively.

Tiang Zi Xuan
ST Forum, 4 Jul 2013

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