If charity should begin at home, surely dads can play a part in planting the spirit of volunteerism among their kids. For families, there are a surprising number of ways to get out there and volunteer with your children in tow!
It may be tough at first, and a little kick-in-the-butt motivation may be needed, but when all is said and done, you can share that sense of fulfillment from spending time together in a meaningful way, as you make a difference to someone in your community.
Families with Preschoolers
The Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) aims to encourage Singaporeans to be kind and considerate. One recent event that SKM held was “Stand Up for Singapore” where volunteers put on their bright “Stand Up for Singapore” shirts, and spread out across the country to meet as many commuters on public transport as they could.
To each commuter whom they met, they explained why Singaporeans should offer their seats to the vulnerable ones in our society.
It was a simple yet impactful act that any Dad and his family could easily do together.
The SKM holds similar events regularly. Subscribe to their newsletter, and be the first to find out about the next volunteer opportunity.
Every year, the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF) organises Hair for Hope. Volunteers offer their heads to be shaven bald! The purpose of these events is to create awareness of the impact of childhood cancer, raise funds for CCF, and show solidarity in a very visible way, with children who suffer from the dreaded illness.
Get your family to shave together at Hair for Hope, and move your family friends to donate towards this cause. You’ll get a sense of achievement when the donations start pouring in, and you also get to try out the “Kojak” look for yourself!
The National Library Board welcomes you to become a “Friend of the Library”. As a qualified Friend, you’ll get to select which volunteering opportunity fits your skills and schedule. Help organize and run large-scale events such as Asian Children’s Festival, or help in day-to-day activities such as storytelling. It’s up to you!
The volunteering activity that you sign up for can be ad hoc, school holidays only, weekly, monthly or yearly. When the activity is suitable, you’re more than welcome to get your children to help you help out!
Families with Pre-teens
FOM assists the National Heritage Board (NHB) in running its programmes by equipping members to serve. You can be trained as a guide, usher, host, greeter, workshop facilitator, event co-chair and more, at any of the museums in Singapore.
You’ll get to know our Asian culture, history and arts together. On top of that, as a Friend, you’ll get to participate in special events such as film showings and city exploration tours.
These outings will surely delight your family members!
In Singapore, UNIFEM supports programmes that provide women and children in developing countries with access to education, access to healthcare, economic independence and a life free from violence and abuse. These include:
• Economic Empowerment: enable women to develop business and entrepreneurial skills to access local, national and global markets.
• Governance and Leadership: give women a voice and visibility by encouraging their leadership in decision-making processes that shape their lives.
• Conflict Area: provide services for women who are violated during war and armed conflict. These projects also promote the role of women in peace-building.
• UN Women Trust Fund: helps support actions to eliminate violence against women, including projects to address issues like HIV/AIDS, female infanticide, human trafficking, forced prostitution, domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape.
One event that is coming up in 2013 is the White Ribbon Campaign, which aims to highlight the issue of violence towards women. Join in and help out, and you will communicate the message to your children that any form of violence against them or their mother will not be tolerated.
Get your children to come alongside and you will get a strong family standing together for a selfless cause.
The SPCA needs families to provide foster care for their very young animals. These little ones are vulnerable and have slim chances of surviving in their public kennel.
Help to foster the animal until it is slightly older, and you will help prevent it from being euthanized, while giving your family the opportunity to work together to see to the needs of an innocent life.
If your children are 8 and above and aren’t afraid of ick, you may want to take them along for this work where they’ll get to know a pre-historic animal that is as old as dinosaurs. This project will give also let them experience a real immersion in mud!
Before you begin, you will be trained in the proper handling of Horseshoe Crabs, in measuring, identifying, marking, recording, releasing them back into the mangroves, and in Horseshoe Crab recapture techniques.
You’ll also assist with data analysis to help determine population size and density, which are all part of the long-term rescue work.
Families with Teens
The Home Nursing Foundation (HNF) provides nursing services to people in their own homes where about 90% of their patients are aged 60 and above, with some 75% coming from the lowest income groups.
Volunteers are needed to help their patients accomplish in-house cleaning, and in fulfilling their needs for basic items such as mattress, television, microwave oven, adult diapers, urinary catheters and wound dressing.
You can also get your family to pack a hamper of daily necessities such as food, toiletries, and household cleaning and disinfectant products to give to these patients in need.
Other than that, you can also support HNF by volunteering your help in areas such as their outdoor activities, administrative and logistics support, and in raising funds.
You’ll help the less privileged in Singapore live a respectable life in their grander years.
At last count, there were 61 nursing homes throughout the country, and most, if not all, welcome volunteers. Use the link above to find the one that is nearest to you, and commit to serving there regularly.
As a family, you can provide simple services such as giving friendship to the residents, teaching simple lessons, organising outings, and providing entertainment such as music, magic tricks and dance.
It will not be a glamorous job, but it will teach your children to stick to their commitments no matter what, and that even when a job is challenging, it can be immensely satisfying when the work is done and you witness the joy in the elderly to whom you have reached out.
The Halogen Foundation aims to train up our youths to lead themselves and others well.
Underlying all the services that it provides is the firm belief that everyone can be a leader, and that integrity is the hallmark of great character, which is in turn the essence of great leadership.
Halogen welcomes volunteers of all ages and professions. Its list of volunteering opportunities is exhaustive which means that probably everyone in your family will be able to find a suitable role.
As you volunteer here, you and your children will no doubt pick up leadership skills as you go along, growing in each one of your family members a big heart with great character!
May your family grow closer as you volunteer together!
About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.
First published on 04-12-2012.
Categories: Ages and Stages