23 top inspiring places to volunteer and give back in Singapore

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1. Alzheimer’s Disease Association

If you care for people with dementia, their caregivers and their families, sign up as a volunteer at this organisation.  Opportunities include supporting staff at one of the daycare centres, acting as a guardian to the elderly during outings or get involved in their in-house support services.

*Covid update: ADA has ceased and/or postponed all non-essential volunteer events. While ADA will accept sign-ups for new volunteers, volunteers will be placed on a waitlist for future deployment. Please refer to their advisory page for official updates regarding Covid-19.

However, virtual volunteering may be carried out for event-based/ad-hoc volunteering. Check out ADA’s Facebook page to see how some recent volunteer engagements have shifted online.

Alzheimer’s Disease Association, 20 Bendemeer Rd., #01-02 BS Bendemeer Centre, 339914; 6293 9971

2. Association Of Women For Action & Research (AWARE)

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Best known as AWARE, this gender equality advocacy group has a range of volunteer opportunities available. And, best of all, there’s the flexibility of choosing tasks that are either on-site or can be done remotely.

Options include administrative tasks, manning helplines for women in distress and being a part of the Befrienders Service, which supports women who have been victims of domestic violence or have undergone psychological trauma.

From Pro-bono consultants to interns, see the ways you can be a volunteer or email volunteering@aware.org.sg.

Association Of Women For Action & Research (AWARE), Block 5 Dover Crescent, #01-22, 130005; 6779 7137

3. Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support

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This organisation gives a helping hand to teenagers aged 21 and below with unplanned pregnancies and you can be a part of this outreach too.

Babes takes a “mother-centric” approach and will support her choices with a view to nurturing longer-term, on-going support from family, friends, volunteers and the wider community, and a normal life for her.

Be a befriender to these teens, provide pre- or post-natal care and advice, conduct programmes and workshops or even help with publicity for the organisation. They also hold Charity Sales to raise funds for needy beneficiaries on their Facebook page. Visit the website to find out more about volunteering or visit their Facebook page to learn more about how you can get involved.

Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support Limited, 26 Jalan Klinik, #01-42/52, 160026; 6664 8591

4. Beyond Social Services

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Beyond Social Services‘ main aim is to help children and youths from less privileged backgrounds break out of the poverty cycle.

Their aim That every child and youth in Singapore has the opportunity to refuse a lifestyle of delinquency and welfare dependency despite coming from a disadvantaged background. Since Covid-19 hit our shores, this organisation has been providing food, financial, internet and employment assistance as part of their pandemic response.

Check out their event calendar and sign up for any volunteering opportunities that interest you. Register online as a volunteer to participate in its events and activities.

Beyond Social Services, 26 Jalan Klinik, #01-42/52, 160026; 6375 2940

5. Bright Vision Hospital

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Bright Vision Hospital serves needy patients who require immediate and long-term medical care and volunteers are considered an important part of their journey to recovery.

Regular volunteering activities include being a befriender, helping with patients’ physical activities, patient group activities, taking patients on sponsored outings and taking part in patients’ birthday celebrations.

*Covid update: All physical volunteering activities have been put on hold till further notice. However, when the situation gets better, even the smallest help goes a long way. Alternatively, you may wish to make a donation to help the sick, elderly and needy patients.

Bright Vision Hospital, 5 Lorong Napiri, 547530; 6248 5755

6. Singapore Children’s Society

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Make a difference in the lives of children, youth and families in need with the Singapore Children’s Society, which lists specific volunteering opportunities, including duties such as giving tuition and helping out at fundraising events on its website.

*COVID Update: All physical volunteering opportunities have been put on hold till further notice. However, you may choose to support their latest virtual event, Walk For Our Children 2020, that lasts till 30 November 2020 or donate to their Virtual Flag Day 2020.

Singapore Children’s Society, 298 Tiong Bahru Rd., #09-05, Central Plaza, 168730*

*Note that their corporate office will be moving to 210 Middle Rd., #05-03, 188994 on Nov 30, 2020. Additionally, visits to their Corporate Office are via appointment only. Please call 6273 2010 between 9am and 5pm from Mondays to Fridays (excluding public holidays), or drop them an email at info@childrensociety.org.sg to make an appointment.

7. Food from the Heart

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Food from the Heart is a Singapore food charity that supported 40,300 beneficiaries with S$5.9 million worth of food on a consistent, sustainable basis in 2018. Founded from the inspiration to channel surplus food to the needy, Food from the Heart has also made the most of our unique position to reduce food waste.

You might’ve heard of them: They’ve had several notable projects this year that appeared in mainstream media, such as Project Belanja! (QR code redeems free hot meals) and a couple of Pop-Up Fresh Produce Markets (free fresh groceries).

The charity has quite a few projects in store, with everything is geared towards giving better to our beneficiaries, and helping more people out there. From running food drives and packing services to food deliveries, find out how you can make a difference in the fight against hunger and food wastage help here.

Food from the Heart, 130 Joo Seng Rd., #03-01, 368357; 6280 4483

8. Institute of Mental Health

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Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, patients at this psychiatric hospital often feel lonely as they don’t have contact with people apart from medical professionals. Volunteers help to normalise their lives, by making them feel that they are not forgotten by society.

If you choose to volunteer here, you’ll be taken through an orientation programme to prepare you for your activities. You can plan outdoor activities, take them on outings, help in rehabilitative activities or simply keep them company and lend them a listening ear.

Please note that individuals who can commit to at least 50% attendance over 6 months is preferred! The residents form very close bonds with the volunteers so if you’re unable to volunteer long-term, this volunteer opportunity may not be suitable.

*Covid update: Pre-Covid, volunteers may sign up here to volunteer monthly. (All volunteers have to go through a three-month-long orientation before they commence!) However, all physical volunteer opportunities have been halted till further notice.

Institute of Mental Health, Buangkok Green Medical Park, 10 Buangkok View, 539747; 6389 2000

9. Lions Befrienders

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If you’ve always felt comfortable with elderly folk, Lions Befrienders is where you should volunteer. A befriender conducts weekly home visits, to help relieve the loneliness and isolation felt by seniors.

Or volunteer to teach skills to seniors at the centres – baking, simple exercise or crafts are just a few examples.

And if you really have time to spare, be a CAN (Caring Assistance from Neighbours) carer, where you’ll visit vulnerable seniors at their homes (up to three times a week) and work with staff to promote the overall well-being of seniors.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about how you can contribute here.

Lions Befrienders, Block 130 Bukit Merah View, #01-358, 150130; 1800 375 8600

10. Make A Wish Foundation

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Make A Wish Foundation is the only wish-granting foundation in Singapore, it helps children who are battling life-threatening medical conditions.

Wish-granting volunteering opportunities are based on word-of-mouth recommendations but you can get involved in other ways – administrative support (during office hours) or help with transportation if you have a big car or van.

If you’re good at graphic design, you can also help with their publications and marketing collaterals. Like a bit more of a hands-on approach? Become an events volunteer! Find out more about how you can get involved here.

*Covid update: Their annual fundraising event, Santa Run for Wishes, is now virtual until 19 December 2020. Sign up for a distance-running event and track your mileage using the approved apps to take part!

Make A Wish Foundation, 1 Coleman Street,#04-18 The Adelphi, 179803; 6334 WISH(9474)

11. Movement For The Intellectually Disabled Of Singapore (MINDS)

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The Movement For The Intellectually Disabled Of Singapore (MINDS) provides services to people with intellectual disabilities and works very closely with volunteers. They aim to bring out the best in every individual with special needs by providing education, training, care, and sustainable job creation.

You can sign up as a regular or ad hoc volunteer and opportunities include teaching, training and administrative work. They also need professionals to donate their skills in areas such as photography, food and nutrition, medicine and wellness therapies.

*COVID Update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here.

Movement For The Intellectually Disabled Of Singapore (MINDS), 800 Margaret Dr., 149310; 6479 5655

12. National Library Board

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A perfect volunteering opportunity for bookworms, you’ll get to spread your love for books with children with the National Library Board.

Become a Friend of the Library and you’ll get to organise enriching programmes for the community or deliver books to those who are unable to visit libraries. Or be a kidsREAD volunteer and get involved in reading sessions for underprivileged children.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here.

National Library Board, located islandwide.

13. Singapore Red Cross Society

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Apart from blood donation drives and humanitarian relief, the Singapore Red Cross Society organises a lot of meaningful activities throughout the year and volunteers are always needed to provide support during these busy times.

You can assist in administrative or logistical duties, or at events such as blood donation drives and flag days.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here.

Singapore Red Cross Society,15 Penang Lane, 238486; 6664 0500

14. Singapore After-Care Association

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A voluntary welfare organisation that helps offenders, ex-offenders and their families to get back on their feet.

Activities under their Volunteer After-Care Programme include befriending, as a support to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society successfully. Note that you’ll have to go through an interview and training before you can get involved in their volunteer programme.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here.

Singapore After-Care Association, 81 Dunlop St., 209408; 6294 2350 / 6294 2763

15. The Salvation Army

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Having been in Singapore since 1935, The Salvation Army reaches out to the needy in our society, such as children who need care, aged residents who need nursing care and families who need basic material things.

Even though it’s a Christian organisation, it helps people regardless of race or religion. As a volunteer, you can support one of their existing programmes or initiate a project that will benefit those under their care. Opportunities include academic volunteering for children and raising funds or organising collection drives.

*Covid update: Some of their on-site volunteer activities have been suspended until Phase 3 of the post-circuit breaker period, or until further notice.

Limited remote volunteering and on-site activities are available, in the area of academic mentoring, child fostering, virtual befriending and the packing and sorting of donated items. Learn more about how you can help and apply to volunteer here.

The Salvation Army, centres located islandwide; 6555 0188

16. Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association

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Singapore Anti Narcotics Association has been fighting for the cause of preventing drug abuse since 1972 and you can join its journey to ensuring a drug-free Singapore. Volunteering opportunities include becoming para-counsellors, community outreach drives and event helpers.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here. Or visit their Facebook page for more updates.

Singapore Anti Narcotics Association, 2 Sengkang Square, Sengkang Community Hub, #05-01, 545025

17. Silver Ribbon Singapore

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The mission at Silver Ribbon Singapore is to instill a positive attitude towards mental health among the community. Sign up as a volunteer if you want to be involved as a photographer, event coordinator, speaker, graphic designer, administrative assistant or IT technician. An application form can be found online.

Silver Ribbon Singapore, Block 208 Serangoon Central, #01-238, 550208; 6386 1928

18. SPCA Singapore

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If you want to do your bit for furry friends instead, become a volunteer at SPCA Singapore. Do note that volunteers have to commit for at least four consecutive months, on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Clean the animal shelters, man the animal shelter office or simply walk the dogs – there are loads of duties to choose from here.

*Covid update: Please note that their volunteer opportunities have been temporarily suspended until further notice. However, donation drives and sponsorships are highly encouraged during these tough times. Follow their Facebook page for such postings. Visit their website for more updates on future plans.

SPCA Singapore, 50 Sungei Tengah Rd., 699012; 6287 5355

19. Touch Community Services

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Serving the needy and disadvantaged, Touch invites volunteers to see what a difference you can make to the community – and to yourself too. Sign up and you could soon be involved in their Meals-on-Wheels food delivery programme or accompanying the elderly to hospital check-ups.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here.

Touch, Block 162 Bukit Merah Central, #05-3545, 150162; 6377 0122

20. Transient Workers Count Too

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Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) promotes fair treatment for migrant workers. They envision a society that recognizes and values the important contribution they make to our households, economy and country. This is a non-profit organisation and you can make a difference in the lives of migrant workers by volunteering here.

Help with outreach by distributing flyers and surveys to foreign workers where they congregate on their days off, accompany injured and unpaid workers on fun days out or provide a friendly smile and a listening ear to injured workers and workers in salary disputes with their employers.

Or help with research, casework or public engagements to bring more awareness to the organisation.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here.

Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), 5001 Beach Rd., #09-86, Golden Mile Complex, 199588; 6247 7001

21. Willing Hearts

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Operating a soup kitchen 365 days a year, Willing Hearts prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 meals to the needy every day. Help them with the preparation of meals or with food collection or delivery duties.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here.

Willing Hearts, 11 Jalan Ubi Blok 6, #01-51 Kembangan, Chai Chee Community Hub, 409074; 6743 0725

22. Sanrakshan

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Sanrakshan is a social enterprise dedicated towards protecting the sexual safety of children and adolescents. With the goal of creating “25 million safer children globally by 2025”, its founder and team travel the world to teach children how to talk about and prevent abuse.

It welcomes collaborations with organisations and individuals, including long-term volunteering opportunities. Submit a query on its site or visit here to learn about how to get involved.

Sanrakshan, 2021 Bukit Batok St. 23, #03-206, 659526; 828 07445

23. Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME)

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Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) is dedicated to the empowerment and support of migrant workers who find themselves victims of human rights violations, abuse and exploitation.

They provide immediate crisis intervention as well as long-term support to enhance the wellbeing and future economic prospects of migrant workers. HOME also seeks to promote the diverse voices of migrant workers in Singapore through outreach projects, and public education on issues affecting them.

*Covid update: Physical volunteer opportunities are still ongoing, however with strict safety measures in place. Learn more about the ways you can help here.

Do note that the organisation pours a good amount of time and resources into planning and training their volunteers, hence, a minimum commitment of 6-months (at least twice a week) is preferred for casework and befriending volunteers.

This article was first published in Shape.