The truth is, most teens aren’t equipped to change the world yet. Children and youths lack time; having to juggle multiple classes, exams, revision, and any other activities that come with an education. Spare time is rare.
Whilst some NGOs offer excellent opportunities to help the communities, sustainable change comes with long-term commitments and engagement.
BUT, volunteering doesn’t have to be about changing the world. At its core, volunteering is simply exchanging time for the opportunity to serve an organisation.
I volunteered at an elderly care home when I was 15. For two weeks I shadowed grannies everyday. Help walk grannies up and down the corridor for exercise. Spoon-feed them (slowly) at lunch. Move them from room to room by wheelchair. Join in their group activities, be it singing or crafts-making. It was short-term and brief. I didn’t believe my actions contributed much if at all to society. And so, I dismissed it as a one-off experience.
But less than a decade later, I found myself doing the same things with family members at hospitals and care homes. Small things like recalling the correct way to support the elderly when walking all came back to me. More importantly, I realized how assisting them was a demonstration of love. Only then did I appreciate how my time at the elderly care home gave me experience and understanding through serving others.
What does Hong Kong offer for student volunteers?
Whether you plan to volunteer for several hours for a month, or regularly for a year, Hong Kong offers opportunities for all types of student volunteers.
Listed here are a few opportunities by age for Summer 2018 in Hong Kong:
- For ages 8–12
Younger volunteers can apply to be a volunteer storyteller with Kids4kidscharity over the summer. The time commitment is about one hour/week, for one month.
Or, children can apply to write and publish stories for the charity’s publication.
- For ages 12–18
Able to work with or around animals? SPCA accepts volunteer applications for those over 16 years old. You can assist with weekly kennel-cleaning, or temporarily fostering animals.
And for students with bilingual (English and Chinese) skills, Unicef Hong Kong runs a Youth Envoy Program for students aged 12–18, that lasts for around 10 months. Successful applicants will have to be based in Hong Kong for at least the academic school year of 2018–19. This program is for those who have had some volunteering experience, and are keen to go further by learning about and supporting Hong Kong’s community.
- For ages 18+
Hong Kong Dog Rescue seeks dog-loving volunteers aged 18 or above in their local Dog Walking Program. Or, you can apply to support the organisation with office-based work instead, e.g. graphic design/administration/fundraising.
So, what organisation shall I volunteer with?
As a rule of thumb, consider:
a) What are my interests and skills?
b) Are there any local charities involved in these areas?
c) Are they looking for volunteers?
d) What other organisations offer opportunities to volunteer?
The truth is, most teens aren’t equipped to change the world yet — but it shouldn’t stop one from moving in that direction.
If you would like to receive advice on structuring timetables and volunteering in Hong Kong or overseas during your summer holidays or term time, please contact Ampla Education at [email protected] for more details.
Janet enjoys teaching humanities subjects as well as Business Studies, Economics, English and Maths. Educated in both Hong Kong and England, she has helped students of all ages with interview and entrance exam preparation, university admissions in addition to IGCSE, A-Level and IB exams. Janet went to Wycombe Abbey before studying Land Economy at the University of Cambridge. Her extensive work experience from the education, property and financial sector enables her to work with students of all ages in an engaging manner.
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