In last Wednesday's report ("Intervening early 'could mean a world of difference' / Create avenues for volunteers to help"), Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin called for more people to volunteer, as some are reluctant to do so because of a lack of time and training.
Small pockets of time can make a difference. People can volunteer with an organisation or for a cause that they are passionate about, as this will spur them to set aside whatever time they can afford.
In the Individual Giving Survey 2014 by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, 64 per cent of volunteers served occasionally - on average 15 hours over 12 months - rather than volunteer weekly or monthly.
By volunteering occasionally, busy people can still contribute to building a better community.
There are different ways one can volunteer. One example is skills-based volunteering, where one can contribute one's skills, such as in marketing, accounting, IT, photography or baking - individually or collectively with an organisation.
One can also take on informal volunteering, which exists outside of formal charitable organisations.
For instance, extending help to a neighbour or even a stranger in need at unexpected times, or helping a visually challenged person to navigate his or her way around are simple, random acts of kindness that make a difference.
As we celebrate Singapore turning 50, let us also remember that while we have progressed as a nation, true progress is coupled with a keen spirit to care, share and give to others and ourselves in building the community we live in.
Charlotte Goh (Ms)
Director of Advocacy
National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre
This article was first published on August 5, 2015.
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