We Asked 5 Millennials When The Last Time They Volunteered Was – The Answers Were Depressing

Alanna Tan

Adulthood can be quite the balancing act.

Juggling our day jobs with family time and social life can already be exhausting, and some still attempt to find time for activities that reach toward personal fulfilment.

While we’re busy working and squeezing our remaining time for friends, family and ourselves, it can totally slip our minds to think about doing something for the wider community around us.

We have all clocked the mandatory CIP (Community Involvement Programme) hours back in school, and talked about how rewarding it was to help the less fortunate.

But not many Singaporeans can confidently say they continue giving back to society as adults.

Finding time to help others is really a challenge, so we spoke to a few millennials to find out if they have managed to do it.

Beatrice, 27

volunteering soup kitchen

Image Credit: Willing Hearts

1. When was the last time you volunteered?

The last time I volunteered was about 3 or 4 years ago. I volunteered at Willing Hearts where I helped to prepare, pack, and deliver food to underprivileged households.

2. How did you come upon that opportunity to volunteer?

The company I was working in had a volunteer programme where we were supposed to do community work quarterly.

Even so, we only really managed to do it once or twice a year, and I took part in 3 sessions.

3. Do you think volunteering is meaningful and important?

To be honest, the experience helping in a soup kitchen was really tiring.

I realised that peeling and cooking huge amounts of veggies for others is something not many Singaporeans would normally experience. I really felt that the regular volunteers are noble, and the work they do is important.

When I hand-delivered the meals to residents, I learned that some of them rely on this food to survive every single day. It humbled me and showed me how privileged I am to be able to help others.

volunteering singapore

Image Credit: TOUCH Community Services

4. Why haven’t you volunteered again since then?

I’m not proud of how long it has been since I last volunteered.

Since I left the company, I’ve been wanting to volunteer again but I just never found friends to go with, and eventually got too lazy to plan and organise it.

Zi Yang, 23

1. When was the last time you volunteered?

The last time I volunteered was about a year ago. I was a tray return ambassador at the food court at ITE College Central.

2. How did you come upon that opportunity to volunteer?

I was studying there at the time, and I always looked out for opportunities to play my part for the community.

3. Do you think volunteering is meaningful and important?

When I reminded people to return their own trays, what mattered was that we could lighten the burden on elderly workers, especially those who may be sick or have a hard time coping on their own.

I just want to put a smile on someone’s face, or help improve their circumstances. That means a lot to me.

4. Why haven’t you volunteered again since then?

Now that I’m working, it’s harder to find the time to volunteer although I really want to. And it’s also not as easy to seek out a cause to help.

Farhanah, 21

volunteering elderly

Image Credit: Youth Corps Singapore

1. When was the last time you volunteered?

The last time I volunteered was 2 years ago at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. I organised some activities and performances for the patients during Hari Raya.

2. How did you come upon that opportunity to volunteer?

I volunteered every year with my CCA in polytechnic. Every time Hari Raya came around, it was a time for us to give back by organising some activities at an old folks’ home or a children’s home.

3. Do you think volunteering is meaningful and important?

It feels good to brighten someone’s day!

Talking to the people and learning about their struggles reminds me that there are people out there that are suffering. I especially hope I can help more underprivileged kids and give them a happier childhood.

volunteering kids

Image Credit: Autism Resource Centre

4. Why haven’t you volunteered again since then?

It’s a terrible excuse, but ever since I started working, I haven’t found the time and energy to volunteer.

I think the problem is I tend to wait for others to ‘jio’ me to go for volunteering events together instead of initiating and planning it myself.

Hailey, 24

1. When was the last time you volunteered?

The last time I volunteered was when I was in still in secondary school. I went around HDB blocks to collect newspapers for recycling.

2. How did you come upon that opportunity to volunteer?

Well, since I was in school, it was mandatory. We were assigned to tasks and didn’t get to choose a cause we were passionate about.

3. Do you think volunteering is meaningful and important?

Although I haven’t really volunteered out of school, I think its important to help causes we care about.

I’ve tried to do that in other ways, such as working on a project to support an animal welfare organisation.

volunteering animals singapore

Image Credit: Causes for Animals Singapore

4. Why haven’t you volunteered again since then?

I always felt like I’ve been too busy. There was a lot of work to be done throughout polytechnic and uni, and now I work on weekdays and spend time with my family on weekends.

After allocating time to these priorities, I hardly have any time left. I guess the thought of volunteering has slipped my mind as time went by so quickly.

Eunice, 24

volunteer teacher singapore

Image Credit: FaithActs

1. When was the last time you volunteered?

Around 4 years ago I volunteered with a teaching programme that helped underprivileged young children improve their literacy. I met the kids once or twice a week to teach them English.

2. How did you come upon that opportunity to volunteer?

I heard about this programme through my church and decided to sign myself up as a teacher.

3. Do you think volunteering is meaningful and important?

It was really fulfilling to see the students each week and hear that they’re improving in school.

I feel that we are really blessed, and it’s important to give back to others and make a difference, even with a small gesture of kindness.

4. Why haven’t you volunteered again since then?

Although I haven’t volunteered directly since then, I have found other ways to make an impact.

Now, I do so by writing for an organisation that raises awareness about women suffering abuse.

Is Time The Excuse?

Spend some time speaking to a millennial, and you’ll find that they have causes they feel strongly about.

Many young people aren’t afraid to talk about social issues, raise awareness on social media, and call to attention problems that need to change.

However, with many other commitments vying for our time and attention, we sometimes need a push in the right direction to remind us to go out and act on what we believe.

Talking to these 5 millennials also made me wonder why I haven’t volunteered in the past 3 years myself.

volunteering elderly singapore

Image Credit: Youth Corps Singapore

While it may require our time, volunteering can expand our knowledge and awareness of the world around us.

It can also help us develop stronger character by teaching us to be patient, and generous with our time and service.

Since we can add value to someone else’s life, and also strengthen our own skills, why don’t we do it more?

While a common reason seems to be our limited time, seeing others volunteer actively shows us that perhaps “time” is just an excuse.

Step Up With Project Refresh!

If you have a heart for the elderly, here’s one organisation that can help you get back into serving the community.

Young NTUC’s initiative, Project Refresh, supports elderly residents living in rental flats by helping to refurbish their apartments.

Some ways in which volunteers help the residents are by cleaning and painting their flats, and fumigating pests.

project refresh volunteer

Image Credit: Young NTUC

During its pilot run in 2016, Project Refresh gathered 70 volunteers to clean and paint 13 rental units in Bukit Merah.

The next session grew to a number of 160 volunteers who covered 30 units in Tampines.

Raymond Chin, who has volunteered with Project Refresh since its pilot, says, “I think the most important part is to ensure the underprivileged know the Singaporean youths do care for them.”

“We are all Singaporeans. We take care of everyone in anyway we can, be it monetarily or physically, that is the exact kampong spirit we want,” he adds.

project refresh volunteers

Image Credit: Young NTUC

Collaborating with the North East Community Development Council since 2017, Young NTUC has also connected GRCs, schools and corporations in the region to befriend the elderly and celebrate festivities with them.

Till date, over 950 volunteers have been involved in improving the lives of elderly residents in 140 rental units.

Always looking for more volunteers to lend a hand to the elderly, Project Refresh invites anyone to take part, to serve the community and grow together.

It’s about time to throw our excuses out the door, so click here now to find out how you can volunteer!

Young NTUC, the youth arm of the Labour Movement, wants to help youths in Singapore develop their best qualities in career and life. Project Refresh is one of their initiatives that support the holistic development of youths.

Featured Image Credit: Young NTUC

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