Go ahead. Let out a little scream. The thought of having kids and teens off of school for weeks on end will make anybody start to moan. There are just so many hours in a day a kid can spend on his X-Box (though my son would say 24 hours is just fine). But truly, who wants a bored kid sitting around all day while you work from home. Not me!
Summer Jobs & Internships
Here's a little glimmer of hope: if your kids are here on a Student Pass, they can get a summer job! Of course, there are some rules around this. The teen has to be at least 14 years old and has to be a full-time student at one of the approved institutions. Teens on a Student Pass can also work during the school year for no more than 16 hours a week.
And no, you don't have to notify the Ministry of Manpower if you take a job as long as you meet the requirements.
Teens can also take an unpaid internships which always look good on a college application.
But beware: if you are not on a Student Pass, you cannot take a paying job in Singapore. Technically, you're not even supposed to babysit if you are getting paid for it.
I know. This sounds kind of stupid. Chores? But in the world we live in where helpers do most everything, a summer learning to do chores is not a bad thing. During Circuit Breaker, I gave my kids a different theme every day. On Water Day, they learned to give the dog a bath, water the plants and wash the car. On Laundry Day, they learned how to wash, iron and fold clothes. They actually enjoyed these days and learned some life skills that they probably should know anyway.
There are some amazing volunteer opportunities for not only teens, but kids, too. These are guaranteed to keep your kids busy and make them feel good about how they spend their summer. Of course, some of these opportunities may change as Singapore grapples with COVID-19, but many are still available.
The American Association organizes a monthly day at ACRES where we all pitch in and help make life a little sweeter for Singapore's rescued wild animals. We'd love to have you join us. You have to be 14 to help on your own, but children as young as five can tag along with parents. Register here.
There are lots of groups in Singapore that organize beach clean ups. Check out
this article about several of the groups. You can also organize your own clean up, just be sure to remember your gloves, tongs and trash bags.
The Foodbank's goal is to fight hunger, reduce food wastage and take donations of unwanted food for voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), charities and soup kitchens. They’ve previously launched the Food Bank Juniors Club, aimed at five to 12-year-old volunteers, where kids can help out at the warehouse and be educated about hunger and food wastage issues in Singapore. Sign up here.
Giving.sg Giving.sg aims to be a one-stop-shop for volunteers in Singapore. There are many kinds of opportunities to help from volunteering with the disabled, elderly, environment and the arts. All ages are welcome, with some parental supervision.
Become part of the world’s largest wish granting charity, where you will make a difference in the lives of children with critical illnesses, their families and local communities. Volunteers are primarily wish granters. From capturing their one true wish and working with our small office team, through to creating an exceptional wish experience, the role of our volunteers is absolutely vital. Volunteers also take part in events, fundraise, and represent Make-A-Wish in their community. Find out more here.
This meal delivery program helps meet the daily needs of the home-bound elderly. The elderly, who usually live alone, depend on volunteers from TOUCH Home Care's Meals-on-Wheels to deliver their meals every day. Teens age 15 and above can sign up to help.
nParks The Singaporean government offers a lot of different opportunities to volunteer from improving habitats to working as a citizen scientist and more. Some have age limits or require a parent to also attend. Sign up here.
Riding for the Disabled RDA has given thousands of children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of horse-riding therapy for more than three decades.No previous horse experience is required, and volunteers will start out as side walkers, guiding smiling beneficiaries around the track as they enjoy a welcome break from wheelchairs. Volunteers must be at least age 16. Sign up here.
SG Cares This is another on-stop clearing house for volunteer opportunities. Most are for adults, but there are occasionally some cool opportunities for teens.
The Soup Kitchen Project is an initiative to feed the poor in Singapore, starting with the needy in the Jalan Besar - Lavender Street area. Every Monday from 5.45pm–7.45pm, the team feeds 330 hungry souls. Drop the volunteer co-ordinator a line at 98496491 to sign up.
The National Kidney Foundation NKF has been brightening the lives of those with renal failure for almost five decades now. There is a host of ways to get involved doing things such as befriending, taking patients out for a day, working on events more. They welcome school groups or groups of friends to help, too.
This organization has a long history and strong reputation for making a difference in people's lives. There are all sorts of volunteer opportunities above ringing the bell at Christmas time including befriending and sorting donations. Check out the variety of opportunities here.
Willing Hearts is wholly run by volunteers, apart from a handful of staff. It operates a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 9,500 daily meals to over 40 locations island wide, 365 days a year. Wow! Very young children can put stickers on food trays while older children can help chop vegetables and more. This is a great place for a family to volunteer together early in the morning. Sign up to volunteer here.