More students pitch in for volunteer work during school holidays

Pioneer Junior College student Lydia Phang (left) roped in 23 of her classmates to help prepare hot meals for the needy.
Pioneer Junior College student Lydia Phang (left) roped in 23 of her classmates to help prepare hot meals for the needy.PHOTO: OUTWARD BOUND SINGAPORE

Willing Hearts, OBS see rise in number during school holidays

Most junior college students would rather sleep in during the holidays, but Lydia Phang was already up slicing and dicing away at Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen at 7 am yesterday morning.

The 17-year-old from Pioneer Junior College also roped in 23 of her classmates to help prepare hot meals for the needy.

"I wanted my friends to try this new experience, and understand the work that goes behind feeding the hungry in Singapore," she said.

Increasingly, more students like Lydia and her peers are volunteering during their holidays, said the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) alumni office in a statement yesterday. The office was unable to provide the actual numbers but said it had seen a "significant increase" in volunteers.

Willing Hearts vice-president Charles Liew confirmed the growth, adding that he has about 90 volunteers this month during the June school holidays, up from 70 last month.

Some volunteer groups made up of past OBS participants tap on the 8,000-strong alumni network to find more volunteers, said the OBS alumni office.

The network was formed two years ago for past participants to network and engage in alumni-initiated community projects.

These include the meals-on-wheels programmes, which deliver food to the elderly, and street sales to support children with chronic illnesses.

Former OBS participant Cara Chua, for instance, is trying to raise $30,000 for Club Rainbow to support children with chronic illnesses. The 16-year-old student has also sought out volunteers from the OBS alumni for her street sales this month.

OBS said that many of these youth, like 17-year-old Donovan Tan, have chosen to sacrifice their personal time to help out.

"I feel waking up early for this meaningful activity is worth it because it helps to foster a shared experience for our class."

jianxuan@sph.com.sg