SINGAPORE - Children between seven and 16 years old who are interested in animal welfare can volunteer with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) through its newly launched Youth Ambassador Programme.
The programme aims to recruit 1,000 young volunteers and offer enrichment activities, such as school holiday camps, so that the children can experience working with animals and improve their communication skills by reading to animals.
Those interested can sign up via SPCA’s social media platforms from Nov 1.
SPCA previously restricted volunteers to those who are at least 17 years old.
SPCA executive director Aarthi Sankar said: “Education is an important pillar of SPCA’s work. Young people will lead the next chapter of animal welfare in Singapore, and it is imperative that they are equipped with the right knowledge, experiences and tools to build a more caring and inclusive community for all.”
The launch was announced at SPCA’s 75th anniversary celebrations on Saturday at its facility in Sungei Tengah.
Some 600 people, including volunteers, supporters and members of the public attended the event, which included activities such as guided tours of the shelter, workshops for youth and meet-and-greet sessions with shelter animals.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, who attended the event, congratulated the charity for its longstanding work in animal welfare.
He said the new programme will increase SPCA’s pool of volunteers from the current 400 people.
“(The move) is aligned with community efforts to involve the young and the youth through varying platforms to give back to our society.”
Mr Tong noted that the programme relates to the Forward Singapore exercise’s Unite pillar, which looks at the Singapore identity and is “all about the heart and soul of our community tomorrow”.
The year-long Forward Singapore exercise, which is organised under six pillars, aims to understand Singaporeans’ concerns, review policies and implement changes.
“As we engage the youth, including the SPCA Youth Ambassadors, to give back via volunteering opportunities, the youth will learn new skills that will give them some exposure and help them navigate their future,” he said.
“The strong bonds built with fellow volunteers and organisations can bring together people from all walks of life, strengthening the common Singapore identity.”