Family Volunteering in Singapore

Cycling Without Age volunteer Dorothy Teo talks to us about how piloting a trishaw has helped her to focus on the people that are most important to her, and how volunteering with her daughters has taught them new skills and the importance of community service.

Dot Teo and her daughters, Christine and Angeline

Cycling Without Age (CWA) works with senior care centres to offer older Singaporeans volunteer- piloted trishaw rides. When Dorothy (Dot) Teo first heard of CWA she loved the idea of using a trishaw to interact with seniors and give them increased mobility and social interaction. Her daughters, Christine and Angeline, also thought it would be fun to be involved, to meet new people and visit new places. Now, only a short time later, Dot is a CWA volunteer, a trainer, and member of the Board of Trustees.

Never too young to contribute
Dot and her husband Bernard began involving their daughters in volunteering activities during their school breaks when they were 9 and 7. Since 2016, the girls and their parents have been involved in CWA and have also worked at the soup kitchen at Willing Hearts, done meal deliveries for Dorcas Home Care Services, and they are currently volunteering weekly with a speech and language therapy centre for children. “When the girls were younger, they treated volunteering as a play date,” says Dot. “As they have matured, they’ve learnt that they’re contributing to society and making a difference in another person’s life…we want to make volunteering a way of life for them.”
Christine, now 12, finds volunteering makes her holidays more meaningful. “For CWA I sit with the passengers and try and talk to them. My Chinese is not good, but I sometimes hold their hands and listen to the seniors if they want to talk.”

The great outdoors
Being on the trishaw is precious time outdoors for the seniors and it’s boosted their happiness and sociability, as people often stop and chat as they are cycling around. Being involved with the program helps Dot to slow down, focus on the older generation, and prioritise her time with those that are important to her. “I’ve started spending more time with my family and senior relatives. My children are watching, and I know that, when they have their own families, they will still consciously set time aside for us.”

Since its launch in 2015, CWA has grown to 600 volunteers and 15 trishaws. More than 10,000 seniors have experienced free trishaw rides. If you’d like to volunteer for Cycling Without Age you can find more information at cyclingwithoutage.sg

Family volunteering ideas
Have you thought about volunteering as a family? Other ideas for getting involved include; The Food Bank Juniors Club at The Food Bank Singapore, beach clean ups with Trash Hero Singapore, creating and distributing meals for low-income families with Willing Hearts and, for those with dogs, Therapy Dogs Singapore has a Pet Assisted Therapy programme.
To find out more about our ANZA Action charity partners and the most up to date opportunities contact Suzanna at: anzaaction@anza.org.sg or go to anza.org.sg/groups/anza-action