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Entering into the 21st century, many parents complain that their children are not willing to do volunteer work. On the one hand, young people nowadays are very busy – busy with their studies, web surfing and social networking; on the other hand, local families are generally better-off. It is difficult for young people to understand the need and meaning of volunteer work.

For those Hong Kong citizens who were born in the 1950s and 60s, helping each other and taking care of deprived residents are their basic commitment to the community. They are very willing to do as much as they can to help those who are in need. In our generation, this commitment is never forgotten. In fact, as time goes by, our belief in it grows even stronger, often determining how we think and live. Our success and failure in difficult times has made us more sensitive to finding out those needs which are most expected but difficult to spot.

Being better-off with children now having their own life and careers, we are thinking what else we need to do. Unfortunately, the better our economy becomes, the more unfair the distribution of wealth is. There are still many deprived citizens out there who need help and support. Added to this are retired citizens. They have knowledge, experience and empathy to care for those who are in need and to bring them hope.  
 
Types of Volunteer Works
 
Volunteer services are basically unpaid work but are valuable to the community since volunteers contribute their time and efforts to build a community with mutual support and caring for people. Since the 1970s, following the establishment of the Agency for Volunteer Service, many non-government organizations have successfully built up a number of volunteer networks enabling members of the community to participate in volunteer services through different channels. The Agency for Volunteer Service keeps on promoting and referring volunteer services. Internationally, the Agency offers support to the United Nations Volunteers Programme, encouraging professionals to take part in international volunteer services in different areas.

Volunteer services are generally categorized as “one-off”, “short-term” and “long-term” in many fields, such as art and culture, entertainment, fundraising, visits to homes for the elderly, nurseries, international conferences and office operations. Senior residents who are interested in joining volunteer services may obtain further information from the Useful Links below:
 
Value of Volunteer Services
 
Many volunteer service organizers have established their core values and ethics. Generally speaking, participants in volunteer services must be caring and positive persons who understand the importance of mutual respect. They are also expected to provide quality services through their creativeness and dedication. In return, volunteers gain valuable experience, broaden their knowledge and horizons and gain satisfaction from their participation in volunteer services.
 
The Volunteer Network (Chinese version only) has established a set of guidelines on: 
  • Mutual support and fairness
  • Kindness and sincerity
  • Understanding of the targets’ needs and situations with empathy
  • Awareness of the relations with the targets and respect for their privacy and decisions
  • Prevention of labelling the targets’ identities
  • Understanding of the Organization’s objectives and service goals
  • Proactive in learning and participation in volunteer services with best skills and knowledge
  • Commitment to faithfulness and diligence
  • Proactive in giving useful feedback to improve volunteer services
Useful Links