Pitch in, help out!

Pitch in, help out!

Here's how you can give back to the needy

This week, Americans living around the world will celebrate Thanksgiving. While it's not a big festival for people from other countries, it is a good time to remember to count your blessings.

Most people in Hong Kong are very fortunate - few of us will ever know true poverty or need. This week of gratitude is a perfect time to think about how lucky you are, and how you can give back to those who are less fortunate.

As well as giving money to charity (and don't forget the annual charity campaign SCMP-RTHK Operation Santa Claus has just begun), you can help others by volunteering. Here are five worthwhile charities that accept student volunteers.

Hong Kong Dog Rescue

Age requirement: 14 and older
Time commitment: You can go in when you choose. Generally four-hour shifts are required.
What you have to do: Walk, care for and play with the dogs.
Website: www.hongkongdogrescue.com
About the charity:
Every year, HKDR saves dozens of dogs from being put down. All their dogs are clean, vaccinated and friendly, so if you're looking for a pet, adopt one who really needs a home. If you don't want a dog, but still want to help out, they are always looking for volunteers to walk, wash and take care of the dogs. All the dogs need homes and some have been mistreated in the past. This charity tries to take dogs that are friendly and find them a home again.

Crossroads International

Age requirement: 15 and older (younger students accepted with advance notice)
Time commitment: Of your choosing. You generally need to go in for a couple of hours in the morning or afternoon.
What you have to do: They require volunteers for a number of different activities, from sorting out donated goods to doing online research.
Website: www.crossroads.org.hk
About the charity:
Crossroads states their main aim is "to provide a crossroads between those who are in need, and those who can supply help". They provide many services, such as global distribution, which takes Hong Kong's quality excess goods and distributes them locally and internationally as needed; selling global handicrafts, which are fair trade goods from people living in poverty; and the global village, which provides simulated experiences of global need. They are always looking for people to donate goods or money, or to just spend a couple of hours volunteering.

Christina Noble Children's Foundation

Age requirement: 11 and older (younger volunteers won't be able to do as much as older ones)
Time commitment: No set time commitment
What you have to do: They require volunteers for a number of different activities.
Website: www.cncf.org
About the Charity:
CNCF helps improve the lives of many children, especially orphans, in Vietnam and Mongolia. They accept a lot of young volunteers to help raise awareness of their services and organise fund-raising events around Hong Kong. It's even possible, if you're old enough, to travel to the centres in Vietnam or Mongolia and visit the children. This is a very worthwhile charity that aims to improve the living conditions of poor children and give them a chance in life.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Age requirement: 16 and older
Time commitment: No set time commitment
What you have to do: They require volunteers for a number of different activities, such as "pet socialisers" and kennel keepers.
Website: www.spca.org.hk
About the charity:
The SPCA is probably one of the best-known charities in the world. They are always looking for volunteers to help with fund-raising, looking after animals, and various other jobs. All the animals need care, love and attention. This is an incredibly worthwhile cause and a great place to volunteer if you love furry or four-legged friends.

Orbis Hong Kong

Age requirement: No age requirement.
Time commitment: No set time commitment
What you have to do: All students are welcome to help out at the Hong Kong office. They also hold various fund-raising activities you can help with. One annual Orbis event is the Student Ambassador Campaign that allows students to get directly involved.
Website: www.orbis.org.hk
About the charity:
Orbis is a charity that aims to curb preventable blindness. A lot of their work involves raising awareness and funds. They also invite local ophthalmologists and orthoptists to travel around the world as medical volunteers. They conduct check-ups, eye examinations and training sessions in poor countries, giving people a better understanding about the treatment of eye problems.



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