Volunteering Opportunities in a PandemicOct 23, 2021
Young people today are often characterized by social media as impatient, entitled, and easily distracted. However, that’s not what we see. A significant number of high school students enrich both their communities and their souls by volunteering for a plethora of projects. Today’s students are creative, care about the world, want to prepare for work that matters, embrace their entrepreneurial spirits, value collaboration, and are very tech-savvy. One of the ways in which they demonstrate their care for the community, both local and global, is through community service and volunteer work. These endeavors also enrich their college applications and demonstrate to a college where they expend their spare time and energy and what kinds of services they value. Students find opportunities to explore their interests during the school year and during their school vacations.
In the spring of 2020, many of those options came to a crashing halt. Schools closed, clubs stopped meeting, community centers shut their doors and students went inside, behind closed doors, as the authorities attempted to crush the curve of the Covid-19 outbreak. Suddenly, young people who were used to serving meals at the homeless shelter, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, tutoring the freshman Math students, and helping out their schools’ sports teams, were unable to take on anything outside the house. After the initial shock of the required switch to virtual learning, those same enthusiastic and eager students started to reach out and add community service back into their lives. Here are some great ideas:
Work with your local Meals on Wheels to deliver meals to shut-in seniors; reach out to seniors in your neighborhood and offer to bring them groceries. And while we’re talking about seniors, seek out seniors living alone in your neighborhood and visit them through the window, get their phone numbers and call to check on them often. Write letters to people shut inside nursing homes, enclosing stamped addressed envelopes with your notes to allow them to write back to you. Call your local schools to see if you can help distribute food and other items to their families in need. Feeding America needs volunteers on the distribution side.
If you are old enough, consider donating blood. The Red Cross is in desperate need of all types of blood and platelets. Call your friends and encourage them to donate too.
Check out Be A Neighbor and Volunteer Match for more opportunities in your local area.
Online tutors for students are needed now more than ever, as so many young people are struggling with the switch to online classes. Teens Give is organizing online tutors in several subjects, and is available to high school students in need around the country. Good Tutors offers free one-on-one tutoring to underserved students via Zoom. Check with your teachers also.
Finally, check out Points of Light for a huge array of volunteer projects designed for a wide range of interests.
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