ONLINE VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES
Many of you are probably missing all of the activities you were doing when schools were in session. While you may be upset that you are unable to continue activities that you were a part of, know that there are online volunteering opportunities that will allow you to constructively devote time to activities that are meaningful during these trying times. You have the ability to lend a hand to benefit others without leaving your home. Please take a look at the activities listed below to see how you can make a difference locally, nationally, or on a global basis.
* BookShare Is designed to help people with reading disabilities. If you are 15 or older, you can volunteer to edit, read a description or scan and proofread documents. Every day, supporters like you help Bookshare provide accessible print materials to children and adults with disabilities.
* Be My Eyes is a free app connecting blind and low-vision people with sighted individuals. As a volunteer, you will have the ability to help people with disabilities manage daily challenges through live video calls.
* Amnesty Decoders is an innovative way for volunteers worldwide to use their computers or smartphones to help researchers sift through critical information. Join a global network of volunteers helping locate and expose human rights violations.
* The Zooniverse provides an opportunity for anyone to help out with important research. Simply select a project in an area that interests you – such as space, nature, or the arts – and get started. You could be part of a new discovery!
*Smithsonian Institute – Become a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and help us make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible.
*Teen Give provides online volunteer tutoring opportunities for high school students. Virtual volunteering: tutor children from Title 1 schools online on their platform for at least one hour a week. They also have a list of online volunteering opportunities.
*Do Something Do Something members join our volunteer, social change, and civic action campaigns to make real-world impact on causes they care about. As the largest not-for-profit exclusively for young people and social change, Do Something’s millions of members represent every US area code and 131 countries.
*Generation Serve These are the ways your teen can get involved in serving our community with Generation SERVE, from one-time opportunities like our Teen Service Days to deeper commitments like our summer Teen Leadership Program!
*Learning Ally Help Make our Audiobooks. Become part of our team and empower dyslexic, blind, and visually impaired students to succeed in school, and in life.
*All For Good All for Good is a digital hub for volunteerism and community engagement, and a service of Points of Light.
*Volunteer Match Explore hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities in cause areas like health and medicine, education, and community building, that you can do from a computer, from home or anywhere.
* Ancestry World Archives Project The Ancestry World Archives Project is a collaborative effort that has allowed thousands of people around the world to help preserve history that would otherwise be lost. Would you like to give back to the genealogy community? Would you like to help families discover more of their stories and share them with future generations?
- Help seniors or others who are isolated – check in with them to see what they need; then run errands, deliver food and medication, pick up library materials (if your libraries are still open), etc. Make regular phone or video call visits to combat social isolation/loneliness. Make cards or write letters, emails, or social media messages to seniors in nursing homes who can’t have visitors.
- AARP Community Connections: Mutual aid groups are informal groups of volunteers that band together to find effective ways to support those people most in need who live in their local community. Mutual aid can include picking up groceries, providing financial assistance, or lending emotional support to your neighbors. Whether you want to start a group, find a group, or get assistance yourself, our directory can help you connect with people in your community.
- Help provide access to meals for students who rely on school meals. Many states and school districts are providing “grab and go” meal pick-up locations, and you can help by spreading the word and helping kids get to sites if they’re not within walking distance. Donate to and volunteer with your local food banks. When donating, consider starting with your wallet instead of your pantry. Donating money gives food banks flexibility to buy exactly what they need when they need it.
- Create a Little Free Pantry in your neighborhood. Little Free Pantry and the mini-pantry movement apply the Little Free Library concept to activate community engagement of food insecurity.
- Older teens and college students can provide childcare for family/friends/neighbors if schools are closed, but parents still have to work. Organize a neighborhood childcare co-op to share the responsibility. There are a ton of resources including these 101+ ideas, virtual field trips, and lessons from Scholastic’s Learn from Home website. The Y At Home is publishing a daily digest of ideas and resources for kids and families.
- Sign up to volunteer or use UPchieve, a free, online platform that connects low-income high school students in the US with live, volunteer coaches (that’s you, including high school students!) any time they need it. You can help students from anywhere with an internet connection: whether that be from your desk at work or from the comfort of your couch!
For ideas 1, 2, and 3, adapt this guide that shows how to create a “neighborhood pod,” a DIY task force for organizing a community. The Google doc shows how to create a contact sheet, a group chat, and a list of questions around how to help each other during crises like the coronavirus. You can also connect via neighborhood email list-servs, Facebook groups, or Nextdoor.
- Raise money for relief organizations or local nonprofits. Help spread the word to crowdfund these coronavirus relief funds from Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund, GlobalGiving, and Global Impact to help provide needed medical supplies, public health support, and more. Research online to find local fundraisers to help people in your community or support any local nonprofit that has increased needs to meet because of this crisis. Fundraising can be a fun activity to spend time doing while schools are closed. Make cards, artwork, jewelry, or other handcrafted items to sell virtually. Organize virtual “thons” (walk, skate, bowl, swim, bike, rock, read, dance) of an activity that people can do and track individually. Anython and RallyUp are two online tools that can help you organize these.
- Donate blood. As the number of individuals with coronavirus increases, fewer eligible donors will be able to give making it extremely difficult for inventory to recover if we get to shortage levels. Healthy, eligible individuals are encouraged to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment at RedCrossBlood.org today to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and avoid any potential shortages.
- Foster or adopt shelter animals. Many shelters have already had to close to the public or cancel events, and many others may need to do so in the coming days ― meaning fewer pets are being adopted out, even as animals continue to come in. Shelters want to move as many animals as possible off the premises and into foster homes, in case they’re hit with staffing shortages as employees and volunteers get sick or need to self-quarantine. Find a shelter or rescue organization near you.
- Protect the mental health of your family, friends, and neighbors. Check out these resources from the Born This Way Foundation and de-stress by reading stories on Channel Kindness. For those experiencing mental health challenges during this time, there are resources like the Disaster Distress Helpline. Take a break from the news and go outside, play a game, watch your favorite tv show or a movie, etc. To support others who are having a hard time right now, one expert says that just dismissing their worries can be counterproductive. “If I tell you, don’t worry about it, everything’s fine, that really discounts my concerns.” Instead, “with our friends and families that are feeling distressed, we can empathize and we can validate that this can be a really scary, anxiety-provoking time.” Rather than telling someone not to worry, consider asking what they are doing for self-care. And stay in touch if you can, “because when we sit with our thoughts all by ourselves, they can spiral.”
- How teenagers can protect their mental health during coronavirus – 6 strategies for teens facing a new (temporary) normal from UNICEF-USA
- Use and share the free Crisis Text Line.
- Spread cheer and positive messages in your neighborhood by creating sidewalk chalk art, painting kindness rocks. or organizing a teddy bear hunt.
- Create some works of art or write notes and drop it off for your neighbors and friends, as a way to keep in touch and to cheer them up.
- Make masks for healthcare and other essential workers. Volunteers across the country have made more than 10 million masks. See how you can help!
Here are 20 more opportunities that you may be interested in pursuing:-
- Volunteer to be an Online Ambassador with Ark of Hope for Children.
- Give well-deserved Treats for Troops through Soldiers Angels Treats for Troops.
- Be an online emotional support person at 7 Cups.
- Help kids in need when you organize an online fundraiser for Operation Warm.
- Make a global difference with the United Nations.
- Sew emotional support blankets for Binky Patrol.
- Proofread e-books for Project Gutenberg.
- Track bird populations with eBird.
- Answer texts from people in crisis using active listening and collaborative problem solving with Crisis Text Line.
- Crochet or knit afghan squares that will help build blankets for both babies and adults. Send them to Warm Up America.
- Record audiobooks for Librivox.
- Send a card, letter or note once a week to someone undergoing chemotherapy. Apply at Chemo Angels.
- Share your voice and help drive innovation in voice technology through VocaliD.
- Test, evaluate or develop elements of the National Park Service’s online presence.
- Raise money in a virtual world with The American Cancer Society and Second Life.
- Develop video games to help App to Succeed teach youth in need how to make good financial decisions.
- Train others in technology to help overcome poverty with Right Here at Home.
- Help Harvard researchers learn the best ways to break down stereotypes by taking tests with Project Implicit.
- Look at satellite images of storm and help researchers predict cyclone behavior with Cyclone Center.
- Spread the word by sharing social media posts and important announcements from your favorite nonprofit organizations.
Thanks to Operation Warm, Inc. for compiling this list.
* Write something about the pandemic – poetry, fiction or nonfiction – and send it to one of the publications seeking new work via Submittable. Some of these organizations welcome visual art submissions as well.
* Write an essay on something important to you and submit it as an “op-ed” to a newspaper. The OpEd Project has tips on how to write these pieces and an extensive list of places to submit them. Or see 10 Journals Where You Can Get Published in High School.
* Make crafts for your own enjoyment, or learn to sew masks and save lives.
Develop STEM expertise
* Conduct science experiments at home. Get started with ideas from Science Fun.
* Learn a computer programming language. These days, coding skills can be just as valuable as foreign language proficiency. There are many free courses via platforms such as Khan Academy, Coursera, and EdX.
* Find many more ideas at STEM Fun for High School Kids.
Line up summer plans
* Learn data science skills and create a research project in the all-virtual Summer STEM Institute.
* Learn artificial intelligence (AI) concepts and build a project in small groups taught by graduate students through AI Scholars Live Online.
* Find many more ideas at TeenLife.
* Learn a new language using apps such as DuoLingo, Babbel or Pimsleur.
* Learn a new subject by taking a free class at Open Culture, Future Learn or Coursera.
Internships.com — Internships.com contains a virtual section for students seeking remote opportunities. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can narrow down your options based on industry, as the website contains selections such as “computer science,” “graphic design,” “writing,” and even a separate “high school” portion. You can further explore separate fields once you’re under the high school tab. Internships.com lets you view location, job description, and qualifications required. If an opportunity catches your eye, you can upload your resumé and apply directly from the platform.
Youth Serving America — Once you’ve made sure you’re safe and can maintain social distance, you can dedicate time to helping others who may be struggling. While effective for finding community outreach opportunities at any time, this organization also has a section on its website specifically for ways in which students can volunteer remotely during COVID-19. Some available choices include:
- Help seniors or others who are isolated
- Provide access to meals for students who rely on school breakfasts and lunches
- Raise money for relief organizations or local nonprofits
- Donate blood
- Foster or adopt shelter animals
Browse through the pages to see how you can help someone out. Look for options that resonate with your interests or would make sense based on your location and abilities. At a time like this, a little help could go a long way!
National Science Foundation — If you’re a STEM candidate, you might be interested in seeking a remote research assistantship through the National Science Foundation. This particular opportunity is focused in biology, as the grant is funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences. If you have your own project in mind — something that can be made possible with the resources at home — you can apply for a grant from one of the organizations listed on NSF’s website. A well-developed research project can definitely show initiative and strengthen your application.
Fender Guitar Lessons. Have a guitar lying around the house? How about some guitar lessons? Fender, one of the most famous brands of guitars, is offering free online lessons for the next three months. The classes are taught by professional musicians, and are open to guitarists of all levels. YouTube also has plenty of tutorials as well that will get you strumming your favorite tunes.
Milk Street Cooking School. Christopher Kimball, known for creating the PBS show America’s Test Kitchen, said that his Milk Street Cooking School will offer free lessons online throughout April. From mastering the use of herbs to making the perfect pasta, these lessons will enhance your cooking abilities and teach you lifelong skills.