Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we currently live in unprecedented times. While it seems as though daily life has been temporarily placed on hold, there are still countless people who need help and a variety of online volunteer opportunities for high school students to get involved in giving back. Face masks and social distancing have replaced handshakes, hugs, and life as we once knew it.
Now is as important a time as ever to implement ways to help those in need, regardless of how little it seems we can do from home. For those looking to aid their community and beyond during the time of Coronavirus but are unsure how to do so from their home, listed below are ten service opportunities that high school students may take advantage of to better those around them with virtual, charitable work.
How Can You Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Help out and spend (virtual) time with senior citizens. With the mortality rate of COVID-19 much higher in elderly populations, nursing homes need assistance. For starters, reach out to your local nursing home to inquire ways you can help them from home. Write letters asking about their lives, childhood, adolescence, family, favorite activities, favorite books, etc.
Having a pen pal in a nursing home will bring joy to both of your days and gives you the opportunity to get to know someone new. Speak with their coordinator to plan a Bingo night on Zoom. All this activity would require is sending in Bingo sheets to the nursing home and having them print and distribute them, and you can read randomized letters and numbers out loud on Zoom.
Create a meal plan for essential workers who are too busy to cook meals for themselves. First, decide whom you plan to send meals to (doctors, surgeons, postal workers, etc. who live near you). Create a GoFundMe with fellow neighbors who are interested in donating or working with you.
Contact the worker’s employing company to plan the best mealtimes and call the restaurant you’d be interested in pairing with, or you could make the meals yourself. Ensure that you have allergy warnings on the packaging for any potential allergens. Write thank-you notes for their selfless service and send off the meals!
Donate blankets to the homeless. Since a majority of time within charities is being spent on CoVid relief efforts, organizations are requesting help with the basics. You could ask family friends and community members for donations to buy blankets in bulk amounts to later send on to charity organizations. If you enjoy arts and crafts, you could sew the blankets yourself.
All that is needed to make a thick, flannel blanket is two sets of 2.25 yard flannel fabric (separated from each other), needle and thread (or a sewing machine if you already own one), fabric scissors, and pins. Start by placing the two fabric sheets together with the wrong sides facing out.
Pin the pieces together, and leave room for sewing the seam. Sew the seam around three of the four sides of the blanket, and flip the blanket inside out (so that the correct side is now facing out). Finish sewing the final side and trim with the fabric scissors, and your blanket is complete. Find a shelter near you that is in need of the blankets you have created and either hand-deliver or ship them.
Make treat bags for animals at homeless shelters. Buy animal treats in bulk and place them in baggies in amounts of around 20 per Ziploc bag. Hand deliver them to local shelters or send them through the mail to shelters out of driving range.
Create care packages for underserved children. Reach out to homeless shelters and ask what kind of materials they need. Call family friends and ask for donations for your cause. Buy nonperishable snacks, books, clothing, pens and markers, printer paper, and drinks. Place them in boxes and write cards to the children.
If you wish to continue staying in touch with the kids, give them a return address and envelopes/stamps so that they have the facilities to write back to you should they wish to do so.
If you are an active person, organize a Dance-a-Thon with other families. This could be hosted on Zoom, in a socially distanced backyard, or in a park. Ask everyone to donate an entry fee that you will later pass on to a designated charity. Acquire a speaker loud enough to play dancing music. People can stay for as long as they want, so long as they dance! Try to get your community involved, and thank everyone for participating.
Sew non-medical grade masks for those who cannot afford to buy them. Everyone living in America currently has a need for a mask to protect themselves and their family members from the risk of CoVid-19. Offering to sew masks, and later donating them to charities, such as those listed on Deaconess, will alleviate stress from the lives of people who either lack the resources to make a mask or lack the time to do so. This link provides step-by-step assistance and instructions on how to create a functional facial covering.
Become a virtual tutor. Many underserved children cannot afford to catch up to their classmates if they have fallen behind due to situations at home. Especially now that most families are working from home, it can be difficult to stay on top of school work. While it’s currently summer, there are still many things school children may have missed in the last semester.
Working for TeensGive is a great way to reteach kids whatever they might not have understood during the school year. All sessions are virtual, on either laptops or phones, and will be recorded. A simple, short application is necessary.
Work for Translators Without Borders. In a time where a variety of streams of communication are necessary to follow the world’s current affairs, people without proficiency in English may feel out of the loop.
Translators Without Borders is requesting the help of bilingual individuals to help them translate medical text and crisis response. An application is necessary to prove language proficiency. The organization is seeking help in translating an array of languages, including Portuguese, Turkish, Spanish, Kanuri, Tigrinya, Punjabi, and more.
Enact a change with DoSomething.org. They need young people to get involved in promoting social change, including “Celebrate Pride!” in which you can make Pride prominent throughout your community and “New State of Mind” where you can share tips on stress management.
By choosing the content and ways in which you contribute, you can tailor it to your interests and share your knowledge and understanding of certain topics with your community and beyond.