Articles, COVID-19, GirlSpring.com, Keeping Busy

Here’s a List of Awesome Volunteer Opportunities

Everything in the world is a little crazy right now. We aren’t sure when restaurants and shops will fully open up, when we can go back to school or when we can hang out with our friends in person again. Because of this, our summer plans have been changed. I was supposed to spend 8 weeks in Greece as an interpreter in a refugee camp like I did in the summer of 2019, but those plans changed! I felt really stressed about finding something to do for many reasons: I needed to do something or I would go crazy and I have 1 year left before I graduate college, so time was ticking for internship opportunities before graduate school. Internship and volunteer opportunities are a really great way to get to know your possible career fields! They are a very low-stakes way to explore areas that you are interested in before making long-term commitments to school (like law school and medical school). Some of my friends have shadowed lawyers and that is how they knew they really wanted to be a lawyer! Some shadowed pediatricians and they learned that they want to do medicine but can’t work with children. 

Now, you might be saying Okay, but why is she telling me this? We are quarantined and can’t have typical internship and volunteer opportunities? Well, many organizations and companies are still doing remote programs! Remote opportunities allow you to gain insight and skills in the field you are interested in, or use your own skills to volunteer, all from the safety and comfort of your home. That means you can keep your sweatpants on and stay in bed for this! 

Before doing any of this, don’t forget to take care of yourself! You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself. This means practicing self care (yoga, reading, talking to friends, cooking, watching TV, etc.) and learning when to take a break. I’m still working on mastering all of this, but it is key during this crazy time! While you search for a volunteer opportunity, make sure that you continue this self-care. And don’t forget to take breaks from screens or invest in blue-light glasses since these are all online. 

Here is a list of websites and resources online, but you can also ask your neighbors, parents and teachers if they have any ideas or know of anything. You can’t babysit in person, but you could always offer a video call for an hour or so for “babysitting” for example. 

Idealist 

  • Idealist is a website that connects you with organizations and companies looking to create change in the world. Here, you can search through volunteer opportunities, internships (paid/unpaid) and jobs. You can also search remote to see what specific remote opportunities exist!

Be my eyes 

  • This is an app for blind and visually impaired people that matches them with a seeing volunteer to help with everyday tasks! 

Masks 4 Medicine

  • If you’re crafty, or want to try it out, check out this organization to make masks for your local healthcare workers. Or, make masks for those in your community and distribute them safely. 

StorriTime

  • Connects you with an elderly person to exchange and read stories. During this pandemic when we are quarantined away from others, it can get really lonely. This provides a great opportunity to get to know and learn from other people, keep each other company, as well to share and read stories. 

Volunteer Match

  • Another database of volunteer opportunities. 

Points of Light

  • Another database of volunteer opportunities. 

Adopt a Grandparent in the United Kingdom

  • This home for the elderly in the UK pairs you up with a grandparent. You will video call and exchange stories and pictures to keep each other company. You don’t have to be from the UK to participate, and it’s a great opportunity to learn from people from different cultures and parts of the world. 

Warm up America! 

  • If you are interested in sewing or creating blankets or other comfy items, check out Warm up America!’s list of needs. 

Do Something

  • A youth-led organization striving for social change. They have a bunch of resources, from financial tips to mental health advice as well as volunteer opportunities. 

BookShare

  • This organization provides thousands of books to people with reading barriers. You can scan books or proofread them!

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