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How Your Teen can Volunteer Online During the Pandemic

The original list of online volunteer opportunities was compiled by college admissions counselor, Helen Ingerson of Blue Stars. We have modified slightly.

  1. Provide social connection with the elderly who are sheltering in place. One existing organization is making remote “Social Calls” to the elderly.
  2. Do remote volunteer tutoring for younger children. Students can use Nextdoor, social media, community organizations and even their own teachers to find elementary school teaching colleagues who might spread the word and contact parents who might find it useful to have a teen help children with homework, teach lessons or activities, or just read-aloud remotely. Many companies, such as Khan Academy offer valuable resources. Other websites list multiple links to educational resource companies offering free access to their resources during this crisis.
  3. Remote political volunteering. While the coronavirus crisis is ongoing, our 2020 Election political process continues. Students can volunteer to increase voter turnout through organizations such as Rock the Vote (nonpartisan), which offers opportunities that can be done remotely, or google remote volunteer internships for their favorite candidate. 
  4. Students with programming skills can do home-based coding for nonprofits that need help through organizations such as Code for Social Good, Benetech, or DonateCode. These students could also help develop apps or websites for some of the efforts listed above: helping coordinate neighborhood food service to the elderly, and/or families looking for remote tutors. Modesto is an example of this kind of site. Or develop a social media campaign for the people who are helping the rest of us through a Facebook group like Australia’s Adopt a Healthcare Worker and #ViralKindness , which started in England.
  5. #MillionMaskMayday is an effort to get more protective masks to healthcare providers, including actually sewing them from a pattern provided.
  6. Citizen Science projects might provide options to combine academics and volunteering. Here’s a searchable database of projects so people can find out how they can contribute. Many are virtual, like this one, looking for images of sea lions in photographs:
  7. Teens can also collaborate on viral fundraising campaigns for the following organizations in need of donations. Hold a virtual concert! Organize a virtual challenge! Make it fun and social! Raise money for those experiencing homelessness, for food banks, for restaurant workers recently laid off, for musicians whose gigs have been canceled, or any other organization in your area looking for fundraising assistance due to the pandemic.

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