April 11, 2021 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Aaryana Sharma; Edited by Haarika Kalahasti
As we live through the current pandemic, it is important to stay grounded in our values, be proactive, and take advantage of any spare time we have. There are many ways to productively fill time, such as studying ahead for school, taking online courses, learning a new hobby, and engaging in extracurricular opportunities. One particular activity to take on is community service, which can help you make a difference in your community, build character, and even build up your college resume (Read the importance of community service in our previous community service article here). Although it is difficult to volunteer now, there are many virtual volunteering opportunities to partake in to stay occupied during this lengthy pandemic. In the Spring Edition, we have grouped together our opportunities in various subsections to make it more convenient to find the specific opportunity you’re looking for.
The first opportunity we would like to present is the Send A Patient Greeting initiative. This program enables students to write letters to patients at the Texas Children’s Hospital. These letters will go directly to patients who need a bit of uplifting or something to brighten their mood! While the online portal for this letter writing service is currently down, physical letters are accepted to the addresses mentioned on the website. Some other amazing initiatives to uplift patients going through hard times are the Send A Smile 4 Kids, or Braid Mission which connects our writing to foster kids in the US.
Arts & Crafts
The next set of opportunities are for people who enjoy something artistic and crafty. Teddies for Tragedies is a playful initiative that allows volunteers to crochet, or handmake, teddy bears for kids in need. Once you crochet a teddy bear you send your gift to one of the given addresses on the website. From here, your handmade gifts will be given to a kid in need of safety and comfort.
If crochet, or knitting isn’t your thing, but you still love arts and crafts, check out Made4Aid, this lovely platform allows content creators to donate some of their artwork to the platform. These donations turn into products on the Made4Aid Etsy store where customers can come and buy these handmade crafts. The profits from these crafts then goes to charities for aid and relief work such as Doctors without Borders.
Teaching and Learning
The next cluster of events are for those who want to share the power of knowledge. These Houston-based opportunities connect volunteers with specific classrooms for students to help them learn. The bottom two links, labeled Reading on the site, help students read and build vocabulary through hourly reading sessions. These programs were established by the “Real Men Read'' is a Houston-ISD based initiative which promotes reading and literary growth in elementary age students. The other link in the cluster enables volunteers to tutor students who are struggling with a certain concept. These tutoring sessions are an hour long and help students master topics they find difficult.
The final opportunity we wanted to introduce is Zooniverse. This platform connects volunteers with facilities to help scientists with their research. Each project has a brief summary of the research and the end goal, and volunteers play a key role in the research by gathering data or performing a certain task for the research group.
Not interested in the above opportunities? Well we got some more for you! Project Gutenberg, Translators without Borders, and DoSomething
Interested in reading? This is for you! Project Gutenberg is a virtual library which houses over 60,000 free EBooks. As a volunteer for them, you would help proofread books to go onto the Project Gutenberg archive and assemble them into ebooks.
Fluent in more than one language? Translators without Borders is a non-profit working towards a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. Its volunteers help translate medical texts, translating for crisis response, and more! If you know more than one language and want to make a difference in the world, we strongly recommend that you check this out!
Need some more opportunities, or want to be a part of a volunteering project with others? DoSomething may be the place for you! With opportunities including DIY mask kits, environment conscious actions to end littering, collecting food cans, or collecting menstruation material, this platform is bubbling with opportunities. This way, you can try simple ways to give back while being a part of a group.