Volunteering During a Pandemic: is it Possible?
Volunteering in the community is a large part of being in high school. At this time in our lives, we are encouraged to volunteer for clubs, college applications, or just simply to gain some maturity and experience. Volunteering also provides opportunities for hanging out with friends when done in groups. But this pandemic has prevented us from doing most things we enjoy in high school and volunteering opportunities were not spared. This begs the question, is it even possible to volunteer during a pandemic?
If you think the answer is no, you are not alone. People searching Google for volunteer opportunities dropped to less than half of the typical amount during the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, many of our favorite events or charities can not host their typical events. But this will merely hinder our ability to volunteer in the ways we are used to but not stop volunteering altogether.
The greatest setback to volunteering during this time is the lack of events planned. Many organizers have canceled their large service projects to prevent large groups from gathering. If you still wish to volunteer in ways similar to before, you will have to become the organizer of your own smaller event. For example, if you wish to participate in a trash clean-up event you can do so in a smaller group of three or four trusted friends. Just remember to mask up and bring some disinfectants!
There are also many opportunities for volunteering right from home. You may have never considered writing letters to senior citizens in nursing homes, but now is the perfect time to do such things since they are some of our most secluded members of the community. You could also conduct drives or fundraisers that are contact-free. Just leave a bin outside your home or a safe location for people to drop donations off. Once again, safety is key, so make sure you follow safety guidelines when cleaning anything collected. While there are many who have fallen on hard times, there are still people who can and will help with their donations when asked!
Finally, use social media to your advantage. There are many people across multiple platforms looking for the help of teens. Many organizations and charities understand there are high schoolers stuck at home with some free time and have created volunteer opportunities for them. A quick search on Facebook, Instagram, and of course TikTok will yield many results. Keep your eyes out for these virtual projects and you will find them in no time!
While small groups and virtual projects may not sound ideal, we must adapt as a generation to help our community during its darkest hour. While you may want to focus on the negative, look to the positives this situation provides. You will get to experience some very unique opportunities not many others have, and you can still have fun while doing it!