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Virtual Volunteering: How You Can Help

In this article I'll be talking about some interesting volunteer opportunities I came across while trying to find something to do during social isolating.

It’s no surprise that as the world comes to a near stand-still, online volunteering options have become far more popular. It is great that many different NGOs, non-profits and groups are making volunteering more accessible than ever. All you need is some time, passion, a few basic skills and a desire to help others. Based on your interests there are different positions available. For example, translators, graphic designers and much more.

In this article I’ll be talking about some interesting volunteer opportunities I came across while trying to find something to do during social isolating. My state, Michigan, has currently extended our Stay at Home order so this is the perfect opportunity to get a head start on helping the community in creative ways.

1.TechGirlz
This is a non-profit that aims to increase the number of women in tech fields and it hosts online workshops so middle school girls can continue to learn STEM skills such as coding and website building. If you have a passion for teaching and a background in skills such as HTML then this is the perfect way to volunteer to help teach one of their virtual workshops.

2.Operation Gratitude 
This organization allows people to write and send thank-you letters for deployed troops, first responders and emergency medical personnel. In addition, through amazon smile a portion of your purchases can go this initiative.
3.My Grief Angels
This organization offers free-resources to those that may be grieving or suffering from anxiety. Their website lists different resources to help people with the healing process which includes a 24/7 hotline. There are currently support groups available in both English and Spanish pertaining to COVID-19. Due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed, a lot of the positions require that you be at least 21 years of age.

4.Tutoring via Kara Tutoring 
This organization helps disadvantaged students achieve their full potential by providing services and instruction for standardized test prep, IB exams and AP courses. To tutor you have to be a maximum age of 21, have achieved 5s on AP exams you will tutor, 6 or 7 on IB exams you want to tutor and 1500+/34+ on the SAT/ACT.

5.Turnout Nation 
This organization is non-partisan and has the goal of increasing voter turnout. There are a lot of way to get involved virtually. Captains recruit 10 people in their circle to vote and provide these people with up-to-date election information so that they can be informed and proactive voters.

6.Full Life 
A not-for-profit institution and a great way to write some cards out to spread smiles and encouragement. The organization also provides other services for vulnerable adults.

7.Gentle Reader Program 
Through this program you will read a book to hospice patients virtually. It helps to provide these patients with company.

8.United Way / Vello online mentoring program.
United Way agencies use the Vello platform to bring together corporate-based teams of online volunteers to tutor students in classrooms in their area. A company sponsors a classroom at a school in its area and forms a volunteer tutor team to support students at that school. Vello undertakes the background checks for the volunteers, trains them and provides support. Tutors login to the classroom schedule and sign up for a 30 min reading session. Volunteers commit to one session each week. Through the Vello platform, which provides screen sharing and audio, tutors and students read e-books, complete comprehension quizzes and write summaries. .

9.TechSoup
You can log into the community at any time and try to help nonprofits and volunteers with questions about software, databases and more.

10.Learning Ally
Many audiobooks are created with text-to-speech software that scans text from computer files and uses synthesized human voices to read the text aloud. However, illustrations or figures used throughout the books are not included. Online volunteers type those figure descriptions into the text, enabling students to receive ALL book material, not just the text.

11.Infinite Family
This is an online mentoring program matching adults and families in the USA with at-risk, impoverished children in South Africa. Minimum age of 21.

12. Treehouse- Volunteer to Tutor Foster Kids
According to the website, “our online tutoring program matches volunteers to work one-on-one with students by providing academic support using video conferencing software. Students request volunteers to help with homework, credit recovery support, senior projects, and more.”

13.Edu-Futuro
Edu-Futuro is seeking volunteers to assist students in grades 6-12 with homework in various academic subjects as well as with ACT/SAT prep. According to the organization, “the move to online, distance learning has the potential to put students with insufficient resources and support at a disadvantage to their peers.”This is a great opportunity to help tutor immigrant and underserved youth.

14.Sertoma Centre Inc
Provide support for nearly 2,000 individuals with developmental and/ or intellectual disabilities and those living with mental illness in Illinois. Clubs help to support the person-centered programming model with personalized group activities. The possibilities of the type of club you can run virtually are numerous- if you have a passion go for it!

15.I’Raise Girls & Boys International
In response to COVID-19 this organization is looking for people to mentor children impacted by COVID-19 and if you are interested please email studentwellness@iraiseinc.org

If anyone is interested in a document outlining more volunteer opportunities do not hesitate to contact journeythedestination@gmail.com I have put together an approximately 12 page document that highlights some of the most interesting and pertinent opportunities for a variety of interests and skill sets.

 

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”

Maya Angelou

Magda Wojtara is Junior at the LSA Honors College at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor on a pre-med track with a major in Neuroscience. In her free time, she write articles, volunteers at a chronic pain outpatient facility with UM Medicine, does research, competes in HOSA, and, of course, enjoys photography and singing. In her spare time she manages her own travel and lifestyle blog: @journeythedestiantion on instagram and journeythedestination.weebly.com

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