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Top 5 Volunteer Opportunities During COVID

By: Charlie Kapinos

Hatred, sickness, and sadness dominate the news daily, these days. We hardly hear anything other than news of atrocious people engaging in acts of hostility and rage, COVID cases increasing, and celebrity deaths. 

In a time where heartache and darkness are amplified, it’s important to give back to keep spirits high and have a sense of fulfillment in a challenging time. With online school being the only thing teenagers do all day, it’s hard to find meaning in the monotonous days. Volunteer opportunities are a way to help others and possibly get some service credit, while also staying happy; it’s a win-win-win! 

According to MentalHealth.org.uk, “Evidence shows that helping others can also benefit our own mental health and wellbeing. For example, it can reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem and happiness.” 

Here is a list of volunteer opportunities for teenagers that are available across the US to relieve stress and bring a smile to your face: 

  • American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has so many opportunities to take part in that don’t even require you to do much work. During COVID, they offer many youth workshops where you can learn about things like New Year’s resolutions or helpful study tips. You can also learn about International Humanitarian Law (IHL), if you’re interested in working for Doctors Without Borders or even being a conflict journalist. Even though you wouldn’t be engaging in traditional acts of “charity,” you are a part of a group of like-minded and kind people. It gives you a sense of family! If you want to get more involved, you can join your local Red Cross Youth Corp where you can lead youth workshops and become even closer with local like-minded teens. 

Volunteer Credit for school? Yes. 

To learn more about Red Cross Youth Program, please click here

To apply to become a Youth Volunteer, please click here

  • Dosomething.org

Dosomething.org is one of the biggest non-profit organizations purely dedicated to getting the youth of America involved in social change. They have over 1 million members and are represented in every single US area code as well as in 131 countries. Using their online platform, youth are encouraged to be a part of their many volunteer, social change, and civic action campaigns to make a real impact in the world. Some of their successful campaigns include Teens For Jeans, Voter Registration, Get The Filter Out, and many others that center around every real-world issue imaginable. During COVID, you can make DIY masks to promote mask wearing for service credit as well as the chance to win $1,000! Another campaign you can be a part of is, Tackle Hunger where you collect and donate non-perishable food items for service credit as well as the chance to win $1,000. They also offer campaigns surrounding mental health, gun violence, LGBTQ+ issues, poverty, and much more.

Volunteer Credit for school? Some campaigns offer it and some don’t.

To learn more about Dosomething.org and how to join, please click here

  • Donate Blankets to the Homeless

The majority of willpower and money in charities and shelters are going to help support the fight surrounding COVID-19 so the basic necessities are being ignored. You could go to the store with a couple of friends and buy a bunch of blankets in bulk (Target, Walmart, and Ross have them for very cheap), then take them over to a homeless shelter OR give them to any homeless person you see. You can find the address of homeless shelters easily online. Make a call to your local homeless shelter to see if they’re accepting physical donations such as blankets. I’m sure they’d be happy to take them!

Volunteer Credit for school? No.

  • Write Thank You Letters to Essential/Health Care Workers

Healthcare workers and essential workers are the sole people that are keeping the world afloat right now. They work long and exhausting hours with little recognition. What better way to show your appreciation than a carefully crafted, handwritten letter?! Introduce yourself and give some words of motivation for them and thank them for their tireless work. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to read a letter that is kind and appreciative towards the work they get little recognition for.  

To submit your letter to an essential worker, please click here

Volunteer Credit for school? No.

  • Become a Virtual Tutor 

Tutors are invaluable to students everywhere. Lots of teachers have trouble adhering to individual learning styles and it’s harder for them to give individual attention. Tutors give us individual attention and help that teachers can’t give. I personally have struggled in certain areas in schools and my tutor throughout the years is more helpful than they will ever know. Now, I get to return the favor to younger students so they can focus on their passions and not worry about school too much. Some schools offer peer tutoring programs directly and some tutoring programs you have to join outside of school. Do some research to see what is offered in your city.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, check out BH Tutoring where you can tutor younger students of all ages.

Volunteer Credit for school? Depends on the program/service.

Whatever volunteer opportunity you choose to take part in, I have no doubt that you will feel more fulfilled and joyful. Staying active and happy during these dark times is important and remember, “Evidence shows that helping others can also benefit our own mental health and wellbeing.” We all need better mental health right now. Happy volunteering!

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