During tough times, we need to do everything we can to spread kindness. Despite our own struggles, it’s important to teach youth about the significance of giving back. Fortunately, there are many great opportunities for making a difference without ever leaving home. Here are some virtual volunteer ideas for teens that they can do right now.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #1: Sew masks for those in need
There’s an ongoing need for reusable cloth medical masks for those in the at-risk population and for people in higher-risk jobs. Teens can easily make the masks by following along with tutorials and then organize donations to the people who need them most.
Social-emotional learning skill: Social awareness. This volunteer opportunity encourages teens to empathize with those who are at higher risk of getting sick.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #2: Become a virtual tutor
With more students across the country shifting to online learning, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in helping anyone struggling with school. The simplest way for teens to become virtual volunteer tutors is by letting their teachers know they are available. Teens can also check out sites like TeensGive.org.
Social-emotional learning skill: Community building. Becoming more involved in the school system helps foster a greater sense of community.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #3: Play games with seniors over video
There are many vulnerable populations who currently feel isolated, and this is especially true for seniors who aren’t able to have visitors. Set up a virtual game night or hangout with the seniors in your teen’s life or those living at a local nursing home.
This helps foster a greater sense of belonging and improves mental health all around. This kind of activity also gives kids practice calling someone and organizing an activity—both of which are important long term life skills. Teens can read more on SeniorsLiving.org.
Social-emotional learning skill: Empathy. Volunteering with seniors helps foster feelings of empathy and focus on the needs of others.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #4: Start a fundraiser
There are plenty of organizations that need funds right now. Don’t know where to begin? Start with something local. One example is to host a fundraiser towards the purchase of gift cards for gasoline to donate to the staff of your local hospital. Here are some other great fundraising ideas for teens to try out.
Social-emotional learning skill: Goal-setting. This is a great way to help students find meaning by learning how to clarify and establish concrete goals.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #5: Become a penpal to younger students
There are so many ways to connect with people while continuing to remain physically distant. Bringing back the lost art of letter writing is one of the coolest virtual volunteer ideas for teens.
They can link up to other students in their school district and write letters or emails. Check out our list of virtual pen pal resources to find out how to connect your teen with others around the world. Alternatively, they can say thank you by writing letters to front line workers.
Social-emotional learning skill: Compassion. Showcasing compassion and empathy are powerful tools for teens.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #6: Start a petition
Teens can take up a cause for their local town and drive a petition through Change.org. Challenge our youth to think locally by focusing on their school or community.
Social-emotional learning skill: Relationship skills and decision-making. Wanting to enact change takes a lot of planning and is a great way for teens to see the impact they can have in the world.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #7: Lend your eyesight to the blind or those of low vision
Pairing up with an organization like BeMyEyes will allow sighted volunteers aged 17 or older to directly help a blind or low-vision person with daily tasks.
Teens can sign up to get paired with a person in need. That person might need help with tasks like checking expiration dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions, or navigating new surroundings.
Social-emotional learning skill: Empathy. Being able to see the challenges others face and help them directly fosters understanding and empathy for others.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #8: Share social media posts for important actions
For teens with social media profiles, sharing important information from health officials or other community organizations is a great way for them to help virtually.
Social-emotional learning skill: Analyzing problems. This encourages students to develop, strategize, and implement complex tasks.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #9: Sign up to help transcribe historical documents or update Wikipedia pages
If an older teen is into history, there are some interesting volunteer opportunities with the Smithsonian helping to transcribe historical documents and update relevant Wikipedia pages. They can use their love for learning and make an impact on these important organizations.
Social-emotional learning skill: Self-regulation. Being in a virtual volunteer position takes a lot of skills as there is no one overseeing you directly.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #10: Sew blankets and put together care bags
There are so many kids in need, and comfort items like blankets can make a big difference. Volunteering with an organization like BinkyPatrol is a great way to give back. Right now, they’re also looking for donations of cloth masks as well.
Social-emotional learning skill: Social-awareness. Understanding and being able to look at the needs of others is a big factor in volunteering.
Resources for Virtual Projects
Looking for additional resources for virtual projects for students? Check out these ideas, trainings, and resources to help you plan virtual volunteer, community service, or service-learning projects.