National Volunteer Week is April 19-25, 2020, and we are here for it! Let’s give the world as much kindness as we can right now. Virtual volunteering makes it possible for kids and teens to make a difference in the world, even during the pandemic. We’ve gathered information on an awesome volunteer week kick-off event, plus 10 virtual volunteer opportunities perfect for kids in grades 6-12:
Start things off right with this National Volunteer Week kick-off event
Join WE Charity and The Allstate Foundation on April 17th for their virtual WE Global Classroom: Let’s Volunteer Now! to kick off National Volunteer Week and celebrate incredible young people who are taking action and making change.
Learn about innovative ways to volunteer virtually alongside family and friends and discover how to find the right cause and opportunity that works for you. Plus, you’ll get to hear from inspiring young people, special guests, and experts who are finding new and creative ways to support their communities during challenging times. Tune in at 1 pm ET on WE Charity’s Facebook page.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #1: Sew masks for those in need
Right now, there’s a need for reusable cloth medical masks for those in the at-risk population and for people in higher-risk jobs. Kids can easily make the masks by following along with tutorials and can organize donating these to the people who need them most.
Social-emotional learning skill: Social awareness. This volunteer opportunity encourages kids to empathize with those who are at higher risk of getting sick.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #2: Become a virtual tutor
With more kids 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 a virtual volunteer tutor is by letting their teacher 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 feeling 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 kid’s life, or those living at a local nursing home. This helps foster a greater sense of belonging and helps mental health all around. This kind of activity also gives teens practice with 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. Start with something local. One example is to host a fundraiser to purchase gift cards for gasoline to the staff of your local hospital. Here are some great fundraising ideas for teens to try out.
Social-emotional learning skill: Philanthropy. There are many ways to inspire kids to take charge and made an economical difference during this especially challenging time.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #5: Become a pen pal to younger students
There are so many ways to connect with people even when we have to remain physically distant. Bringing back the lost art of writing is a good way to volunteer. Kids and teens can link up to other students in their school board and write letters or emails. Check out our list of virtual pen pal resources to find out how to connect your child with others around the world. Alternatively, kids can say thank you to front line workers by writing letters or drawing pictures.
Social-emotional learning skill: Compassion. Showcasing compassion and empathy are powerful tools for kids and teens.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #6: Start a petition
Young kids and teens can take up a cause for their local town and drive a petition through Change.org . Challenge the kids 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 it’s a great way for kids and teens to see the impact they can have in the world.
Virtual Volunteer Idea #7: Lend your eyesight for the blind or those of low vision
Pairing up with an organization like BeMyEyes will allow sighted volunteers aged 17 pr 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 expiry 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 an 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. Sharing posts from American Red Cross about giving blood, phone numbers for help lines for kids, or accurate information on the coronavirus are all simple, but important ways to help.
Social-emotional learning skill: Decision-making. Being able to sort through information and knowing what is legitimate and what is helpful, fosters the ability to make good social-media decisions in their personal lives.
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 who can help transcribe historical documents and update relevant Wikipedia pages. They can use their love for learning and make an impact in these important organizations.
Social-emotional learning skill: Self-regulation. Being in a virtual volunteer position takes a lot of skills since there’s 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 for 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.