Article By: Piper Kirk
While it’s no longer a graduation requirement, volunteer work is still an extremely important activity for high school students. Not only does it add to a college or job application, but it can also teach essential life skills that will assist in career opportunities. In the current state of our world and community, volunteering can be difficult to come by while still remaining safe and following guidelines. Luckily, there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities that one can do simply from their computer.
One way that students can find these activities is through a website called Catchafire. It allows one to shift through thousands of opportunities, sorting them by level of experience, specific interests and time commitments. Students could invest in a three-month project, or spend an hour or so making phone calls. It all depends on what you want to do.
There’s a short application process in order to use the website, and some of the larger and more complex opportunities require interviews so that the organizations can see if a student is the right fit for what the volunteer work requires. However, much of what one will come across on the website can be accomplished without the interview and all of the hassle that comes with big projects.
There are also other specific sites that routinely need volunteers. The Smithsonian takes volunteers to help transcribe their many historical documents in order to make them more accessible along with editing through Wikipedia pages on artifacts and research. Additionally, Zooniverse is a website that runs on their online volunteers – more than a million of them – researching and working on projects to advance science and technology. They work with researchers who guide them in specific projects and moderate their research.
Members of Santa Rosa High School’s Key Club have been persistent in their volunteer efforts despite the hardships of this year, doing both online and in-person work. They’ve volunteered at events at Just Between Friends, a children-oriented consignment store, and found other ways online to help others.
“We really try to encourage the members to do solo volunteer work if they are comfortable attending group events!” says club president Arpana Tamang. “However, I would say most of our volunteer work is online. Websites the club has been using include freerice and beanbeanbean. On those sites, you take simple multiple choice quizzes, and the money generated from the ad revenue is donated to families in need.
“Our member count has definitely dwindled this year,” Tamang continues. But despite their low numbers, the club remains positive for future opportunities. “What stayed the same [during the pandemic] was Key Club’s spirit to help the community… we tried to the best of our abilities to give back to the community and although it was not the same as previous years we are still trying out best to give the community our all.”
There are so many online volunteering opportunities for students who want to take initiative and expand their knowledge and skills by helping others. Key Club is a great way to start looking for those opportunities, and there are hundreds of other resources to help you along the way. While it may seem like a daunting task, there’s something out there for everyone — you just need to find it.