By Maciej Politynski
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, students have given up a lot in order to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of disease. One result has been the loss of volunteering and community service opportunities leaving many feeling helpless during the crisis. However, now more necessary than ever are volunteers needed to make an impact on COVID-19 both locally and globally!
Despite it feeling as if we have become more disconnected, there has been an ample expansion in the number of volunteering endeavors being established due to COVID-19. Organizations have been expanding their capacity for volunteers in order to meet the increased demands in working towards their mission during these unprecedented times. Unfortunately, students have voiced that they have been experiencing difficulty with finding ways to help appropriately amidst the current guidelines. Luckily, many organizations have developed protocols to maintain volunteering a safe practice, allowing for students to keep on helping out within their communities. The rise of online opportunities has also made it possible to volunteer from the comfort of your own home.
Throughout the pandemic, you can not only continue to be an active volunteer providing aid on both a local and global scale but also develop skills to add to your resume that are valued by employers stemming from new experiences.
Here are 7 ways that you can get involved!
COVID-19 Resources Canada
COVID-19 Resources is a Canada-wide database bringing together volunteers from all fields with a broad range of skill sets. The volunteer database provides opportunities across Canada for individuals of any background to provide aid varying from COVID-19 data collection and analysis to local food banks needing a helping hand.
United Nations Online Volunteer
The United Nations Online Volunteer program is an online hub for world-wide initiatives surrounding the COVID-19 response alongside many others such as translation, art and design, technology and development, and research. Their opportunities can be filtered by the particular tasks that you are interested in and the number of hours per week among other selections.
Crisis Text Line
The Crisis Text Line provides its volunteers with a way to positively impact the mental health of individuals facing depression, as well as uncertainties with relationships and unemployment, all of which may be particularly prominent during this time of crisis. Crisis Counsellor volunteers can expect to have direct interactions with individuals via text with professionals monitoring conversations in the case of intervention being required. Additionally, this is a great way to develop skills in communication, counseling, and intervention all from the comfort of your home.
For those interested in entrepreneurship, the COVID Accelerator is looking for motivated students to join teams of like-minded individuals developing hardware and software surrounding all aspects of COVID-19. The best part is, anyone with any skill sets can join and provide valuable insights. The COVID Accelerator functions through industry specific channels on Slack, from which you can join in on projects that fit your interests. Have a project in mind already? Share it and watch it gain traction as well.
Translators Without Borders
Are you bilingual? Translators Without Borders is an organization aiming to enhance health care outcomes by combating the barriers of language in medical and crisis situations. From translating public content on COVID-19, to monitoring social media for misinformation in various languages, and providing rapid response translation in crisis-affected countries, your help can provide a wide-scale impact! Alongside this, they are also looking for volunteers for graphic and web design, fundraising, and project management.
Local Food Bank
Food banks are one of the organizations that have remained fully operational, and in fact have been adding volunteers to meet increased demands during these unprecedented times. With many individuals losing employment, they have found it increasingly difficult to support themselves and loved ones. Food banks offer a safe place to go in which individuals can obtain these necessities. Check out your local food bank and inquire about getting involved. Roles can include anything from serving visitors to maintaining databases of current stock.
The Good Neighbour Project
If you would like to provide a helping hand within your community, check out the Good Neighbourhood Project Facebook groups. They are organized by geographical location and provide a space for individuals to search for volunteers willing to provide aid such as delivering groceries to seniors who may be unable to access necessary goods.