April is Volunteer Appreciation Month! Volunteering looks different in a world that requires social distancing amid COVID-19 concerns. However, the need for volunteers and their positive impacts remains strong. Our communities, both locally and globally, still lean on volunteers. How can you make a difference from home? Here are a few ideas.
Many local school districts have launched programs to feed children breakfast and lunch while school is not in session. Each district is different, but might be seeking assistance. Check with your local school district for opportunities to help.
Are you an animal lover? Local animal shelters are looking for support due to COVID-19 restrictions. Call your local shelter and ask about their opportunities to foster. Pets make perfect companions as we practice physical distancing.
Local communities need help working to ensure the elderly continue to have meals. Reach out to your local Meals on Wheels to find opportunities to help.
Reach out to a retirement home offering virtual interactions and schedule a time to participate. You could share a talent like singing, dancing, playing instruments, or just have a conversation. Not into performing? These communities may also be accepting cards and art. These could make for a great at-home art class project for both adults and children.
Helping neighbors doesn’t have to require contact. Have you tried using the app NextDoor to see if anyone needs help? If you know your neighbors and you’re making a run to the grocery store, see if they need something.
Across the nation, front windows and porches are being decorated with stuffed animals. Families are using these small touches to spark conversations as people walk for exercise through their communities. Do you have a bear hunt happening in your neighborhood? If not, contact your neighbors and plan something similar in your community.
Do you have a skill set that could be useful in this stressful time? If you can lead an exercise class, a yoga class, a meditation session, a cooking class, or simply read a book, share your skill. It may help others at home with ideas and activities to practice while in quarantine.
The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum complex, composed of 18 museums, nine research centers, a zoo, and libraries. Virtual volunteers are used on two main projects: updating Wikipedia pages and transcribing historical documents.
The Red Cross utilizes volunteers to monitor online discussions to find people and areas that need assistance. Volunteers also share updates on social media.
The United Nations (UN) connects volunteers with organizations worldwide that need assistance with editing, translation, technology services, research, and advocacy.
Amnesty Decoders is a global network of volunteers that give their time researching and exposing human rights violations.
Catchafire makes it easy to "give what you’re good at.” It allows professionals to volunteer their skills to mission-driven organizations in need of talent.
Translators Without Borders gathers translators from around the world offering language and translation support for humanitarian and development agencies and non-profit organizations globally.
The Be My Eyes app connects volunteers with blind and low-vision people to provide visual assistance.
Bookshare is an eBook library that helps simplify reading for people with reading barriers such as dyslexia, learning disabilities, and visual impairments. You can volunteer with Bookshare by scanning, proofreading text, and describing images for the tool's users.
Career Village is an online community that allows you to volunteer by providing personalized career advice and guidance to students and professionals just getting started in their careers.
Volunteering is a great way to spend time getting involved with your local community. Contact your installation Volunteer Coordinator for information on volunteer opportunities and assistance tracking your volunteer hours.
Remember that practicing social distancing, doesn’t mean you should also socially isolate. But you will have to be more intentional about social connectedness. What is social connectedness?
New beginnings, and times during summer breaks are a perfect time to volunteer!
Whether you’re single or a geographic bachelor, the Single Marine Program (SMP) provides a place to bond with other Marines while having fun and making a difference.