There are many challenges facing our teens today with all the changes to their typical day to day lives. One in particular is the fact that most high school students have a service hours requirement. They may need the service hours simply to graduate, but many also need them for scholarships and to enhance their college applications.
However, if your teen is under 16, those volunteer hours can be hard to come by even when things are business as usual. But also, now with concerns about their safety, things are even more complicated.
There is a solution. Online and From Home Service Projects and Volunteer Work. Now, colleges REALLY love to see teenagers taking initiative and creating their own service projects. So, you might challenge your teen to see what they can come up with all on their own. Could they help seniors in their neighborhood with repairs or yardwork or even some errands that aren’t safe for them to do right now? What about offering to do virtual reading times with kids in their family to help give working from home parents a break? Do they have an elderly relative in a assisted living facility or nursing home that might appreciate letters for the other residents who can’t see loved ones right now? There are many hidden needs in our communities right now that are just waiting for someone to take the first step and find a way to help.
But, being real here, many teens need a little push and more structure when it comes to getting those volunteer hours. So, if you want to get the ball rolling, here are some great suggestions for ways teens can get service hours either online or from home. Have them take a look and see if one feels like a good fit.
How Teens Can Get Service Hours Online And From Home
- Subtitle and translate TED Talks to bring ideas to others.
- You can adopt a grandparent and have virtual video calls to keep their spirits high
- All For Good provides a search engine to help identify and locate volunteer opportunities across numerous organizations and communities with many online options.
- Color A Smile is a nonprofit organization that distributes cheerful drawings to Senior Citizens, Troops Overseas, and anyone in need of a smile. Every month it mails thousands of new drawings to all the people on their mailing list. ANYONE can volunteer to color and help spread smiles!
- Help coordinate events and participate in sessions with HerHandshake
- Help those with learning disabilities with Learning ally
- Zooniverse gives people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to participate in real research with over 50 active online citizen science projects. Work with 1.6 million registered users around the world to contribute to research projects led by hundreds of researchers.
- Teens Give gives students opportunities to tutor peers online.
- Bookshare offers thousands of books to people with reading disabilities. As an online volunteer, you can either scan books to be added to the collection or edit books that have been scanned.
- UPchieve is a free online platform matching low-income high school students in the U.S. with volunteer coaches. Coaches provide either math tutoring or basic college advice to help students improve their grades, academic motivation and chances of going to college. As one of UPchieve’s students put it, UPchieve is “lit very cool.”
- IMAlive is a live online crisis service from the Kristin Brooks Hope Center, To Write Love On Her Arms and PostSecret. Online volunteers must be at least 18 years old (16 with parents notarized consent), complete at least 20 hours of training and a series of tests and screenings, and be willing to commit to responding four hours a week for one year, or eight hours a week for six months. You also must pay—or fundraise—to cover training and support costs.
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