Summer Plans for High Schools Students: Volunteer Opportunities

by | May 14, 2020

A resource for volunteer ideas while maintaining social distance. The last few ideas are virtual activities that are not volunteer.

  1. Assisting the elderly with buying groceries. Students could organize this through neighborhood associations, churches/mosques, synagogues, other service associations, such as The Lions Club or Interact Clubs or Honor Societies at their school, and/or social media, using sites such as NextDoor, or help expand Invisible Hands to your area. CNN has already reported on one teen who has organized this kind of effort and volunteers are starting to offer to perform these services on Craigslist: here, here and here.
  2. Providing social connection with the elderly who are sheltering in place. One existing organization is making remote “Social Calls” to the elderly.
  3. There is also a current desperate need for masks for healthcare workers. #MillionMaskMayday even tells you how you can make them yourself so you can donate them. Better still, crowdsource all of the Californians you know who got N-95 masks during the wildfires and donate them to people who really need them This political PAC is currently accepting donations to order masks and donate them to hospitals in NYC.
  4. Doing remote volunteer tutoring for younger children whose school has also been canceled — again, students could use Nextdoor, social media, community organizations, and even their own teachers to find elementary school teaching colleagues who might spread the word and contact parents who might find it useful to have a teen help children with homework, teach lessons or activities, or just read-aloud remotely through an organization like Quarantutors. The Bay Area Tutoring Association might be a useful resource. Again, listings for this service are already appearing on Craigslist. Many companies, such as Khan Academy offer valuable resources. Other websites list multiple links to educational resource companies offering free access and other educational resources during this crisis.
  5. Even students on lockdown can organize virtual fundraisers (virtual concerts or other performances? poetry slams? offer online ballet, karate or taekwondo classes?) or teach online classes/tutor for younger children to help parents and donate the proceeds, organizing friends to help who are also stuck at home. list,
  6. Remote political volunteering. While the coronavirus crisis is ongoing, our 2020 Election political process continues. Students can volunteer to increase voter turnout through organizations such as Rock the Vote, which offers opportunities that can be done remotely, which offers remote volunteer internships, and Postcards to Voters, which can be written at home.
  7. Students with programming skills can do home-based coding for nonprofits that need help through organizations such as Code for Social Good, Benetech, or DonateCode. These students could also help develop apps or websites for some of the efforts listed above: helping coordinate neighborhood food service to the elderly, and/or families looking for remote tutors. Or help the people who are helping the rest of us through a Facebook group like Australia’s Adopt a Healthcare Worker and #ViralKindness , which started in England.

Some non-volunteer activities:

  1. Brush up on foreign language skills through Slow News in French or News in Slow Spanish — students already know current events; these sites give them familiar content spoken more slowly in the languages they’re studying in school so non-native speakers can follow along.
  2. Do “remote science” through the projects listed here: Citizen Science projects. This website has a searchable database of projects, some, like this one, looking for images of sea lions in photographs. There are even “crowdsourced history” projects
  3. Take an online course or learn to code online through IXL, Udemy, Coursera, EdX, Harvard online courses in Social Sciences, Stanford online courses, and Great Courses of the World. Or access the free resources of OpenCulture for ebooks and audiobooks or all of the TEDTalks. The Facebook group Amazing Educational Resources has assembled a pretty comprehensive listing of resources that companies are now allowing everyone to use for free during this crisis.
  4. Or do test prep for AP tests at Fiveable or use Crack ACT practice tests and free practice tests on the SAT CollegeBoard website
  5. Tour an online museum:,,,,, and
  6. American Red Cross needs blood donations org/giveblood.html
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