Note: This VolunteerMatch Young Ambassador Series post is written by Abelard Lormond. The Ambassador series blogs offer practical insights into causes and volunteer opportunities championed by VolunteerMatch or members of our partner network, to provide personal insight and shine a light on the unique work of our nonprofit partners.
As we ease into 2021, we still struggle with an ongoing pandemic, and COVID limits many activities that involve physically being with one another. The virus has also shut down many places such as schools and people’s workplaces. Fortunately, through several forms of volunteer work, many people who are struggling have the chance to keep on going or bounce back from the negative effects that the pandemic has brought about to their everyday lives as well as their communities. Here are 3 ways to help:
1. Help Out Children Who Have Been Displaced From Their Schools
New York: Help Solve the Literacy Crisis as a High School, Middle School or Elementary School Artist: American Youth Literacy Foundation Opportunity - VolunteerMatch
Via the VolunteerMatch website, I was able to find a cause that sheds some light on the many children who have been displaced from their schools due to the coronavirus. The non-profit group has stated that tens of millions of kids have been displaced. With that many children no longer able to obtain learning from traditional school, the future of a large percentage of our young people’s education is at stake. In fact, many of these kids and their parents have already given up furthering any learning.
Thanks to the American Youth Literacy Foundation, that will no longer have to be the case, as they have spent several years developing an app that teaches kids (and adults, even) how to read! The app is simple to use and convenient for its users. Kids can learn from the comfort of their homes and stay safe during the pandemic. But: they need the help of volunteers, since the app is still brand new. Volunteers will help make the app even more user friendly and are also needed to help with marketing it and getting it into students’ hands. They need intelligent, creative, outgoing, and optimistic individuals who are able to speak and listen, comfortably, in a virtual environment -- via Zoom, phone calls, and emails.
2. Help Build Garden Beds and Hoop Houses
Seeds in the Middle is a non-profit organization focused on shedding some light on communities of color that are struggling to obtain the proper nutrition in order to help fight off against the coronavirus. These neighborhoods are what they refer to as “food deserts,” areas where fruits and vegetables are too far away to get to conveniently, or too expensive.
This group wants our help with building farm stands with gardens inside of schools in Central Brooklyn’s poorest neighborhoods. Volunteers can help out by contributing to the building of several garden beds and hoop houses or even by providing the needed tools and materials to complete such a task. Seeds in the Middle even holds small farm stands where students sell fruits and veggies for affordable prices and accept alternatives to cash, such as EBT and food stamps.
For this group, work is usually done on Wednesdays, starting at 10:30 AM (EST) and ending at 3:30 PM (EST). Occasionally, there is even weekend work.
3. Coach a Child with a Chronic Illness
Fun virtual opportunity to coach a skill you love to a Brooklyn child with a chronic illness: CoachArt Opportunity - VolunteerMatch
Coach Art is a group that specializes in teaching children with chronic illnesses virtually about one of their hobbies. Volunteers are invited to coach a child and share the joy of your hobby with them — for example, if you enjoy cooking or playing an instrument, you can help one of these children to learn the guitar or make a tasty dish, all from the comfort of home. This group asks for no more than one hour a week for eight weeks of coaching. That kind of quick volunteering activity gives us all enough time to handle anything else we need to handle — including helping out other causes — while also having fun and teaching a child some useful skills!
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