- Kamtoya Oteke
Earning Hours from Your Desk
All DCPS high schools require that graduating students complete at least 100 hours of community service. Split over four years of high school, 100 hours does not seem so daunting of a task. Not only does volunteering help your admissions chances (and sometimes fulfill an admissions requirement) when applying to colleges, but it also allows you to connect with your community and contribute to a cause you care about.
Some non-profits are still allowing people to volunteer in person, so long as they are properly masked and remain socially distanced. The Salvation Army, a non-profit Christian charity, also allows people to drop off care packages with non-perishable and canned foods, sanitizing supplies, socks, hats, gloves, toiletries, and more.
But not everyone feels up to volunteering in-person, or confident that it can be done safely, and there are even more options for volunteering online. As many nonprofits are moving to online platforms, previously unnoticed virtual volunteering options are getting more volunteers. Bookshare.org, an e-book library, allows volunteers of fifteen years or older to scan and edit books in their collection to help people with reading difficulties like dyslexia. LibriVox creates free audiobooks: Volunteers can record themselves reading public-domain books in all languages. Smithsonian Institute volunteers transcribe historical documents and data to make them more accessible online.
Artistically inclined people can take advantage of the more creative side of these volunteering options. Your Art Your Story is a nonprofit organization focused on families affected by suicide loss and attempts that has their volunteers write posts about suicide-prevention and self-care, amongst other things, as well as having artists share their art with the world.
There are volunteering options for social change as well. Global Kids DC and Mighty Greens both help their volunteers build a better understanding of issues facing their community and work towards solving them.
There are plenty of volunteering options specifically for DCPS students that are not directly correlated with any nonprofits or charity work, but which will still make a difference in your community. TeensGive allows volunteers to virtually tutor a 4th to 10th grader for one hour a week. DCPS students can also create a five to seven page coloring book teaching elementary school children about healthy hygiene habits and preventing the spread of Covid-19 for seven hours of community service. A graphic novel about overcoming the coronavirus earns the volunteer ten hours, and a musical selection focused on staying healthy and making good choices counts as five hours.
Outside of community-service hours for school, people can make differences simply by deciding to volunteer their own time to help someone else. Volunteering can be anything from tutoring someone weekly to creating cards for the elderly. As long as your effort is specific, directed, and community-oriented, you can trust that you’re doing your part.