Amanda F. Hall, Ph.D., is assistant director of service-learning and community-engaged research at the Center for Community Engagement and Impact in the VCU Office of the Provost, and director of the Urban Educator Collaborative in the VCU School of Education. Hall earned her Ph.D. in Education with a Concentration in Curriculum, Culture and Change from the VCU School of Education, and she is a member of the VCU SOE Education Alumni Council. Like many of us, she is working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are her Top Five Tips for Virtual Volunteering for Students and Families.
1. There are many opportunities for remote volunteering and philanthropy during a pandemic – think creatively!
Remote volunteering and philanthropy limits exposure while supporting communities and reinforcing the idea of “being one of the helpers.” Here are some great local, national and global virtual opportunities:Headshot of Dr. Amanda Hall taken in 2020. [View Image] [View Image]Dr. Amanda Hall (Courtesy Photo)
2. Filter opportunities by age-appropriateness and technology (logistical) limitations.
If you’re a parent looking for volunteer opportunities with your children, consider opportunities that are relatable for them, such as making TikTok videos to upload and share via #GetWellWorld, a site that aims to help by mobilizing folks like us to create and email Get Well art, writing, music, performances, etc., that are shared with hospital patients battling COVID-19 through the You Will Rise Project. Call a friend or relative to check on them or use Quarantine Chat for free, to safely chat with others experiencing quarantine around the world.
3. Be mindful that not all opportunities are in the best interest of others.
Make sure to vet opportunities carefully to ensure your time and resources are making a positive impact. This should include researching organizations to learn what their mission is, what causes they support, and how their donations are spent. Don’t forget to match your passions and interests to those of the organization! Three good websites to explore for this are:
4. Do your part in the best way you can given the circumstances of social distancing.
Time, financial, or product donations can all make an impact. Practicing gratitude and compassion for others promotes mental health and well-being and now is a great time to reinforce those attributes for yourselves and your children.
5. No amount of support is too small or too great.
There are many opportunities to support our communities no matter where you are! In fact, just staying home and watching TV or reading a book is practicing social distancing and one small civic action you can take to help others in a big way.