Students worried about volunteering


Junior Madison Donnelly searches for volunteer opportunities, Eagle photo by Ella Harris

Students are worried about having less volunteering opportunities this year, and here is what they can do to get those coveted hours.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on August 9 that all K-12 schools would be reopened in accordance with social distancing procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now that school has been back in session for weeks, students are beginning to worry about the next obstacle on the horizon: volunteering opportunities. 

In-person volunteering opportunities seem to be nonexistent in this new normal. As students scramble for answers, online volunteering has offered a fair solution. Students commonly need volunteering hours for student council and National Honor Society, and it can be used for experience as students prepare to head off to college. Now that COVID-19 has taken over, students are wondering where they can find these precious opportunities.

National Honor Society Adviser Annalesa Anderson has an answer to these worries.

“So far we are working with ‘’ and basically what you can do is go on and sign up and add yourself as a student to GlenOak, and they have what they call a bunch of different campaigns,” Anderson said. “You really get to choose what you do.” is known as a global non-profit that has a wide variety of online volunteering opportunities to take advantage of. They have an extensive selection of campaigns, ranging from social justice projects to item collections.

Although this is a great online opportunity available, countless students remain unaware of the possibility of volunteering on the web.

“I wasn’t aware of online volunteering until now,” junior Claytin Sweeney said. “I would be interested, mainly because I need hours for various things.”

The major hurdle for students is surfing the web and engaging with reliable opportunities. Students often get disheartened by the lack of guidance the web has to offer concerning this new form of volunteering. They quickly lose interest and lack the information needed to succeed.

Despite this, teachers remain confident that students will be able to adapt to this new environment and succeed.

“Kids are pretty resilient, so they make it work when they have to,” Anderson said. “I don’t necessarily think that all of them are going to like it, but I think it is better than nothing. It might take a little bit of time to get used to, but I think in the end it will be good.” 

This analysis has proven to be true, as students continue to reach towards their goals for the year. That goal is to fulfill volunteering requirements that allows students to prepare for college, sign up for academic letters, and take important scholarship opportunities.

Now that these online opportunities are beginning to take over, students are wondering if hours will be limited to accommodate for these changes. 

“Online volunteering is much more limited than in person, and there likely is not enough for everyone to do online volunteering,” junior Brandon Bartos said. “Hours are stretched thin this year and it is impractical to make everyone get the same amount as usual.” 

Unfortunately, nothing has been mentioned about cutting hour requirements for students thus far. While it may seem harrowing at first, it all feeds into the idea of students adapting to a new environment. This new environment has caused a fair amount of students to get overwhelmed by the amount of choices that are available to them, and many do not know where to start.

“In the end, I believe that kids are going to find a lot of unique ways to complete hours,” Anderson said. “In the end, it is still service hours, so they are still providing service to those who need it.” 

For instance, it is possible to become a Smithsonian digital volunteer. Students can take up the challenge of adding important updates to the Smithsonian’s extensive collections, transcribing historical documents or editing pages to be more historically accurate.

Bookworms will be excited to know about Project Gutenberg. This virtual volunteering site was started in 1971 as a way to create the world’s largest digital library. Volunteers can take their part through donations, transcribing work and by proofreading the work of others.

These programs, and many others, are a small percentage of what is out there for students to complete in their free time. There truly is a volunteering opportunity out there for everyone. While some opportunities may be different than expected, it is good for students to step out of their comfort zone and help themselves grow as people.

“It is just different. It is not harder, it is not easier, it is just different. Just being able to adapt and get used to the new normal and being open-minded is really what is going to get us through this,” Anderson said.

While it is normal to worry about what lies ahead, the future of online volunteering looks bright, and it is here to stay.