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The Holidays are the perfect time to start setting new family traditions that revolve around giving back to your community and beyond. While this year might look a little different, there are still many safe and impactful ways to lend a helping hand that can make a huge difference to those in need from the comfort of your home. If you don't have tangible resources to give right now, you can still offer expertise in art, design, translating, support, and more!
In addition to these recommendations, continue to seek out ways to partner with local charities in your community that are doing life-changing work the whole year through.
Utilize Your Special Skillsets Through UN Online Volunteering
The United Nations offers countless virtual volunteering opportunities to assist non-profits around the globe. Regardless of what your skillset may be, you can contribute through art, design, writing, technology, translation, teaching and more.
Reduce Isolation for an Elder through FriendshipWorks
FriendshipWorks has worked to reduce social isolation for 36 years by matching volunteers to senior citizens in need of help around their homes. While this took place in Boston formerly, new virtual opportunities allow volunteers around the country to support elders with regular phone calls, and virtual visiting through online technology.
Become an Online Ambassador for a Nonprofit
One unique way to volunteer virtually is by becoming an online ambassador for a nonprofit. Make a list of the nonprofits you follow or believe are making great impact in your community, and see if they offer a Social Media Ambassador program. Through this opportunity, nonprofits provide social media toolkits that you can use to post about the organization on your platforms and raise awareness.
Transcribe Incredible Moments in History With Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
Help make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible, by becoming a "volunpen", transcribing field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, audio recordings and more. If you are interested in learning more about what you are transcribing, you can attend virtual office hours - This is a great way to get the kids involved and learn a history lesson in the process.
Put Translating Skills to Work at Translators Without Borders
If you are fluent in more than one language, you can put your linguistic skills to use by volunteering to translate texts for nonprofits and NGOs. This organization's states that their aim is to "close the language gaps that hinder critical humanitarian efforts worldwide".
Help Out the Visually Impaired and Blind with Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes matches volunteers with the visually impaired and blind. Over video chat, you can help them identify items around their home, such as the labels for a food package, checking expiry dates, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings.
Adopt a Nursing Home
The Texas Health Care Association allows virtual volunteers to send letters of encouragements or online messages to both residents and employees. This is especially essential in a time when many senior citizens are missing visiting time with their loved ones.
Record Audiobooks at Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a platform designed for visually impaired and blind students, or those with reading disabilities like dyslexia. You can volunteer to record popular fiction audiobooks and help bring them to life. If narrating isn't your cup of tea, you can still volunteer to listen to the books that have been recorded and make sure there are no mispronunciations.
Help Students Learn About Their Dream Career Through Career Village
Career Village connects volunteers with students who want to work in the same career when they grow up. For instance, if you are an interior designer, you can answer questions on a public forum about what your day is like and how you got to where you are today in your career. Students remain anonymous, and can also ask questions about building resumes, budgets and more.
Find Endless Possibilities on Volunteer Match
Volunteer Match offers countless volunteer opportunities at the local level, but many have moved online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out what is going on in your area, and see if there may be a way you can get plugged in to help out from home.
Play a Part in Connecting Generations Through Storii Time
Storii Time connects senior citizens with school-aged children and their parents for an interactive story time. This is a great activity for both parties, as it allows kids to have a fun storytelling experience at a time when many schools are working virtually, while giving senior citizens who may not be able to see all of their loved ones right now, a way to connect and engage. Both parties can volunteer for this opportunity.
Partner with a Local Toy or Food Drive
Finally, partner with a local toy or food drive to lend a helping hand in your community, and promote their efforts virtually on your social media account. It only takes a moment to share a promotion online, but the results can go a long way for helping get the word out where you live. Many of these organizations leave no-contact drop off boxes as well to promote safety.