Helping out doesn’t have to mean leaving the house, and it can be a good way to boost your wellbeing and even your resume.
By staying home and practicing social distancing to the best of your ability, you are doing your part to help protect your health and the health of others. As the days at home keep passing by (and public officials tell us this may be the reality for some time), you might get that Groundhog Day feeling.
There are ways for you to create dynamic change, from right where you are. Your couch can become the launching pad for a new way to engage with communities and causes you care about.
In a survey, Canadians said volunteer work (34%) and being kind and generous to others (26%) topped the list of actions that make them personally feel like good citizens. Volunteering also just feels good, with research showing it can boost self-esteem and overall health.
With the added pressure of COVID-19 straining the resources at many charities and nonprofits, new volunteer needs have emerged. National Volunteer Week is fittingly coming up on April 19. It could be a great time to start sharing your time or simply applauding those who are generously giving theirs.
Here are some thoughts to get you going…
Help meet COVID-19 needs
Kids Help Phone was mentioned by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as an important resource for young people, especially as some may be experiencing fear and anxiety around the current pandemic. If you have more time to spare and are willing to commit to a 36-hour training, you can be someone at the end of the phoneline for kids seeking support.
Through April 24th, the Canadian federal government is recruiting volunteers to help from their homes with COVID-19 related work: including “case tracking and contact tracing; health system surge capacity; and case data collection and reporting.” Apply online and you will be contacted if you are selected to join the effort.
You can also consider thanking health workers by doing a kind gesture like posting a thank-you sign in your window, cheering them on during your city’s 7:00 p.m. cheer, or lending your ear to someone you know who works in the industry. The New York Times has some great tips on how to help #healthcareheroes, who are doing the enormously selfless work of treating those ill with COVID-19.
Another thought is to step away from the computer and hand write letters to nursing homes in your neighbourhoods. This could be a way to ease the loneliness of those missing out on their regular visits from family and friends. Reach out to the facility first to see if letters are welcome.
Give your valuable skills and insight
Of course, there are many other reasons and ways to donate your time online. You can find an opportunity that aligns with your expertise and interest.
Do you have an eye for detail? Help proofread books for Project Gutenberg.
Take a test online to help an international team of researchers with Harvard University’s Project Implicit uncover people’s hidden biases or stereotyped thinking.
Volunteer online with the United Nations for a range of projects. You can look for opportunities for individuals located globally or within Canada, with weekly commitments range from one hour to over 20.
Got some skills that could help a nonprofit (like web programming, communications, or business development)? Check out opportunities to add to your resume through Cuso International.
The commitment to volunteer can involve a lot to a little, depending on your capacity and motivation. There is no shame in starting small. At Charitable Impact, we strongly believe in starting from where you are and using what you have available.
Some of us are struggling with increased pressures at home and are already having a hard time getting through the tasks of the day. The emotional toll of our shifting collective reality is not insignificant. Let’s be kind to others and ourselves.
Above all, we hope you stay healthy and safe.