Service has never been more important! Schools continue to modify and adapt their service program to account for the changes COVID-19 has brought to the education system. But one thing that hasn't changed, is students' drive to serve others and impact the world around them.
While certain in-person service activities may not be possible right now, there are still so many service opportunities available to students. Many service programs have modified their requirements to allow more indirect service or have expanded what counts as service to account for COVID-19.
Check out this list of virtual and socially distant service opportunities:
- Connect and have regular Zoom calls with a resident at an assisted living home
- Volunteer to landscape at your home
- Host a virtual talent show
- Virtual 5K to raise money and awareness for local organizations
- Work in a community garden
- Cook meals for the family
- Tutor younger siblings
- Write letters of encouragement to school administration, members of the military, and healthcare workers
- Bring flowers or goodies to a local nursing home
- Write chalk messages on the sidewalks and create hope rocks for neighbors
- Donate to or assist at local food bank
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter
- Use recycled supplies to create dog toys or use recycled fabric to create no sew blankets and donate them to local animal shelters
- Host a Zoom workout class in an exercise or sport you are interested in
- Go grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor or immunocompromised neighbor that can't go to the store themselves
Advocacy as Service
Many service leaders have encouraged students to discover issues or causes they care about. Here are some ways service leaders are encouraging civic engagement and accepting service through advocacy:
- Writing letters to congressmen and senators
- Learning and reflecting on social issues in that student's community
- Understanding the importance and impact of voting
- Watching documentaries and Ted Talks about current issues and writing reflection essays on what the student learned
- Volunteering with local political campaigns
In addition to advocacy, there are so many unique needs in every community. This is a time where service leaders can empower students to find creative solutions to issues they identify in their communities and allow students to propose their own service projects.
Have a student create their own service project, provide you with a proposal of the project, and decide how many hours the project is worth.
National Organizations that Offer Online Service Opportunities
Connect with Local Nonprofits
Encourage students to reach out to local nonprofits to see what virtual or low contact service opportunities they might have. As nonprofit organizations modify their processes to account for COVID-19, they might have changing needs that students can help with.
The Importance of Reflection
Reflecting on service experiences enables students to think critically about their work, how it impacted them, how it impacted the community, and what they took away from it. As students do more indirect service during this time, reflection is vital to the service learning process. Here are some reflection prompts to consider sharing with your students:
- How did this experience positively benefit the receiving party?
- Why was this service project important to the group of people or organization you assisted?
- What part of this service experience stood out to you the most and why?
- How can you assist this person, group, or organization going forward?
- What did you learn about yourself, your community and others as a result of this service experience?
- How does your understanding of the community change as a result of your participation in this project?
How to Track Virtual Service
Now more than ever, online learning resources are a must for students and administrators, and service tracking is no different! By taking service tracking online, school administrators have more control and access to student service data than ever before, while students have one central place to record their service experiences and reflections. Watch a demo of x2VOL and see how you can take service tracking completely online.