Volunteering is an essential part of many high school students’ lives. Aside from being an excellent opportunity for community engagement, it provides valuable experience for college applications and fulfills service requirements for many high school organizations, such as the National Honor Society and Boy Scouts.  

However, volunteering has become more difficult as a result of the social distancing measures put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it had been relatively easy to find volunteer opportunities at local food banks, animal shelters or any number of nonprofits, many organizations have placed restrictions on volunteer activity.  

Fortunately, staying safe during the pandemic doesn’t have to mean sacrificing community service. For high schoolers who are willing to get creative, here are a few virtual or socially distanced volunteer opportunities:

  • Tutor virtually. Tutors are always in high demand. Fortunately, organizations such as TeensGive.org have risen to the challenge of making tutors available to students in the virtual space. They work to pair high school tutors with students from underserved communities, as well as offering other volunteer opportunities such as teaching ESL classes to adults or keeping seniors company. 
  • Write letters. Letter writing is an underappreciated art that’s largely gone out of style. However, snail mail can provide a valuable opportunity to help others. Consider working with organizations such as More Love Letters or Love For Our Elders to provide comfort and human connection to people struggling with isolation and loneliness. The best part: you can do your volunteer hours from home! 
  • Donate handmade supplies to animal shelters. Aside from food and kitty litter, shelters need lots of supplies to keep their animals happy and healthy. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make dog toys and cat scratchers from materials you have laying around the house. Note: be sure to check with your shelter to see what they need and whether they have any restrictions on the items they accept.

Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. Kiwanis club members look at the needs of children in their community and decide on projects that will benefit local kids the most. By coming together with others in your area, you can begin to make your community a better place for everyone in it. Reach out to your local Kiwanis club today to get involved!