Volunteering with Social Distancing
As our community continues to social distance and shelter in place to protect one another from the COVID-19 virus, organizations are developing ways for individuals and families to help their global community from home. This Virtual Volunteering growth is connecting volunteers with organizations and programs in their local community and across the world through a variety of digital platforms. Whether you are looking to mentor youth or budding entrepreneurs, hoping to assist refugees with translation services, or lift the spirits of senior citizens who may now be isolated from friends or family – there are many options emerging to allow you to lend a hand from the safety and comfort of your living room.
Your Local Community (Orange, Osceola, Seminole counties)
HFUW / 211 Social Media Ambassador
Follow Heart of Florida United Way on social media and share information about the services provided for ALICE households in our tri-county area. Additionally, HFUW will soon be posting activities and challenges for you to volunteer and uplift those in your community from the safety of your home.
Social Media Links:
AdventHealth Words of Thanks
As our world faces uncertain and unprecedented times, AdventHealth would like to provide a way for our partners and community members to say thank you to the healthcare workers who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Central Florida. How would you like to say thank you to the nurses, doctors, and other staff members that are working to keep our community healthy? It could be through words, art or song, and can be as polished or organic as you’d like it to be. If you are willing to participate, we would ask that you record a message on your phone, 10-15 seconds long, holding your phone vertically, and send it to Michael.Barbara@adventhealth.com. From there, we will compile the messages we receive into one big heartfelt video full of gratitude.
Seniors First (Varying options)
Support the Food Pantry: https://bit.ly/2TUQIZj
This pantry supports those senior citizens in our community that find themselves in food insecure positions. The Needs List provides volunteers with a guide for shopping to support those in need in our community.
Meals on Wheels: http://seniorsfirstinc.org/get-involved/meals-on-wheels/
Even with business closures and social distancing, homebound senior citizens are in need of meal deliveries and wellness checks. Seniors First is making necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of both clients and volunteers, and is still in need of dedicated persons to care for the elderly in our community.
HFUW Pillar(s): Health
IMPOWER is a leading non-profit mental health, substance misuse and child well-being organization dedicated to empowering the lives of those in need by offering personal attention, counseling, assistance and inspiration to help them reach their full potential and achieve individual success. No matter what barriers an individual may have encountered, IMPOWER provides the tools necessary to achieve goals and overcome obstacles.
Volunteers are being sought to assist with sending encouraging messages to teens in residential facilities during the COVID-19 shelter in place regulation. For more information about volunteering, please contact Renisha Robinson, Development/Volunteer Coordinator at (407) 215.0095 x215 or email@example.com.
ReadingPals (Training for 2020/2021 School Year)
HFUW Pillar(s): Education
ReadingPals is a statewide volunteer-based early literacy initiative that provides mentors for students from Pre-K through 3rd grade who may need extra help, utilizing one-on-one or small group settings. The Heart of Florida United Way program focuses on students in Pre-Kindergarten at 11 locations in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties.
At this time, volunteers are able to sign up for the 2020/2021 school year and to start their training process. While the program will not officially kick off until September 2020, the training process involves a 2 hour webinar, background check, and discussing shift options with the program coordinator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up.
Help on the Homefront
These organizations connect volunteers with populations and programs in need in the North American region.
Website – www.Careervillage.org
HFUW Pillar(s): Financial Literacy and Education
CareerVillage.org’s mission is to democratize access to career information and advice for underrepresented youth. This is accomplished through crowdsourcing the answers to every question from every student about every career. Together, volunteers assist in building a massive open-access reference source that every online learner can access anytime, anywhere. Join the movement of over 4,000,000 learners and over 50,000 volunteers.
Website – https://www.mindright.io/ways-to-help
HFUW Pillar(s): Health
One in four inner-city youth witness a murder before they turn 17, leaving them blinded by pain. Mind Right is here to change that. Its remote coaches provide proactive, daily mental health support via text message to help youth build positive coping skills. As a coach, you become someone students can count on – to support them through hard times and celebrate them during good times.
Website – https://www.mysterycoffee.com/
A great way to meet new colleagues in your own virtual break room, playfully expand your network while creating variety in the everyday life of your home office. Employees simply register and Mystery Coffee will periodically select colleagues from your company who you do not know yet. This means that you still have the opportunity at home to expand your network within the company and look beyond the confines of your home office. To ensure that personal exchange also continues virtually.
On a Global Scale:
These organizations connect volunteers with populations and programs in need on a worldwide scale.
Website – www.Micromentor.org
HFUW Pillar(s): Financial Literacy and Education
MicroMentor’s easy-to-use social platform enables the world’s largest community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs and business mentors to create powerful connections, solve problems, and build successful businesses together – overcoming geographical limitations to deliver business resources at scale to underserved communities around the globe through mentoring.
Website (if applicable) – www.7cups.com
HFUW Pillar(s): Health
7 Cups provides free, 24/7 emotional support to millions via online chat. Nobody has to face their problems alone. Having someone to listen can be all it takes to make a real difference.
HFUW Pillar(s): Basic Needs, Education, Health
Tarijmly allows the world’s 3 billion bilinguals to translate for the world’s 23 million refugees. Bilingual speakers of any language can sign up, and Tarjimly will match you with refugees and aid workers who need your support. You’ll translate in short sessions over chat, audio, or video calls.
Veterans & Military Support:
American Corporate Partners: Provides veterans with mentoring through ACP AdvisorNet – an online network of volunteer Advisors who commit to sharing their business expertise and advice with military veterans and their immediate family. Veterans can post questions related to employment, career development and small business
Support our Troops: Support troops through a variety of ways including:
- Clipping Coupons for military families.
- Join a group to help the family of deployed neighbors near you.
- Support K-9 soldier troops by shopping online and sending treats.
Support troops by shopping online and sending care packages.
Looking for a specific type of volunteering? Check out these opportunities for skills-based, virtual volunteering:
Archives, Genealogy & Maps:
Carnamah Historical Society Virtual Volunteering Initiative: Uses online volunteers to help with transcription and indexing projects to make historical records more discoverable and searchable.
Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens: An online database of thousands of images in the Smithsonian’s Collections Search Center. By correctly tagging an image regarding the types of plants in the image, the structures, objects, people, or any details you notice, you help make that image more useful to professional catalogers in museums, archives and libraries.
Smithsonian Digital Volunteer Program: Engages the public in making its collections more accessible. Digital volunteers transcribe historic documents and collection records to facilitate research and preserve these valuable assets for future generations.
Entrepreneurs Around the World
Bpeace: A U.S. nonprofit that recruits business professionals to help entrepreneurs in countries emerging from war to create and expand businesses and employment (particularly for women). Volunteers need a particular area of expertise regarding business development or project management and pay a monthly membership fee.
Cherie Blair Foundation Online Mentors: Online mentors are successful businesswomen in the U.K., and mentor online women entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Grow Movement: Recruits online volunteer business consultants from around the world to work via Skype, phone and email to empower African entrepreneurs in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi, helping them with business skills, enabling them to run their organizations more effectively, increase profitability and create jobs in their communities.
Happiness, Health & Wellness:
Be My Eyes: Lend your eyes to solve tasks big and small – anything from checking expiry dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings – helping blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives via a video app.
Best Buddies: Volunteer with Best Buddies and help us end the social, physical, and economic isolation of 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Charity Miles: Download the app, log your walks and they donate money to a charity of your choice. The more you walk, the more they donate.
Chemo Angels: Depending on your level of commitment, you can choose between being a Traditional Chemo Angel, Card Angel or Prayer Angel. Read the following descriptions to decide which type of angeling is best for you.
TED Translators: A community of volunteers who subtitle TED Talks and enable the inspiring ideas in them to crisscross languages and borders. Bring TED into your language!
Trevor Project: An online, social networking community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth ages 13-24, and their friends and allies. Online volunteers monitor the TrevorSpace site in an effort to maintain a safe online space for young LGBTQ people. Trainings for online volunteers are provided quarterly.
BookShare.Org: Offers thousands of books to people with reading disabilities. As an online volunteer you can either scan books to be added to the collection or edit books that have been scanned.
IntoBooks: An online mentoring program where students and their adult mentors read the same books and then discuss them online. It’s part of the ePals program.
Learning Ally: Many audiobooks are created with text-to-speech software that scans text from computer files and uses synthesized human voices to read the text aloud. However, illustrations or figures used throughout the books are not included. Online volunteers type those figure descriptions into the text, enabling students to receive ALL book material, not just the text.
Translators Without Borders: Recruits volunteers who want to translate texts into different languages for NGOs and nonprofits.
Mentorship, Tutoring and Advice-Giving:
Catchafire: Connects passionate, pro bono professionals looking to donate their skills through 1-hour phone calls and/or fully fledged projects to nonprofits and social enterprises.
Empower Work: Support people as they grapple with some of their biggest challenges at work. Sometimes that might mean navigating a difficult conversation with a boss; other times it might mean weighing the pros and cons of leaving a job. It’s truly amazing how one conversation can help people feel heard, supported, and empowered.
icouldbe.org: Is meant to connect the energy and expertise of mentors from various professions with the most vulnerable students in the U.S. educational system.
MicroMentor: Matches small business owners with business mentors. Volunteer mentors should have three years of business ownership experience, or five years of management experience, or several years of professional experience in a specialized skill.
MentorNet: A division of Great Minds in STEM (GMiS), strategically matches STEM students and professionals in compatible online mentoring relationships.
Tech & Engineering:
NPower’s: As part of preparing our students for a career in technology, we engage tech professionals throughout our program to share their knowledge, experience, insight, and advice. Interacting and learning from professionals in the industry is a crucial part to our students becoming well rounded professionals. Connect with NPower students in-person or virtually, in small or large group settings, and for short or long-term projects.
FOSS Manuals: Online volunteers produce free manuals about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in their own language. To date, they have completed 120+ manuals in more than 30 languages, such as French, English, Farsi, Dutch, and Finnish.
Geeks Without Bounds: An international coalition of passionate problem solvers working together using technology to assist people whose survival is threatened due to violence, neglect, or catastrophe. Online volunteers need to be experienced, credible IT experts and need to establish a relationship with this organization before a crisis.
TechSoup: Has a series of discussion groups where nonprofits ask questions about technology. You can log into the community at any time and try to help nonprofits and volunteers with questions about software, databases and more. TechSoup also needs volunteers to transcribe its most popular archived webinars.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact the Volunteer Center at Heart of Florida United Way to explore more options for your organization. Contact VolunteerCenter@HFUW.org.