If there’s one thing Fountain Hills has no shortage of, it’s volunteers. From energetic youths to retirees looking to donate their time, as well as a plethora of service organizations working on various projects year-round, a lot gets done throughout the community based on good old-fashioned kindness.
But at the moment, volunteering through normal means can be a bit tricky. With summer temperatures leaping above 100 degrees and restrictions in place due to COVID-19, it can be difficult to get the gang together for some philanthropic work.
Thankfully, there are quite a few ways folks can continue to donate their time and expertise without having to leave the house. The impact might not be felt as strongly right here in Fountain Hills, but those who choose to take part in some handy online programs can extend their efforts to a global community.
For those stuck indoors and looking for a way to donate their time to worthy causes, here are a few suggestions. Similar opportunities are offered by other services, these should just be considered a good starting place.
Lend your vision
“Be My Eyes” is a free application that can be downloaded on just about any smartdevice. Simply search for the app’s name in your online marketplace of choice and download to get started.
As you might have guessed from the name, Be My Eyes allows volunteers to assist blind and low-vision people through their day to day lives. The app allows those with impaired vision to connect directly to a volunteer for a live video call to work through life’s various tasks. Sighted volunteers typically assist in everything from reading an expiration date or distinguishing colors to reading instructions or helping someone navigate their surroundings.
Simply tell the app when you want to be available to assist someone and the app will notify you if you get paired with someone in need.
To learn more, visit bemyeyes.com.
Tutoring is not readily available for everyone, especially low-income students.
Programs like Upchieve aim to address that problem, allowing folks to volunteer their time to assist students in need. Topics typically include everything from mathematics and science to basic advice for planning for college.
Upchieve offers training and resources to prepare anyone looking to volunteer, as well as a platform that will allow volunteers to set their own schedule to be readily available to connect one-on-one if a student is in need of assistance.
To learn more, visit upchieve.org.
Becoming an online crisis counselor will require a bit more commitment than some virtual volunteering opportunities, as donating your time to a service like Crisis Text Line means you’ll need to also undergo some training.
Crisis Text Line is a 24/7 service that allows those in need of an attentive listener to connect anonymously with a pool of volunteers via text messages.
As described at crisistextline.org, these volunteers “answer texts from people in crisis, bringing them from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving and safety planning.”
The service provides the 30 hours of training necessary to become a volunteer and, once you’re ready, you can log on and offer your support whenever you have some free time to assist those in need.
It can be tricky for teens to talk to their friends, parents or even school counselors about what they want to do after high school and, for some students, those options aren’t even readily available. Services like Career Village allow professionals to lend a hand whenever they have some free time.
At Career Village, the goal is to “democratize access to career information and advice for underrepresented youth.”
To take part, a professional sets up a profile and selects the types of questions they would like to address. When the service receives a question from a student that is a good fit, the professional will be notified by email. The person who asked the question will receive their answer directly, and it will also become part of an online archive so other students will be able to receive the advice as well.
For more details, visit careervillage.org.
Are you fluent in more than one language? Then why not put those skills to good use and help folks in need?
Services like Tarjimly allow volunteers to assist those dealing with language barriers, specifically refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers in this case. The Tarjimly app is available on smartdevices and volunteers can offer their services as a translator whenever they are available.
Communication is carried out through text messaging within the app, with the ability to connect via voice if needed. Sound clips and documents can also be shared through the app to assist in translations.
To learn more, visit tarjim.ly/en.