I love helping people and I wanted to find a way to volunteer in my area but unfortunately, there aren't many opportunities for me to volunteer locally. So I went to VolunteerMatch.org to see if there was anything I could do from home and I was surprised but just how many virtual volunteer positions there are.
I know I can't be the only person that is interested in volunteering. But I know it can be difficult, especially when you're already so busy with your own life. That's where virtual volunteering comes in. There are many ways (both large and small) to help your fellow humans right from your own computer or home.
Being Emotional Support For Others
Have you ever gone through an extremely difficult time? Maybe you felt that no one in your life would understand what you were going through? Or maybe you just really didn't have anyone that you could confide in? I think we've all been there before. One of the simplest ways to help someone is just by being there to listen. One way to do this is by downloading an app that lets you connect with people that are going through a difficult time. Several apps like this have popped up throughout the last few years. There are a lot of people out there that could use a shoulder to cry on, so to speak, but they don't necessarily need professional counseling. (Or they do but can't afford it.) That's where you come in. Apps like "Project Toe" and "Pillrs" let you connect with people when they need support the most. If you'd rather not use an app, there is "7 Cups of Tea", which has an app and a website. The great thing about all three of these options is that you can log in whenever you want and there are no time commitments.
However, if you do have more time to spare, you might consider becoming a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line is like a crisis/suicide hotline but instead of talking on the phone, everything is done through text messages. Texters use their phone to text but you'll be on a platform on the Crisis Text Line website. You must pass a background check and go through 36 hours of online training to be a Crisis Counselor but you do not need to have a degree or any psychology training to apply. If you sign up and complete the training you'll commit to 200 total hours of volunteering which is usually done in weekly four-hour shifts. I'm actually a volunteer for Crisis Text Line and it's been a wonderful experience. It can be hard at times because there are so many people out there that are in a lot of pain. But most of them say talking to us really does help them calm down and feel empowered to get through their problems. It feels great to know that you're helping people through some of their darkest times.
Helping Visually Impaired People
There are two apps that you can use to help visually impaired people navigate the world a little easier. "Be My Eyes" lets people video call you so that you can answer a question for them. If you're busy and can't answer, that's okay. With all the other volunteers that are signed up, someone else will be able to take the call. An example of a question you might get is someone sending you a video and asking which shirt is blue? Or which can of food is a soup can? There is a similar app called "BeSpectacular" which does the same thing except you'll be sent a photograph but the questions will be similar to the kind you would get on Be My Eyes.
Other Ways To Help
There are so many ways to help others from your computer. A few more things you can do include volunteering to record audiobooks for LibriVox or entering archive information into the World Archives Project which helps people discover their roots. I recently found a great opportunity with a non-profit that works to keep young people off drugs. They needed a social media coordinator and I realized I would be a great fit for that role. If you have something particular in mind that you'd like to do just get on Google and search for it. You might be surprised by the kind of help people need.