Volunteering During The Time Of A Global Pandemic


Fariha Fardin

Anne Zhu is excited to volunteer even during COVID. Through this global pandemic she will try her best to give back to her community as much as she can.

High schoolers have found it difficult to find volunteering during COVID-19 with mask restrictions and social distancing, so the National Honor Society (NHS) student board has lowered the requirements to 15 hours and canceled group volunteering requirements.

Natalie Clott, a member of the NHS Hopkinton board states that they decided to require 15 hours for all NHS members and that you can use your summer hours as well. They also decided to cancel group hours as they don’t coincide with CDC guidelines.

To fulfill her 15 hours, Natalie herself volunteered at a dog shelter over the summer. She also volunteers pretty consistently for the HCA.

“They have plenty of opportunities for Hopkinton students,” Natalie said.

Natalie says the NHS board will be sending out a list of opportunities and guidelines and ideas on volunteering later this week.

Siri Yerramsetti, the treasurer of the National Art Honors Society (NAHS) says that NAHS also changed their hours from 20 to 15 hours and there are no group hours.

NAHS has been coming up with ideas as well to help students volunteer for NAHS hours. They have ideas to create projects, for example, to create cards or r paint kindness rocks for seniors at Fairview or Golden Pond. They also have plans to set up a zoom paint night with senior citizens.

A project that they decided to keep on continuing is their memory project. The memory project invites skilled art students to make special gifts for children facing substantial challenges around the world. These kids include orphans, kids in developing countries, etc.

“The portraits help the children feel valued, show them that many people care about their wellbeing, and provide them with a special childhood memory for the future.” stated the mission statement of the organization.

“We’re providing them with plenty of volunteer opportunities so they can take advantage of them and students don’t have to go out and look for one especially during this difficult time,” Siri said.

Anne Zhu, a current hybrid student and a member of NHS and NAHS thinks that 15 hours is a reasonable amount but there could be different exonerating circumstances for each person.

“Yes, it’s important to give back to your community but it’s hard to do so safely. It’s a constant internal battle between my need to give back and my fear of endangering myself, my friends, and my family.” Anne said.

Volunteering for remote kids is another factor that the NHS has also considered. Tanya Khan, a remote student, has been volunteering at a non-profit, Blossom and Bee Tutoring, created by Northwestern students. There, Tanya tutors students who are in low-income neighborhoods and/or school systems whose educations are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“In a time where everyone is just trying to survive I think 15 hours is unreasonable because quarantine looked differently for everyone, COVID has affected people in many different ways negatively and positively,” Tanya said.

Clott’s advice to anyone who is looking to volunteer but is hesitant: “If you really like volunteering at an organization you’re passionate about and you enjoy the work you do, it’s rewarding. It’s not just volunteering for the hours, it’s volunteering to help yourself and others…if you and everyone else is being smart about it, it should be safe and make sure you’re not putting anyone at risk.”