Volunteering in Your Pajamas
It's can be difficult to find time to go out and volunteer in our community, even if we do support many of the causes out there in spirit. We might be able to volunteer a little on the weekends, but we want to do more. Teens also need to volunteer for resumes, and sometimes to graduate high school. But between homework, extracurricular activities, and sleep, not to mention a social life, it's hard for even teens to find some time to participate in the local park clean-up or serve food at a nearby soup kitchen.
Luckily, there are many ways everyone can volunteer and do good without leaving the comfort of home.
Freerice is a website run by the World Food Programme. It offers a variety of academic subjects that you can be quizzed on in multiple choice. For every question you get right, ten grains of rice are donated to help end world hunger. This is a great way for everyone to volunteer without leaving the house when all you have to do is answer some interesting questions on your laptop during commercial breaks or curl up with a cup of tea and your phone to settle into a studying session with the SAT Practice test. You find a new book to read with in the Literature category and some excellent words and insults in the Vocabulary section. You don't even have to have an account to play so you can start donating with no effort.
Some subjects in Freerice are better than others.
Best subjects for academic value include:
Many languages are offered as well, but they are just as helpful as Google translate. Not only does Freerice not provide any grammar or structure, but it doesn't let you hear the correct pronunciation of the word.
Most interesting categories include:
- famous paintings
- famous quotes
- famous landmarks
It's pretty cool to look at the paintings and get some quotes of inspiration or pessimism (or celebrities' slip-ups) as well as see some cool landmarks, like the terra cotta warriors.
There is also World Hunger, which gives you facts that educate you about the cause you're helping.
My favorite is Literature subject. This subject matches titles of short stories and novels with their authors, many of whom I've never heard of before. Whenever I come across a cool title, I like to look it up later to check it out of my local library.
Is it worth it?
Ten grains doesn't seem like a lot, but it can add up quickly and you can learn some new things while doing it, so I say it's worth it. I've donated a little over thirty thousand grains this year, which is roughly five cups of rice. it's not going to move mountains, but every little bit helps, and five cups is more than what a lot of people in the world have. So it's definitely worth it for me, and the more questions I answer, the more I'll donate.
Goodsearch.com is a search engine powered by Yahoo! that donates a penny to a charity of your choice for every search you make. There are hundreds of charities in Goodsearch's database, including local ones so you can even serve your local community. All you have to do is make an account and set your cause, which you can change at any time.
You can also see who else is supporting your cause, how much you've raised, and how much the cause has raised in total. For instance, my cause is GrowSmart Maine, and my mother and I are the only two active supporters through Goodsearch. Together we've raised $3.35 in about a month, and I have raised $2.93 myself. It raises the money slowly, but you don't have to do anything except move your searching habits over to Goodsearch.
Search Terms and Conditions
Unfortunately, not every search raises a penny. Searches made in images and video don't count as well as searches made for well-known websites like Facebook or Gmail. There are ways of getting around that, though, like searching something and then going to the images after the penny is added to your account, or typing in "facebook x" to go to Facebook. Even though these work, I wouldn't recommend them. Not only is it kind of dishonest, but Goodsearch will remove the charity if they suspect dishonest searching (that means robots are out too).
Ten dollars need to be raised by September for your charity if they are going to receive payment. If it is less then the money will be distributed by Goodsearch to other charities at their discretion because there aren't any rollover pennies.
Is it worth it?
It depends on what charity you choose and how much you search on a regular basis. If you search a lot, then yes, especially if you choose a small, local charity where a ten dollar donation will mean more than a larger charity. It can be difficult to remember to go to Goodsearch every time you want to search instead of just typing in the search bar. I usually keep Goodsearch open in a tab all the time. If you don't want to do this, then consider Ecosia, a browser extension that you can set to be your default search engine. Every time you search, a little money will be donated to planting trees.
Handmade Especially For You-- Crafty Scarves
This project is set apart from many other knit-for-charity projects out there because yarn is provided and it costs you nothing. All you need to do is knit scarves while watching TV. After the scarves are knitted, you send them to the address provided and then those scarves are distributed to battered women's shelters. These scarves can provide great comfort to these women after the trauma they have gone through, and sometimes these scarves are the first gifts they have ever received.
Even if you are only a beginning knitter, this is still a worthwhile and easy task to do. Knitting is very repetitive after awhile and not only is it fun to do and it is relaxing, but it can be done while watching TV or talking to friends. And it will help you get better at a new skill.
Help From Home
http://helpfromhome.org/ is a website that lists hundreds of microvolunteer jobs like the jobs mentioned above. It has jobs that will take less than a minute to jobs that take multiple sessions of thirty minutes. Whenever I want to try out a new way to volunteer I go here. You can find many different things on this site, like arts and crafts, signing petitions, playing games, and donating or swapping old books. With volunteering jobs as diverse in time, effort, and causes as the ones on here, there's no reason why we can't give a little bit of time during commercial breaks or before we get out of bed in the morning.