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The New Buffalo Institute is once again updating its list of ways to support the larger Canisius community while recognizing the need for social distancing.  Volunteering online lets you donate your virtual time to a cause that matters, which means you can make a difference even if you cannot go physically volunteer somewhere.

New opportunities for volunteering locally:

  • Say Yes to Education The Say Yes Buffalo Internship & Career Pathways Program is launching a certificate program to provide professional development for our scholars and engagement opportunities with our local workforce.  To obtain a certificate, each scholar must complete two informational interviews with local professionals. Interviews should be 45 – 60 minutes in length and Say Yes Buffalo staff will assist with connecting students with volunteers. They will begin in June and conclude by mid-August. We are seeking volunteers to participate in these informational interviews. As a professional volunteer, you are welcome to sign-up for more than one interview if you choose. We are accepting volunteers until May 28.
  • City Year AmeriCorps Member Food Pantry As this period of social distancing continues, we want to find ways to offer additional support to our AmeriCorps members. While all of our AmeriCorps members are continuing to receive their healthcare and living stipend for the remainder of their term of service, we know this will place extra strain on them and their support networks. To that end, we’ve developed a wish list on Amazon to help us create a Food Pantry for any of our members to access non-perishable items during this critical time. If you are interested in purchasing any items to be distributed to our members, please click here.

Opportunities to volunteer nationally or internationally (thanks to First Lady Maureen Hurley and the Newman Center for sharing these ideas):

  • United Nations Volunteers If you are looking to take your online volunteering worldwide, this is the place to start. UNV connects you with organizations working for peace and development in need of skills like research, writing, art and design. There are already over 12,000 volunteers from 187 countries lending their talents to organizations around the globe.
  • Catchafire This volunteer search tool is exclusively for online volunteer projects. Each one has a timeline that can range from an hour to a few weeks. So whether you have an afternoon or several, you can help non-for-profit with tasks like writing thank you letters or editing photos.
  • Amnesty Decoders Operated by Amnesty International, this network of digital volunteers helps conduct research into global human rights violations. Volunteers have used their phones and computers to verify the location of oil spills, find evidence of drone strikes and flag abusive tweets to women politicians in India.
  • Translators Without Borders For those fluent in more than one language, check out this nonprofit that combines language skills with humanitarian aid. Volunteers provide translations (10 million words a year) to international organizations that focus on crisis relief, health and education.
  • Crisis Text Line Here’s a perfect example of technology being used for good. Become a volunteer to help the Crisis Text Line continue to offer free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. If you are at least 18 and can commit to volunteering four hours each week, you can apply to be trained for free.
  • Zooniverse Zooniverse is a platform for people-powered research that would not be possible (or practical) without the help of online volunteers. Spend as much or as little time as you would like identifying endangered animals, classifying galaxy systems or transcribing Shakespearean manuscripts.
  • Project Gutenberg Founded in 1971, this may just be the virtual volunteering effort that started it all. The goal is to create the largest digital library, and so far they have amassed 59,000 free eBooks. Volunteer by donating eligible materials, transcribing books into a digital form or proofreading others’ work.
  • All for Good Points of Light’s database includes thousands of volunteer opportunities. To find virtual opportunities, enter “virtual” in your search under “more options.”

Go to the New Buffalo Institute website to find additional volunteering suggestions. Click here for more information.

Submitted by:  Mary R. Rockwell, director, The New Buffalo Institute