2021 Student Volunteer Program & Community Service Hour Ideas | Track It Forward

2021 Student Volunteer Program & Community Service Hour Ideas

Written by Kasey Murphy

It is safe to say that 2020 has not been as kind or giving as we all had hoped. This rings especially true for student volunteer programs! Student volunteering usually involves a lot of interaction and learning through service, which has all been cut short with the coronavirus pandemic. 

But, in 2021 student volunteer programs and community service hours need to be innovative and allow students to volunteer in today’s climate. After all, the whole point of introducing student volunteers into society and offer community service hours is for them to learn how their efforts can help society. And, it’s no secret that society needs some extra help in 2021. So, let’s figure out how student volunteers can help! 

If you need help organizing your student volunteer program or with keeping track of individual community service hour data - skip to the end! 

Student Volunteer Program & Community Service Hour Ideas

Student Volunteer Program Ideas 

These ideas are for student volunteer programs that want to create a large, encompassing program that multiple student volunteers can participate in. If your school likes to have an individual or group of people that help monitor student volunteers - this is a great way to do it! Create a program that everyone participates in to easily keep track of student volunteers!

1. Create A Virtual Pen-Pal Exchange For Students & The Elderly 

Organize a program for students to keep in touch with the elderly virtually. This can mean playing games with them or just chatting with them. Student volunteer programs can partner with nursing homes and assign elderly people to students. Then, while in school or at home student volunteers can talk to their pen pal for community service hours!

2. Make A Sustainable Community Garden

This can be for student volunteers younger and older. Gather student volunteers to participate in a community garden student volunteer program. This can be done in multiple ways, either the students look after a certain plant or they tell younger students how to look after these plants via letters. This will involve all ages of student volunteers and fruits & vegetables can be grown for local businesses to use.

3. Make Decorations & Cards For Hospitalized People 

Gather student volunteers together to make cards and decorations for people in hospitals locally. This will help spread cheer and student volunteers can gather social distance style to create these! Student volunteer programs should provide the materials for the craft if they are asking student volunteers to do this together instead of on their own time.

4. Start a Tutoring Program For Younger Students 

This community service hour activity would be good for a student volunteer program like the National Honor Society to use. Gather students in younger schools that need help in specific areas of school & partner them with older student volunteers. Then, give pointers to the student volunteers on tutoring and provide help when needed! This is an activity that can very easily be done virtually.

5. Photography For Local Businesses

If there are any student volunteer programs that have students interested in photography, this is a great opportunity for them and for a new student volunteer program! Offer local businesses free photography of their business or service. Have students take photos and give them to businesses for their website or help facilitate printing of the photos for their business! This is a great way to easily rack up some community service hours!

6. Hospital Drives 

Hospital Drives are a great way to collect donated items that hospitals need. Get in touch with local hospitals and ask what they are accepting at that point in time. Then, have student volunteers “run” the drives by answering questions about the drives, collecting items and donations (with PPE and social distancing), and organizing the donations for the hospital! This is a great student volunteer program that will take up at least one term in school.

7. Community Business Help

Have student volunteers help out the community in projects like planting trees and flowers around their business, cleaning their windows, or collecting trash around the area. Set up this community service for your student volunteers by contacting businesses ahead of time and asking what can be done, be sure to give them options that student volunteers are comfortable with! Then, assign duties to student volunteers and supervise them if necessary.

8. Partner With A Humane Society

Student volunteer programs can partner with organizations like the humane society to fill in volunteer positions with all student volunteers. Humane societies have great student volunteer and community service hour opportunities like dog walking, animal grooming, cage cleaning, and more!

9. Create Care Packages For Soldiers 

Run a donation drive for things like blankets, snacks, cards, and mementos to send to soldiers that are currently deployed. Then, give the items to students to make a care box and give them instructions on how to send them out to soldiers. This is a great student volunteer program to run for all ages, as most of the work and community service hours can be done at home after the planning.

10. Teach Virtual Classes 

Ask student volunteers if there is a task they think they are really good at. This can be anything from math equations to hair braiding. You are looking for something that student volunteers can teach to others over a virtual class. It could even be something as simple as working on an iPhone - the elderly love this class! Then, reach out to organizations that might be interested in providing this class to others and organize times that work for both the student volunteer and the organization! 

 

Community Service Hour Ideas 

These community service hour ideas are ones that you can ask your volunteers to do on their own. In this instance, there would not need to be much set-up from a student volunteer program coordinator. The students would volunteer on their own time, and let schools know what they did! This is usually for older student volunteers or done with the help of a parent for younger student volunteers.

1. Help an organization staff a 5-K or run. 

Instruct students to look for local events like 5Ks and to reach out to the organization that is running it. They can volunteer at this event as unpaid staff and this is an easy way to gain community service hours!

2. Volunteer at a Local Thrift Shop going through items.

There will probably be local businesses that operated on volunteers, but have had some volunteers become inactive due to the pandemic. These organizations are working hard to ensure a safe volunteer environment. Thrift stores especially have PPE and social distancing is very easy while sifting through donated items. This is a great community service hour opportunity for high school students.

3. Pollution Clean-Up

Student volunteers can do this in their freetime and provide evidence of their clean-up efforts. Have them take before and after photos and log their hours of community service! This is a great community service idea for students to do in their own time and it will be beneficial to the community.

4. Volunteer For An Organization To Fundraise 

Organizations like The Salvation Army are very friendly for student volunteers. They can sit outside of a store and collect donations, or sell auction items! Have students take a look at nonprofit organizations and philanthropic organizations in the community and see how they can help - these are usually great community service ideas for student volunteers and parents for younger students.

5. Clean Neighbors Cars

Student volunteers can offer a service to neighbors or family friends that helps them out. One of the easiest ones is car washing! Have students take photo evidence and log cars that they clean and the amount of time, this can cound for a community service hour in some student volunteer programs!

6. Knit Blankets For Hospice Centers

It is so easy with today’s technology to learn how to knit! If a student volunteer program provides materials (or not depending on the budgeting) students can learn how to knit blankets at home! Then each blanket can be brought to the school or students can deliver them to hospices, nursing homes, hospitals, or even to shelters!

7. Create Dog Toys For Humane Societies

This is another easy one! With old clothes or donated fabrics, tie together the fabric to create toys. Student volunteers can do this very easily and deliver them to humane societies or pet stores. It is a great way to give to the community animals and an easy community service hour! 

How to Organize Your Student Volunteer Program & Keep Track of Community Service Hours 

Creating a student volunteer program from scratch, or building off of an existing program is no easy task. And while assigning community service hours to students might sound simple, there are a lot of rules and procedures that follow asking students to complete their own hours. 

For example: 

  • How many hours do students have to complete? 

  • How will they prove they did their community service hours if an administrator is not present?

  • How will a student volunteer program keep track of all student’s community service hours?

There are many ways to try to do all of these things on your own as a student volunteer program administrator. But, there are also plenty of tools to help you track student volunteers, their community service hours, and how close students are to a community service requirement or goal. 

Using a volunteer time tracking software like Track It Forward will solve any organizaional issues you might come across while organizing a student volunteer program. Check out how a high school benefits from using software, here!

Track It Forward allows:

  • Students to log hours via a mobile app or desktop version

  • Admis to see all students from a birds-eye view or individually 

  • Admins can approve hours by seeing photo evidence, GPS pins on an hour log, or a signature of a trusted volunteer services admin. 

  • Students can follow their progress towards a requirement.

  • Admins can check in on students who aren’t close to their requirements. 

  • Student volunteer programs can have check-in kiosks or digital sign-in sheets that track volunteer hours and time.

  • The software allows students to log hours under different activities - so there could be multiple student volunteer activities at once and students can log their specific community service hour. 

Student volunteer programs can be simple if organized correctly, and student volunteers can focus on volunteering in all the ways they wish!