COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES DURING COVID-19

Below are some ideas and ways that students can stay active and involved during COVID-19:

U.S. News Article: Volunteer Activities for Premeds During COVID-19- Here are some ways premeds can volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can then be included in medical school applications.

Idealist- 9 Ways to Help Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Network & build relationships- Even though many clinical experiences have been suspended or may be challenging to find, it is always beneficial to continue to network and build relationships with professionals. Consider reaching out to physicians and healthcare professionals for informational interviews and hopefully when circumstances allow, you can shadow this professional in the future. Informational interviews are also helpful to help collect information on certain career paths and help you understand if it is the right path for you. One great way to network and build relationships is with UW alumni using the LinkedIn Alumni tool

Attend Virtual Fairs, virtual information sessions, and other educational opportunities online– Many health professional schools are hosting online information sessions about their programs and admissions. This is a great way to  find out about certain schools and programs. We will post these opportunities in the ‘News & Events’ section of the UW Pre-Health website. Additionally, the Career & Internship Center will host various workshops that are pre-health related as well as workshops focused on building skills such as resume, cover letters, interviewing, and job searching. 

UW Community Engagement & Leadership Education Center (CELE)We offer these opportunities for remote and in-person community engagement as part of our partnership with community based organizations in the Seattle-metro area. In the current era of social distancing protocols and other measures to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we strongly encourage folks to consider remote community engagement opportunities. We also recognize there are essential social services that depend on volunteer support to provide shelter and food security. We trust each individual to assess their risk factors and availability for in-person volunteer roles, and to navigate these listings accordingly. Our team is happy to support you with an advising conversation if you have questions about engaging with in-person volunteer roles — just email us at serve@uw.edu to set up a time to chat!

Seattle & King County Public Health Reserves Corps- The Public Health Reserve Corps (PHRC) is a nationally recognized Medical Reserve Corps which donates thousands of hours of services each year to promote the health and wellbeing of King County residents. The PHRC bridges gaps in access to care prior to and during emergencies by delivering compassionate care to King County’s most vulnerable residents. Reserve Corps volunteers deliver care in non-traditional settings like tiny home villages, shelters, health fairs, and community centers. Open to medical and non-medical volunteers with specific credentials and skills which support the PHRC’s mission. To join, please email PHRC@Kingcounty.gov and signup to join one of our upcoming new volunteer orientation sessions. In person and webinar formats available. More information on other steps can be found on their website.

United Way of King County– Volunteer & In-kind Response for COVID-19. View a list of available volunteer opportunities and safe volunteer opportunities like making masks, helping kids, and collecting color/craft materials for refugee children.

United Way of King County AmeriCorps COVID-19 HungerCorps [NOW CLOSED] Seeking full-time members to be a part of United Way’s Anti-Hunger team, a team that helps families and youth access healthy meals when school isn’t in session. As a COVID-19 HungerCorps Member, you will be assigned to a food bank or meals site, where you’ll use your skills and experience to support critical anti-hunger work. You will prepare and serve meals, pack boxes of food, engage with community members, and conduct grassroots community outreach to get the word out about available resources. Duration: 5/26/2020 – 8/3/2020.

Seattle Gov Office of the Mayor Jenny A. Durkan- This page contains information and web links for City of Seattle, King County, Washington State, federal, and community programs and services that help residents significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these programs and services are available to everyone regardless of where you live. All Seattle residents regardless of immigration status are eligible for City of Seattle programs and services unless noted otherwise. To see a list of places that are accepting volunteers, please scroll down and click on “+ I want to Donate/Volunteer” and look under “These organizations are coordinating volunteers and/or donations for those who want to help each other during this outbreak”.

Seattle Works- COVID-19 Response volunteer opportunities list

Volunteer Match- View a list of COVID-19 response volunteer opportunities in the Seattle area. To view opportunities in other areas, put in the city and state you are interested in volunteering in the search bar.

Youth Service America (YSA) How Youth Can Lead ASAP During COVID-19- How-to guides for each idea wherever they’re available. For any project, we encourage you to use the downloadable resources and video trainings in the YSA Knowledge Center to take your project from idea to action through the project planning steps of investigation, preparation & planning, action, reflection, and demonstration/celebration. Please view their website for guides and ideas for short-term and long-term service projects ranging in the various areas pictured below:

Service Year- A service year is an opportunity to develop real-world skills through hands-on service. Service years are available through a variety of nonprofits and public organizations. With more than 65,000+ service year opportunities, from urban to rural communities, service year opportunities are available in a wide array of issue areas, including: education, the environment, disaster relief, health care, and many more.

AmeriCorps- AmeriCorps is your moment to take the path less traveled, to break the status quo, to stop talking about the problem and be the solution. Join AmeriCorps and you can mentor and tutor kids, rebuild a community after disaster, help veterans, or work with local communities to alleviate poverty. There are thousands of opportunities to choose from, find the one that fits you. AmeriCorp opportunities can last anywhere from 3 months to 1 year. AmeriCorps has put together a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page as well as an article about ’10 Ways to Safely Help your Community during COVID-19′.

Volunteer Surge- If you know someone who would like to develop health care skills that could lead to a career — and/or just help out during this crisis — visit Volunteer Surge.  The training is all from the comfort of your home — as is some of the volunteering.

Crisis Text Line- Crisis Counselors answer texts from people in crisis, bringing them from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning.Crisis Text Line is the free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the United States. The service is powered by volunteer Crisis Counselors who work remotely—anywhere with a computer and secure internet connection works.

Get Certified- If you have some extra time or your summer plans may have been postponed or cancelled, consider getting certified as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) as these programs take as little as one quarter to complete and will allow you opportunities to find part-time/full-time work in different healthcare settings. Other certifications you can consider also include phlebotomist, dental assistant, and physical therapist aide. You can find out about other certification programs on our website here

Get Creative!- In lieu of in-person activities, students can think creatively about the ways they can use their extended time inside to strengthen their applications in ways that respond to the virus’ impact. Here are some examples:

  • Since it is not safe for non-healthcare professionals to be in hospitals right now, it would be a good idea to start your own podcast, YouTube channel, or other informational service to help people cope with the impact and provide info and resources to all who tune in
  • Start your own community outreach organization
  • Start a COVID-related RSO and hold virtual meetings
  • Got a research paper to write? Write it about the impact of COVID-19 on a specific vulnerable population, or about the impact of this virus v.s. H1N1. 
  • Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter
  • Find ways to support front-line health care workers
  • Masks specifically made for the deaf/hard of hearing