The drastic changes to the academic program due to the coronavirus pandemic have certainly impacted Community-Based Learning (and all of the programs in the J.D. Power Center). We continue to be deeply sorry that the semester had to be cut short in the way that it has, and we continue to be available to support our CBL students, our CBL faculty, and our community partners. These are unprecedented times, but the community that has been built through CBL is lifting us up and helping us navigate this unchartered territory.
One way we have felt uplifted is through brainstorming how CBL, volunteering, and other forms of experiential learning can continue in remote and virtual ways. Some of our community partners, students, faculty, and folks from the wider AJCU and service-learning networks have shared ideas with us about continuing CBL and other service-related work. Interested in continuing volunteering in some way? Review the suggestions here and report back to us about what you’ve been up to! Questions about any of these suggestions? Reach out to Community-Based Learning.
Current CBL Community Partners Looking for Remote/Virtual Assistance (Contact Isabelle Jenkins in the Donelan Office to learn more and get connected):
This list contains remote/virtual tasks specific community partners have reported to us that they need at this time. It is preferable that students who have already worked with these organizations sign up for this work, but community partners are also happy to take on new volunteers. We will share additional volunteer opportunities as we hear from our partners.
- Ascentria Care Alliance – Services for New Americans: participating in English Conversation Circles
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA: virtual reading hours
- Brookdale Eddy Pond Senior Living: virtual one-on-one visits with residents
- Dismas House: assisting with updating their “Coming Home” directory and with grant proposal writing
- Jewish Healthcare Center Hospice: virtual one-on-one visits with residents; sending letters/cards
- St. Francis and St. Thérèse Catholic Worker: reviewing materials and writing articles for their Catholic Worker newsletter
- St. Mary Healthcare Center: virtual one-on-one visits with residents
- The Mustard Seed: assisting with the creation of a summer program at Elm Park Community School (this would include communicating with relevant people and groups, grant proposal writing, etc.)
- Worcester Mutual Aid (Facebook Page): General Information about volunteering in Worcester
- Worcester Public Schools Transition Program (Spanish): FaceTime group session; creating virtual job-readiness activities
Ways YOU Can Offer to Stay Involved with your Community Partner:
Don’t see your community partner or an opportunity of interest to you listed in the previous section? If your current community partner or other agencies you are connected to remain operational, you can reach out to them directly to see if they are in need of your remote/virtual support. You could offer to:
- Create marketing, social media content, or other print materials for future use
- Support the development team by researching grant opportunities
- Assist in communications with their students/clients/residents
- Conducting virtual or phone-based educational supports for youth and adults
- Conducting background research or gathering best practices or other information your partner could find useful
- Assisting in any assessment, evaluation, or feedback processes via phone or web-based services
National/International Virtual Volunteering Suggestions:
There are a few websites that provide suggestions for online volunteering with national and international organizations:
General Ways to Support/Volunteer/Assist Others During this Time:
There are “unofficial” but important ways to support and assist others in your communities and in your networks doing this time:
- Google Hangout/Facetime conversations to counteract the physical social isolation
- Collect extra craft/art supplies, books, videos for families with kids at home
- A kind note/letter to organizations staying open to serve communities at this point in time
- Interrupt xenophobic reactions on social media or in conversations
- Calls or emails to elected officials to advocate on behalf of needs in this time
- Notes of thanks to those in leadership roles or in positions that are not able to stay home
While the coronavirus pandemic has called us to change our patterns of behavior and our interactions with each other, it has not changed our responsibilities to one another, and it has not changed the Holy Cross mission of standing for and with others. Staying connected to your communities in virtual and remote ways either though official opportunities or through general care and concern is a way to continue to enact the Holy Cross mission and to continue your experiential learning and growth. The Donelan Office and the J.D. Power Center are here to assist you in this important work.