Volunteerism in the Age of Covid-19

We are all facing our own challenges in this uncertain time and we need to look after ourselves as well as friends and family. Burnaby students, however, have not let the challenges completely stop them.

While regular classes and volunteering opportunities have been on hold, many students have found other ways to develop and grow, and best of all, to assist. Several students from various high schools meet virtually on Mondays at 3pm to help a organizations like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders complete the mapping of remote areas around the world –  inside countries such as Peru, Botswana, Uganda and Yemen.

The mapping takes place on openstreetmap.org in a free and editable map of the world. Students outline buildings and roads which will then make peoples’ homes visible and transportation routes obvious if there were a natural disaster or if rescue operations or food needed to be delivered.

The Burnaby School District encourages students 13 years old and above to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Program, a worthwhile endeavour for students to not only learn sports and personal skills but to offer service to others, with the ultimate conclusion being an adventure journey on their own power.

Each service requires 1 hour minimum of volunteer work each week in order to qualify for bronze, silver or gold level awards. And the commitment lasts a minimum of 13 weeks for bronze, 26 weeks for silver and 52 weeks for gold level achievers. The time spent is meant to equip young people for life; allowing them to explore their passions, abilities and limits. Not only that, each level can potentially earn youth two high school credits for a student’s graduation record as well.

Normally, students can work together to volunteer and contribute their efforts. Today, all mapping work is done virtually through a Zoom videoconference.

There are still so many ways that our student volunteers can take action, stay connected, keep learning and keep their Award progress on track. Students may need to combat the inevitable boredom and anxiety many young people may face right now. During these uncertain times, it’s important for participants to stay active and healthy in a safe and positive way and the Award can be a great way of doing so​.

If you have an interest in joining Duke of Ed Award program or volunteering for one hour a week, contact Ms. Moore at deirdre.moore@ burnabyschools.ca. You will be asked to participate in a one hour training session before actually mapping. We would be happy to have you!