Prime Minister Trudeau today announced $9 billion of new COVID-19 funding for students. This is welcome news for many, who have seen their job prospects dissolve when the pandemic hit and was wondering how to make ends meet. Part of this relief effort is a Canada Emergency Benefit, where eligible students will receive at least $1,250 per month. Students volunteering in the COVID-19 fight may receive between $1,000 to $5,000 in funding for their education in the fall as part of the Canada Student Services Grant. These initiatives are just rolling out so look out for more details, and take a close look at grant eligibility and what types of positions apply.
While the COVID crisis may have altered your summer work plans, these federal measures put more students in a position to think about summer volunteering, and there are many opportunities to gain resume-building experience. Volunteering is a great way to continue to build your skillset and there are lots of ways to get involved in COVID relief efforts or even virtual volunteer positions that you can do from home.
Supporting COVID Relief Efforts
You don’t have to be a health professional to play a key role in the pandemic response. There is a range of volunteering opportunities out in the community and many roles that let you contribute your skills while working remotely.
1. COVID Response
A great website to start your search is Go Volunteer, which allows you to filter by general volunteer roles, positions related to COVID relief and remote opportunities.
There is also a Canadian IT and consulting firm called Annex Group that is recruiting students and other professionals to complete volunteer projects remotely for essential services organizations, such as hospitals and local non-profits. They are recruiting volunteers with a variety of skills and backgrounds.
2. Greater Vancouver Food Bank
There are current opportunities for you to help your community of families and front line workers in need with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Roles include taking calls, processing requests, and distributing orders. This can be a great way to make connections while advancing your career and connecting with your community during times of need.
Community Building Opportunities
You don’t have to be directly involved in the COVID response to make a real difference. There are so many ways you can make a huge impact and build community by supporting and uplifting those who need it most right now. And the bonus is many of these opportunities are quite fun and help you stay connected to others while maintaining social distance.
1. Volunteer Burnaby Virtual Events
If you are looking to build on your mentorship and teaching skills then Volunteer Burnaby has remote opportunities to help with that. It is supporting members of the community who feel isolated and disconnected through a project called “VB Virtual Series”. They are looking for volunteers who can produce content for weekly virtual events that the entire community can enjoy from their homes. This is a chance to share your passions with others, whether that be through music, art, sports, film, design, photography, baking or anything that supports a sense of connection to help the community work through these tough times.
2. Big Brothers and Big Sisters Mentors
Have you ever thought about mentoring youth in your area? This could be the perfect chance. Big Brothers and Big Sisters are short on volunteers and are actively recruiting. This is an amazing opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life, and mentors are finding all sorts of creative ways to connect virtually right now through activities such as painting, learning magic tricks and going on virtual museum tours together. There are currently 100 kids in the Greater Vancouver area waiting to be matched with Big Brother and Big Sister mentors. There are several different mentor programs you can pick from that range from community-based programming to girls-only groups.
3. Information Navigators
There are a huge number of not-for-profit organizations in need of urgent access to government financial support during the COVID crisis, and Vantage Point is recruiting Information Navigators to be matched with organizations and host 1:1 information sessions where they share relevant resources. This is a great opportunity to develop your communication and leadership skills, as you will be working to directly support BC’s not-for-profit leaders.
4. SFU Opportunities
Get Involved is SFU’s student hub for on-campus opportunities (many of which are currently remote), and you will find volunteer positions with a wide range of departments and associations. You may also want to check out MyExperience, SFU’s site for off-campus volunteer opportunities, as it currently has some great virtual positions.
SFU has a number of Peer Education Programs where you can support other students through outreach, events and education. These positions are all approved to appear on your Co-curricular Record, supporting your future work search or grad school applications. There is a wide range of programs to choose from, for example, SFU Career and Volunteer Services is currently recruiting Career Peer Educators who support students with career-related questions through one-on-one consultations, outreach, workshops, and more. You can apply for this program by emailing your resume with the subject line “Career Peer Application” to Jo-Anne Nadort (firstname.lastname@example.org). Other programs are also still accepting applications and the next official round of recruitment will take place early in the summer term and include information on any adjustments to the programs due to COVID-19. For more information on Peer Programs email Tiffany Riddell (email@example.com).
The COVID crisis has made it more challenging for students to find work this summer, but that doesn’t mean that this time can’t be a valuable part of your career journey. By getting involved, you will not only play a key role in supporting your community but also gain experience that will help your resume and future work search.
SFU Career & Volunteer Services is booking online and phone appointments for students from Monday to Friday for anything career-related, from work search and future plans, to how to manage uncertainty and make room for hope. Check out our website, Facebook, and newsletter for helpful resources, articles and postings.
Beyond the Blog
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Learn more about the experience of being a Career Peer Educator