Global Days of Service 2020: Giving Back Through Virtual Volunteering

As a part of Walden University’s Global Days of Service, Career Services volunteered with the Urban League Twin Cities – Black Gems program to develop and deliver a virtual career workshop for 9-12 grade students.  In previous years, the Career Services team has engaged in virtual volunteering activities through several community organizations.  However, this project required us to step out of our comfort zones to engage with a completely new audience:  high school students!  

Through several weeks, Career Services communicated with internal and external stakeholders to bring this project to life, including the director of the Black Gems program and other members of the Walden community who were involved in the project.  We gained many new insights and skills through this journey, including how to design engaging content, activities, and supplemental resources for a diverse, younger audience.  On October 15th, we energetically delivered a one-hour workshop for Black Gems students on professional branding and career readiness.  Our staff members share their takeaways from this project:

Angie Lira, Associate Director of Digital Products and Services:

I was honored and delighted to present to students who are part of the Urban League Twin Cities’ Black Gems program. The organization’s mission to help students prepare for college by developing skills and providing support is one which I believe in wholeheartedly. It gave the whole team an opportunity to look at career management strategies from a new perspective and engage with a whole new audience.

Katy Peper, Internship Advisor:

We typically think of volunteering as something that must be done in person, but presenting in a virtual format was convenient for both our team as well as for the Black Gems program. Additionally, because the live workshop was recorded, the information we provided will continue to benefit Black Gems students in the future.  Presenting to the students was a fun way of passing on our knowledge of professional branding and career readiness to a new audience.

Denise Pranke, Senior Career Advisor:

This project helped me recognize what is most important in developing a virtual volunteering workshop for a high school audience, while partnering with a community organization and working with other volunteers at Walden who supported our technology and logistical needs.  When working on a collaborative project, it is important to understand what everyone is contributing to create a smooth flow to the presentation.  Most importantly, learning about your audience’s needs can help you create interactive activities and enhance your content.

Are you interested in helping your community through virtual volunteering?  Consider reaching out to organizations that support your favorite causes, finding out about their staff or clients’ needs, and offering your help or expertise.  Virtual volunteering can sharpen your skills, present opportunities to share knowledge in a new way, and help you make a lasting impact in the lives of others. 

Additional Volunteering Resources:

Volunteer Opportunities and Internships page

Social Change Series webinars

Enhancing Qualifications Through Virtual Volunteering (blog story)

Walden University Center for Social Change website

Center for Social Change Volunteer Resources

Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services