The Sage Connection

Bored? Volunteer online!


Bored? Not feeling the holiday spirit this year? If so, you are not alone. Christmas is just a few days away and we are not supposed to gather with family and friends this year. Too many of us are mourning the loss of loved ones.

Our gifts and cards were wrapped and mailed off. Decorations are up and baking is done.  Now what?

Donations for the needy and requests for volunteer help are standard fare for this time of the year. But what about the rest of 2021?

According to the experts we are going to have to be masked and socially distanced for a few more months - which for our age group, means staying in even longer. What will you do to occupy your time then?

Here are some “out of the box” suggestions for those who are looking for something different to explore.

Smithsonian Digital Volunteers:

Consider yourself a history buff? Volunteer for the Smithsonian Institute. Digital volunteers help make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible by transcribing and reviewing various field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts, and biodiversity specimen labels.

Empower Work:

 This text hotline connects people who need help navigating challenges at work — for example, those unsure of how to handle a toxic workplace, bad boss, discrimination, or benefits issue — with volunteer peer counselors. In order to become a peer counselor, you'll need to complete 20 hours of interactive digital training.

The United Nations:

 The United Nations Volunteers website includes a list of virtual volunteer opportunities at UN entities, civil society organizations, and governmental institutions. You can sort opportunities by type - for example, COVID-19 response, teaching and training, project development, and more.


If reading is your passion, then sign up for StoriiTime, a service that connects children with seniors for virtual story hours. You can sign up as a reader (you must be over 50), a parent who would like their child read to (kids must be ages 13 and under), or a care provider looking to get their residents involved.

Lifetime Connections Without Walls:

 This telephone activities program provides opportunities for older adults to connect with others; LCWW offers educational sessions, game nights, support groups, and friendly conversations, all over the phone. The organization relies on volunteers to increase their class offerings. Got an idea for a class? Drop them a note.

Hire a Hero:

Help veterans and military spouses excel in their careers by conducting mock interviews, offering general career counseling, or guiding federal-sector applicants through the USA Jobs portal and interview process. Most online volunteer opportunities are conducted via phone or video.

The Trevor Project:

Support LGBTQ youth who are struggling with issues such as coming out, LGBTQ identity, depression, and suicide by volunteering to respond to chat messages as a crisis counselor for The Trevor Project. You'll need to complete a 40-hour online training and serve one three-hour shift per week for at least a year.

Career Village: 

The tag line for this one is simple: "Volunteer to answer questions from students who want to be you when they grow up." Essentially, kids submit questions about various career paths to Career Village, and you'll get notified if there's a question you might be able to answer. It's like a virtual career fair you can participate in whenever you have time.

You can explore more about these volunteer opportunities and many others at:

Next week we will explore local Thurston County volunteer opportunities that may interest you after you get your vaccination(s) and the stay-at-home orders have been relaxed.

In the meantime, be safe and have a Happy Holiday Season! 

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week.  Contact her at or post your comment below. 


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