Community service is noticeably different now with many organizations and non-profits closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still serve the community. It just requires a little time and creativity. Beyond the desire to serve others and help those in need, many rising sophomores and juniors are looking for experiences that will enhance their college applications. With online learning replacing in-school instruction, you now have plenty of time to give back to your community and develop those leadership skills. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Fill a Need

Anyone can serve the community by seeking out a need and filling it.

The medical field has faced many challenges over the past few months with a record number of patients requiring care. The high demand of medical supplies has far exceeded the current supply, and hospitals have expressed a need for more masks, medical gowns, gloves, and cleaning supplies. Two Prince William County high school students stepped in to fill this need by designing and printing medical masks with a 3D printer. Other students have sewn masks and surgical caps for professionals in the health field. Still others are making and giving away free hand sanitizer.

Since churches, select food pantries, and thrift shops have been closed for weeks, there’s been a decrease in food donations and an increase in demand. Organizing a food drive by coordinating with family and friends provides another opportunity to showcase your organizational and leadership skills. A food drive can benefit healthcare workers at a hospital, families in a specific neighborhood, or the local food pantry.

Tutoring elementary students online, or tutoring your little brother or sister, is another opportunity to serve others during the pandemic. It can be challenging for young students to access their lessons and assignments online much less complete homework without in-person instruction. Online tutoring once or twice a week can provide the support and resources a young student needs to succeed while learning remotely.

Volunteer Websites

Check out the Volunteer Fairfax, Volunteer Prince William, and Volunteer Loudoun websites for volunteer opportunities and donation requests during COVID-19. From mentoring canines with MK9s Service Dogs to calling donors and thanking them for donations with Volunteers of America, you can find a volunteer opportunity that works for you.


Crowdsourcing utilizes a variety of people and ideas to complete a project. A project may require a web developer, content writer, transcriber, and data analyst, but since all the work can be completed remotely from home anyone around the world can apply to do the work. Projects can be completed for pay or experience, and crowdsourcing opportunities are typically found online; just watch out for any scams and research an opportunity before applying to it.

Start a Business

If you’re feeling overly ambitious, consider starting your own business during this time. Combine a hobby with business and make money while growing your skills. Entrepreneurship requires decision-making and problem-solving skills along with perseverance and commitment; all good qualities to list on a college application. You could also give away your product or service to help those in need.