Now that most places are closed, including school, students are wondering how they will get all their 75 volunteer hours, which are currently still a State of Maryland graduation requirement. But there’s nothing to worry about because MCPS’s SSL Volunteer Center is a great place to find information on opportunities to acquire SSL hours virtually.
The MCPS SSL Volunteer Center website is a great place to start if you’re looking for SSL hours. Additionally, if you scroll down, it has a link to another website full of even more volunteer opportunities: Official MCPS Volunteer Opportunities. You can filter activities according to your interests and there are a bunch of opportunities for volunteer service you can do from home. This is great for high schoolers looking for a chance to get some SSL hours during quarantine.
Students can earn hours by making food, making clothes, drawing…pretty much anything. Some of the opportunities listed directly on the website are making baked goods, bagging rice & beans, making sandwiches, making bags of treats, and much more! Most of the projects benefit the elderly, children, and families struggling as a result of COVID-19. As direct supervision for in-person activities can’t really take place, MCPS staff members or nonprofit sponsors will have to set a predetermined number of SSL hours for the activity that will be performed. MCPS lists three SSL hours for making 20 hot lunches as an example. The number of hours that will be earned as well as safety protocols should be made clear to students. Of course, if you’re under 18, you’ll need permission from a parent or guardian to participate in these activities.
Virtual SSL activities will need to be approved and supervised by an MCPS staff member or MCPS-approved nonprofit sponsor. Once you complete your activity, the people in charge of the opportunity will verify that you have completed the activity based on your “submitted evidence” (though what this evidence may be varies depending on the activity) and send you the SSL form. After you receive the form, you can get the new SSL submission form from Ms. Conter or by using the Blake HS SSL Submission Form. You then have to input all the necessary information you have regarding your volunteer work as dictated by the form.
Most of the opportunities are fun and simple tasks, which makes this process super easy for students. After clicking on an opportunity on the website, it provides a very specific description of what you have to do. At the bottom of each activity listing, there is information about age requirements, registration dates, if it’s virtual or not, etc. Feel free to check out these sites if you’re interested in getting some SSL hours. You can also join the Blake SSL Google Classroom, by just entering the code, vqlkh36.
Again, the process for acquiring hours during the pandemic is really easy and there are opportunities on the website for students of all ages. Since it’s so simple, it shouldn’t add much to the stress students are experiencing as they navigate this new, strange, and uncertain world of online school.