Due to COVID-19, many restrictions have been implemented to prevent large groups from forming together in person, according to Santa Clara County Public Health. As a result, service clubs, such as Red Cross club and California Scholarship Federation (CSF) have modified in-person activities to become interactive through virtual learning, co-president, senior Emily Cheng said.
Red Cross is a club that is committed to helping people in need and with humanitarian crises, according to the Red Cross club introductory video. Prior to the pandemic, their main activities included raising awareness and volunteering at events to help those in need.
Due to the pandemic, all activities and meetings are being held virtually now, Cheng said in a Zoom interview.
“Instead of having an in-person card-making event, for example,” Cheng said, “we’re just going to have members send in pictures [to earn their community service] hours.”
With the commitment to accomplishing their main goal of spreading awareness remaining, Red Cross club has continued to host volunteering activities that adhere to the coronavirus restrictions but have restricted the number of hours required per semester, Cheng said.
“We just have to spread awareness about various events that are going on right now besides coronavirus,” Cheng said. “They’re also a lot of social activism movements [occurring currently].”
Cheng said she and other officers of Red Cross club are trying to encourage students to have their cameras on during meetings so there is more communication between members of the club.
While volunteering events may look different this year, Red Cross club’s other co-president, senior Allison Lee said she believes virtual volunteering has the same components as in-person volunteering.
“Our current activities do emulate the importance of in-person volunteer activities,” Lee said. “We are still interacting and communicating with the community.”
Lee said it is not about where the volunteering takes place or how big or small the action of volunteering is, but it is the meaningful effort to make the world a better place that matters.
Red Cross club utilizes their Instagram account to promote their club and Cheng said she is pleased they have not seen less student involvement despite conducting meetings virtually.
CSF, another service club, is also facing the same challenges as Red Cross club. Like Red Cross, CSF has also altered their volunteer activities so everyone in the club can participate at home or virtually through Zoom calls, CSF president, senior Saniya Kotwal said.
Instead of attending “walk-a-thons” and helping in libraries, CSF now plans activities, such as making cards for the elderly and hospitalized coronavirus patients, as well as decorating masks and virtual tutoring, Kotwal said.
Although the coronavirus has caused both service clubs to make major changes to the way they operate, Katawal said she is thankful she has seen more students sign up for events. As of now, presidents of both clubs said they are doing their best to continue helping their community and are grateful for all the volunteers who continue to help.
“We’re trying the best we can to have enough events and make sure everyone can get hours with volunteering,” Kotwal said. “We are trying to be creative as much as we can.”