Back to Giving Back: In-Person Volunteering Returns to Chamblee

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Photo courtesy of Olivia Li

Chamblee National Honor Society volunteers with the Foster Care Support Foundation

Mallory Reid, Staff Writer

A major component of community service that was gravely impacted by the COVID pandemic was in-person volunteering for school clubs. Clubs such as Beta Club and NHS [National Honor Society] had to adjust to not being able to connect with people through volunteering.

One way clubs adjusted was through online volunteering, which missed a certain aspect of connecting with other people and the community. 

“[Online volunteering] was just doing activities and projects at home and stuff, so for me, [in-person volunteering] has been a lot more fun because I like volunteering in person more because you actually get to like interact with people,” said Sophie Li (‘23), Interact Club’s Secretary of Points. “I like to do it with friends and stuff.”

Most at-home events took place online. 

“Online events are typically like Zooniverse, which is for like classifying things for science or like transcription stuff and sometimes making cards and stuff, but you’re just kind of doing stuff and then you’re not really getting anything out of it,” said Avaye Dawadi (‘22), a member of NHS.

Several clubs participated in online volunteering, but NAHS [National Art Honor Society] organized other hybrid activities. 

“We didn’t do any in-person [events] and we didn’t do online, but we did like site-specific Free Art Fridays, so people would go like in their neighborhoods and just like hide art in places. It was cute,” said Carmen Bays (‘22), an officer of the club.

This year has many differences from last year in terms of what the clubs are allowed to do.

“Well, we can’t really do a lot of like hands-on stuff as we did in earlier years, and we haven’t been able to go to like club conferences with all the other chapters of NAHS so that kind of sucked,” said Bays. “But for the most part, most of our volunteering is like sending art to people or doing murals, so that aspect hasn’t really changed.” 

Interact Club also came up with some fun events to do at home. 

Cards made by the CHS Interact Club. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Li)

“So a lot of our events were like making cards for hospitalized kids or writing letters to people,” said Li. “We also made like dog treats at home for an animal shelter, but it was really just a lot of different things. There were some [events] that were like logging nature things online for cataloging and stuff, but it was either stuff that you could do online or stuff that you can make at home.” 

For many students, at-home volunteering simply is not the same as in-person volunteering. 

“[In-person volunteering] has definitely been more fun,” said Dawadi. “I think online volunteering is just monotonous and it doesn’t really feel like you’re making an impact, but in-person volunteering gives you a real satisfaction.” 

Additionally, there are many positives and negative aspects to volunteering in person.

“The positive is, for sure, the satisfaction that you get and it’s more fun when you can talk to people,” said Dawadi. “It’s just a better experience overall. And I guess a negative [aspect] is that you do have to like drive to the event and get up early, but the positives outweigh the negatives.”

Clubs are trying to take every precaution to keep their volunteers safe. 

“So a lot of the organizations that we volunteer with will tell us that they require masks, but if they don’t we still encourage our members to wear masks and stuff. [For us,] masks are mandatory,” said Li.

Overall, students are just happy to be back, supporting their community and feeling the satisfaction of their impacts.

“[I love seeing] just the people that we help. They’re always so happy to see us there and then that makes it worth it,” said Nash Booth (‘23).