A preoccupation for all of us in these busy, wired times is to find ways that technology can truly help us accomplish our goals. So often, when we think of our computer networks, we worry about wasting time or losing “real” contact with people. Yet, technology can be a great connector. It can help us keep track of information. It can streamline processes that have a tendency to be both tedious and cumbersome. With so much to do and so little time, when technology serves as an aid, it’s a pretty impressive gift.
NobleHour is a good example. When a young person wants to volunteer, the next question centers upon where to find community service opportunities. The site offers ways for students, civic groups and educators to connect. With a database that lists internships and community services, it’s helpful for organizations seeking volunteers or interns. It’s also helpful for educators and parents hoping to help young people find internships and for teens who are independently seeking internship opportunities. It works to help organizations manage interns more efficiently and to better assist interns navigating their own experiences too.
In preparation for college applications, college itself, and ultimately career young people need to develop a resume. Very quickly, an active, engaged young person notes that it can be a challenge to keep track of his or her good works. NobleHour offers interns the ability to log the particulars –the where, the when, the how many hours—in order to create an accurate accounting of civic-engagement and related work experiences.
All of this leaves more time to work on cultivation of other skills. Many suggestions about how to be more effective as a volunteer are posted on the site. The theme is Make Your Hours Count.
Instilling a sense of best practices and the ability to offer more tools to encourage students to explore new interests was one way the site grew. Originally initiated by a high school sophomore as sweatmonkey.org as a vehicle to assist high school volunteers make connections and become more organized, the focus expanded and the sense of potential community widened.
The platform became NobleHour. While the platform retains its “fun” and courts appeal for youth, the site caters to a broader and older audience as well, and allows for greater connectivity in the wider community. Its goal is to establish itself as leader in the next generation of communities that contribute to civic improvements for the greater good.
What are your favorite ways to use technology in volunteering?