Janelle, from Helping Hands app, is our guest today. Janelle was recently mentoring at Girl Geeks Toronto.
Highschool students, in Ontario, are required to complete 40 hours of volunteer work over the course of their high school careers (4 years). In taking the time to speak with students, it isn’t that they don’t want to volunteer, many don’t have access to know where they can volunteer. As adults, people tend to forget that you gain a social awareness and the ability to know how to talk to people. Generally, as a student you talk to friends/classmates, teachers, family, in a professional sense, high school students don’t know how to talk to adults. Having to speak to an adult can be difficult for some. To reach out to an organization that you may be interested in can be intimidating to pick up the telephone to make inquiries. There is a technology shift away from telephones. Most students will use technology to communicate because that is all they know.
One of the reasons that Helping Hands is an app, is because that is how students communicate. High school is generally from 9 am to 3 pm. by the time they get home (after school activities) many businesses close at 5 pm. The app takes away the barriers. Whatever their schedules, the app fits.
One of the features is skill-based matching. You can enter a skill you would like to improve on, along with interests and an opportunity will be presented based on those parameters. This way the student is volunteering somewhere they enjoy, as well as, getting a benefit from.
Volunteering can also provide experience, something so valuable for when they are applying for that first job.
Currently, a majority of the volunteer hours is tracked on paper. A volunteer coordinator could have many pieces of paper to sign and indicate hours and what they did. The app would take that need away. The guidance counsellor would be able to see the total number of hours and all of the details, through the app. It also eliminates the possibility of the student losing any papers (over the 4 years) proving their hours, and in turn the school does not lose any papers either. This helps improve efficiencies for all people involved.
The app launches Tuesday, October 10th. Helping Hands sees themselves as helping students with civic engagement. Youth need to have a voice, they are very intelligent and should be heard.
There has been a lot of interest from french teachers in the french school boards. Having the app in english and french is the next natural step. Technology allows you to reach and help so many people.
A great way to learn about other cultures is through volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to explore and learn that doesn’t cost you anything, but your time. There is a sense of involvement and so much value in volunteering.
Links mentioned in the show:
A discussion of millennials being employable was also in our previous episode, check it out: Episode 115 with Krista of Recruiting Concepts