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COVID-19

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Leadership & Volunteerism Office

Monday, March 23 - Sunday, May 10:

Our physical location is closed. For more information visit ou.edu/coronavirus.

Telecommuting Hours:
Monday – Friday / 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Operations:

  • The L&V staff will be available via phone, email, and videoconferencing.

Contact:

  • Dr. Becky Barker: (405) 325-4020 or rreed@ou.edu
    • Director of Leadership & Volunteerism
  • Kari Dawkins: (405) 325-2340 or kari@ou.edu
    • Lead Team and PCS
  • Vicky Bumgarner: (405) 325-7869 or vicky@ou.edu
    • Volunteerism and The Big Event

 

OU Community, we miss seeing you on campus and in our corner office of the Union, but we hope you are staying healthy, safe, active and engaged. This newsletter is intended to provide you with ways you can help others amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well as inform you of resources that may be helpful to you or others.

Volunteering online lets you donate your time to a cause that matters to you, which means you can make a difference even if you can’t go physically go somewhere. We have included a list below of multiple sites that offer these opportunities. Please email us of any others you are aware of.
 

  • 7 Cups:
    • 7 Cups provides free, 24/7 emotional support to millions via online chat. They want to make sure nobody has to face their problems alone. Having someone like you to listen can be all it takes to make a real difference. All you need is an internet connection and to sign up for some training, and you can help provide emotional support to people!
       
  • Amnesty Decoders:
    • Operated by Amnesty International, this network of digital volunteers helps conduct research into global human rights violations. Volunteers have used their phones and computers to verify the location of oil spills, find evidence of drone strikes, and flag abusive tweets to women politicians in India.
       
  • Be My Eyes:
    • Be My Eyes is a free mobile app with one main goal: to make the world more accessible for blind and low-vision people. The app connects blind and low-vision individuals with sighted volunteers and companies from all over the world through a live video call.
       
  • Catchafire:
    • This volunteer search tool is exclusively for online volunteer projects. Each one has a timeline that can range anywhere from an hour to a few weeks. So whether you have an afternoon or several, you can help not-for-profit with tasks like writing thank you letters or editing photos.
       
  • Crisis Text Line:
    • Here’s a perfect example of technology being used for good. Become a volunteer to help the Crisis Text Line continue to offer free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. If you’re at least 18 and can commit to volunteering four hours each week, you can apply to be trained for free.
       
  • DoSomething.org:
    • DoSomething empowers young people to enact social change both online or off. Volunteer online through one of our campaigns to help solve real-world problems. DoSomething members have used the internet to successfully urge Apple to diversify their emojis, change the dictionary definition of “Black/black”, and create the largest crowdsourced anti-bullying guide.
       
  • National Park Service:
    • Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, they safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 330 million visitors every year. Online volunteers can test, evaluate or develop elements of the NPS’s online presence.
       
  • Project Gutenburg:
    • Founded in 1971, this may just be the virtual volunteering effort that started it all. The goal is to create the largest digital library, and so far they’ve amassed 59,000 free eBooks. Volunteer by donating eligible materials, transcribing books into a digital form, or proofreading others’ work.
       
  • Red Cross:
    • During times of disaster, the Red Cross utilizes digital volunteers to monitor online discussions to find people who need help, and to share important updates on social media. If you are active on Facebook and Twitter, this could be a great opportunity for you.
       
  • Smithsonian Digital Volunteer:
    • The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, but even they could use a little help sometimes. Help make their collections more accessible by volunteering online to transcribe historical documents or edit Wikipedia articles related to their artifacts and research.
       
  • Translators Without Borders:
    • For those fluent in more than one language, check out this nonprofit that combines language skills with humanitarian aid. Volunteers provide translations (10 million words a year!) to international organizations that focus on crisis relief, health and education.
       
  • United Nations Volunteering:
    • If you’re looking to take your online volunteering worldwide, this is the place to start. UNV connects you with organizations working for peace and development in need of skills like research, writing, art, and design. There are already over 12,000 volunteers from 187 countries lending their talents to organizations around the globe.
       
  • VolunteerMatch:
    • VolunteerMatch makes volunteering easy. They match people with causes, connecting millions of people with a place to volunteer. You can customize your search for your perfect online opportunity in both the USA and Canada in your field of interest.
       
  • Zooniverse:
    • Zooniverse is a platform for people-powered research that literally wouldn’t be possible (or practical) without the help of online volunteers. Spend as much or as little time as you’d like identifying endangered animals, classifying galaxy systems, or transcribing Shakespearean manuscripts.

We recommend that everyone follows health guidelines, practice social distancing and avoid close contact with others. If you are interested in volunteering in person, the current opportunities are listed below. Check the United Way of Norman website for updates.
 

  • Meals on Wheels:
    • Our volunteers are following the  6 feet apart rule, so deliveries are to the outside only. Anyone interested should contact Deana at 405-321-7272 or deana@mealsonwheelsnorman.com. We will need a copy of your driver’s license and car insurance, and if you have a current background check please bring a copy.
       
  • Salvation Army:
    • We currently need 2 to 4 volunteers daily for disinfecting shelter. Please call 405-364-9910 if you are interested.
       
  • Red Cross:
    • Many of our volunteers are older, and as a result of COVID-19, are now reluctant to respond to volunteer opportunities. We are still responding to home fires daily and supporting our firefighters with canteening services when needed. These volunteers are often called upon and we can always use more. Call 504-281-0479 to volunteer.
       
  • Volunteer Interest Link:
    • Click the link above to submit your information if you'd like to be contacted with other opportunities. 

A number of non-profits and community organizations have created funds to support citizens of Norman, Oklahoma City and the surrounding area. Please consider supporting one of these organizations today. Your support will help individuals and communities battling the many obstacles that have surfaced due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 

  • Sooners Helping Sooners:
    • The University has activated an emergency financial assistance program to help students who are being presented with unique financial challenges because of the crisis. This program will include university resources and privately raised money. 
       
  • United Way of Norman COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund:
    • With so many businesses forced to close, many people could find themselves struggling to find food or pay bills. The United Way of Norman has set up a fund to help them in the weeks ahead.
       
  • The Norman Regional Foundation:
    • The Norman Regional Foundation is proud to support our doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and administrators who are continuing the high level of care within our NRHS facilities during this time of uncertainty. To help with their fight against the pandemic, you can donate items such as masks, hand sanitizer, protective eyewear, faceshields and isolation gowns. You can also donate financially to their Care2020 Emergency Response Fund to assist our healthcare facilities with their greatest needs.
       
  • Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma:
    • Our already vulnerable neighbors are being hit the hardest. Schools have been shut down and many children have lost access to their most reliable source of food. Seniors are being forced into isolation for their safety and aren't able to stock up on the nutritious food they need to remain healthy. Every $1 helps provide 4 nutritious meals, so please give as generously as you can.

If you, a friend, or a neighbor need a hand during these unprecedented times, we hope these resources below will be a starting place for you to get the help you need.
 

  • Sooners Helping Sooners:
    • The Sooners Helping Sooners Grant is open to all Norman, HSC and Tulsa campus students, undergraduate and graduate, with the exception of Advanced Programs students. Funding is awarded to students on the basis of documented, unforeseen financial need. 
       
  • Way of Norman COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund:
    • Financial help is now available for people who are struggling to pay their rent and utility bills due to COVID-19. United Way of Norman is partnering with Food & Shelter to distribute funds collected. Payments will be made directly to landlords and utility companies. To apply for assistance, call Food & Shelter at 405.360.4954 Monday through Friday from 1-4 p.m.
       
  • 2-1-1:
    • If you are in need of assistance, you can also contact 2-1-1. This information referral line has the latest information on the resources available in our community. Check their website, call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898211.
       
  • Food Pantries:
    • The OU Food Pantry is currently only taking online orders. Please fill it out by Tuesday at 10 a.m. of pick-up week to ensure your order is filled. 
    • Click this link for the most up-to-date list of Norman food pantries and their hours. Keep in mind, some of these locations may close due to the pandemic.
    • For families with children, Norman Public Schools is providing weekly meals at their school sites. This approach will be more convenient for families as they will only need to go to the school one time to receive a week's worth of meals (breakfast and lunch) and also will allow us to reduce contact and better protect our students, families and the child nutrition staff. Click here for more information.
  • OU Health Services:
    • OU Health Services is still open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. People with fevers or respiratory symptoms must call ahead before entering the building at 405-325-8732. The pharmacy is still open for prescriptions and over the counter items, you can 405-325-5165. Counselors and our dietitian are still visiting with patients via Zoom and/or Telehealth. Appointments are scheduled like normal (Counseling 405-325-2911; General Appointments 405-325-4611).
       
  • The Virtue Center:
    • Speak with a supportive professional during this difficult time, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. - Noon. For after hours help, call the Reach Out Hotline Toll Free at 800-522-9054.

 

College students living away from their parent(s)’ home while attending college (living either on-campus or off-campus), will be counted at the on-campus or off-campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time. In short, students should be counted at their residence in Norman! Students that normally live at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily living somewhere else due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit ou.edu/oucounts