Friday, July 31, 2020

Navigating Back to School in the Era of COVID-19

The American Occupational Therapy Association offers guidance for helping students engage in occupations while promoting health and safety in school and at home


NORTH BETHESDA, MD (July 31, 2020)—Returning to school is a complex event, even in a typical school year. With the COVID-19 pandemic and other social uncertainty, new challenges exist to maintain safety, comfort, and learning for students of all ages. To those navigating these uncertain times, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has produced a Back to School Guide and Back to School Tip Sheets to provide practical suggestions for parents, guardians, caregivers, administrators, teachers, occupational therapy practitioners, para-professionals, and students to promote safe engagement in school-based occupations.


“Whether in person, or virtual, the complexity of returning to school requires a holistic approach,” says Varleisha Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, AOTA’s Vice President of Practice Engagement and Capacity Building, who has 18 years of experience working in school-based practice as an OT, agency owner, consultant, and occupational therapy educator. “Recommendations must focus on the unique needs of all persons involved—children, parents, and the education team. To expand this focus, occupational therapy practitioners provide an approach addressing the environmental, physical, emotional, and behavioral demands.”


AOTA’s Back to School Guide provides support in these various areas of essential needs, including:


“Disruption to familiar routines can cause worry and anxiety in any child or young adult, and the reality is that we need to rethink what social engagement looks like for students this year,” says Susan Cahill, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, AOTA Director of Evidence-Based Practice, who has been an occupational therapist for 23 years, working as a school therapist, special education administrator, and occupational therapy educator. “Wearing masks, sitting away from friends, and meeting up online isn’t what students are used to expectingThe AOTA Back to School Guide includes practical tips and resources to help families and educators adapt routines and create new ones so that kids feel safe and are available for learning.”


AOTA’s Guides and Tip Sheets are available individually by topic or as one large document at


Note: This document also contains an overarching problem-solving model that can be used to address new questions as they arise. The Back to School Tip Sheets were developed using this problem-solving model. The information is intended to be used in conjunction with other direction and guidance provided by public health officials; local, state, and federal governments; and school officials, and is not intended to supplant such direction or guidance. 


Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 213,000 occupational therapists, assistants, and students nationwide. Occupational therapy practitioners facilitate participation in everyday living for people of all ages. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations, and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in North Bethesda, Md., AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, visit

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

What Effects is the COVID-19 Lifestyle Having on Those with Autoimmune Disease?

By Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories

The greatest emphasis on preventing the spread of coronavirus has been geared toward the elderly and those with autoimmune disease, and for good reason. While these groups are not necessarily more likely to contract COVID-19, they are more likely to have severe and even life-threatening complications. For the elderly, weakened immune systems have a hard time fighting this stubborn disease. But for those with autoimmune disease, the effects of COVID-19 and this new, uninvited stagnant lifestyle are a little more complex.

The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) estimates that 50 million Americans have one or more of more than 100 autoimmune diseases. That’s a lot of people requiring extra consideration in preventing the spread of COVID-19 or any virus! Within the complexities of autoimmune disease emerge a few reasons this higher-risk group should be more concerned:

Medications suppress the immune system – Not as a side effect, but rather as a means of treatment, many patients take medications to suppress their immune system to treat an autoimmune disease. The issue isn’t that they have a weakened immune system, instead it’s that they have an overactive immune system that attacks the body’s joints or tissues mistaking them for foreign substances. Out of fear of contracting COVID-19, these patients may be tempted to stop taking their medications to boost their immunity. However, this can be really tricky for the complex workings of such an immune system and should not be done without a discussion with their physician.

Disrupted sleep patterns – A common symptom of several autoimmune diseases is fatigue. So for some, this new stay-at-home lifestyle presents an opportunity for added rest. For others, the stress and anxiety associated with the fear of contracting the virus, loss of a job, financial hardship, among others, is causing a loss of sleep. Whichever way it falls, there needs to be a healthy balance. Adequate sleep is important for allowing the body to rejuvenate and stay healthy. However, too much sleep can result in a lack of other healthy essentials, such as exercise and mental well-being. Most experts agree that 7-9 hours per night is optimum.

Increased anxiety and depression – This unprecedented time brings an elevated risk of anxiety and depression for most of society. For those with autoimmune disease, the combination of disease-triggered pain and discomfort with the need to isolate to prevent contracting COVID-19, the risk is even greater. We need human interaction for mental and emotional wellness. To supplement the social interaction that is needed, scheduling social teleconferences, making more phone calls to friends and family, or even watching do-it-yourself videos can help fill that void until we get through this tough time.

Bad eating habits – The struggle is real with the “Covid 15,” a term coined to describe the extra weight that so many have put on during this stay-at-home (and eat) period. Unfortunately, like with most things, the effects of bad eating habits can be exponentially worse for those with autoimmune disease. Inflammation is one of the most common symptoms of autoimmune disease. Sadly, many guilty, culinary pleasures cause inflammation and trigger debilitating flare-ups for autoimmune disease patients. In general, the foods to avoid are grains, dairy, sugars, alcohol, caffeine, processed vegetable oils and non-grass-fed beef. If you find yourself snacking more than usual, try to stock up on veggies, nuts, healthy fats, grass-fed or organic animal protein and foods without additives or preservatives. The less modified, the better.

With the risks associated with COVID-19 and because those with one autoimmune disease have a 25 percent chance of developing another, it is critical for those with autoimmune disease to use safety measures, good eating habits and self-care to avoid contracting this or any virus. If you or anyone you know is concerned about potential autoimmune issues, Cyrex Laboratories, a leader in advanced clinical immune testing, offers the Multiple Autoimmune Reactivity Screen (Array 5),  a comprehensive screening for autoimmune disease. Along with the Array 5, add-on the GAM panel -- Total Serum IgG, IgA, IgM. This test is recommended for anyone with suspected immunodeficiency or who has recently used immunosuppressive medication. As always, seek the advice of your health care professional, if even via a phone or video call.

Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on the Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories. Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally-induced chronic disease.


Monday, July 27, 2020

How to Improve Your Happiness

Life can be extremely chaotic, demanding, and filled with challenges to the point where we can often feel as though we simply cannot cope with what’s happening around us. Knowing how to retain a positive mindset can be difficult when the circumstances you’re faced with aren’t going in your favor or are causing you to feel uneasy or stressed. Although happiness comes from within us, there are many ways in which you can boost your happiness with specific tactics and strategies. In this guide, we’re going to list just a few ways you can increase your happiness within your own life:

1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a technique of teaching the mind to be fully present at the moment without judgment and letting go of the past and not worrying about the future. By training the mind to concentrate on what is happening to the here and now, you’re less likely to focus on negative thoughts entering the mind. Mindfulness strategies can also be applied to our everyday lives and help us to cope in the most demanding situations.

2. Get enough sleep

Many adults need an average of 7-9 hours’ sleep each evening to function the next day. If you’re getting less than these recommended hours, you’re likely to feel drained, sluggish, and in a negative mood the following day. Studies show that people who are sleep-deprived are likely to suffer emotions such as anger and irritability. As a result, it would be advised to make changes to your sleep routine to get the shut-eye you need.

Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up the same time every morning will train your body into a regular sleep pattern. Other tips would be to avoid nicotine altogether, make your bedroom comfortable and dark as possible, so you are easily able to completely relax and, hopefully, drop off to sleep.

3. Try gambling

You may never have considered gambling as a method of improving happiness; however, there is scientific evidence to suggest that this past time is a mood-booster. Scientific studies show that it gives you something other to focus on than what may be happening in your mind and allow you to feel in control, in comparison to your real-life responsibilities. is the perfect website to enjoy a spot of gambling with no deposit required. After just one session, you may find that your mood has completely shifted into a much more positive state.

4. A well-balanced diet

A well-balanced diet is not only advantageous to your physical health, but there is also a link to mental health. On average, you should be eating approximately five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, as well as eating high fiber foods such as pasta, bread, and rice and those which are rich in protein and carbohydrates. A well-balanced diet allows your body and brain to work competently, which should, in turn, leave you in a more positive state of mind.


Camp Warner Bros. - Week 6 - Alex & Me Goal Chart and Family Workout #CampWarnerBros

Shoot for your dreams this week at Camp Warner Bros., as soccer superstar, Alex Morgan, stars in the full-length feature film – Alex & Me! The film follows the uplifting story of a young female athlete who learns how you need passion, determination and self-worth to make all your dreams come true.


Summer is a great time for campers to think of their goals -  be it short term, or long term! In Alex & Me, Reagan (played by Siena Agudong (“Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn,” and “ Star Falls”) uses a chart to keep track of her daily soccer drills as she progress towards her goals. This week at camp, we want to inspire our campers to follow their dreams and keep track of their personal goals with their Alex & Me Goal Chart - a great tool to motivate kids to strive to be their best:

I am loving this so much right now. Over the past few months with school closed due to COVID my kids have done a lot of sitting around. While in school their gym teacher had a weekly form just like this that they had to fill out and turn in every Friday. I was thrilled. They were not but they did what was expected for class. School closed the end of June and they have done very little to stay active. Today when they grab their chore sheets (they have a sheet for every single day which should keep them busy for at least an hour and a half to two depending on the day) they will find this sheet too. I have written two things I expect them to get do and then they can pick a few of their own off the sheet below. My daughter has been doing push ups and my son walks but I love the idea of all of us getting more fit. If they see us working out and we are expected to do it daily it becomes the norm and we can stay on track. 


About Alex & Me:

Teenager Reagan Willis has one dream – to play soccer like her hero, Alex Morgan. Her bedroom is a shrine to all things Alex, including a life-size poster of the Olympic gold medalist. Yet in the Willis house, Reagan lives in the shadow of her prep football superstar brother, Logan. When Reagan fails to make the cut of the premiere local soccer club team and is humiliated by her rival Claire, she’s certain her ship has sailed. But after accidentally hitting her head, Reagan’s poster of Alex Morgan suddenly comes to life and everything changes!

The 411:

Such  is a cute, feel good movie that isn't cheesy. Reagen has a lot of things going for her. She is a great soccer player with the skills and the desire to make it big. Unfortunately she doesn't make the team which is hard for her. Soccer is her life.  She is so upset she starts removing all soccer memorabilia from her room except a poster of her hero Alex won't come off the wall. Reagen falls and hits her head and when she comes to her idol Alex is talking to her. 

Reagen makes it onto a team called The Breakaways thanks to her Dad and Alex training her taking the team all the way. 

I loved how Dad comes forward to help The Breakaways form a solid team even though he was thrust into the role of coach. I also loved how Reagen's brother uses his good fortunate to thank his sister for helping him. Perception is everything and family communication is important. This was very realistic especially in the fact that mom and dad seem oblivious to Reagen's issues because she wasn't really communicating how much she needed more.   Families don't always talk open enough so that everyone is getting what they need.

Some of my favorite scenes were when Reagen was talking or hanging with Alex but no one else saw her. Fun and perfectly kept to a minimum so as not to let Reagen play the fool.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Teaching Social Skills Is So Important To The Adult Your Child Will Eventually Become

I have been familiar with Boys Town Press for a while now and I love what they are doing to help families through love, support and education. Social Skills are important and unfortunately they are mostly taught to children who are on the spectrum but not through mainstream education. My son always had social skill in his therapy sessions, classes, with his teachers and counselors and is the kindest person I know. When I worked in the school I found it odd that social skills which are so important to a happy life are not taught. A mother I made sure to teacher BOTH my children how to be good people, how to handle situations and themselves based on the situation. How will they learn unless someone teachers them. In my mind, it was my job to make sure my children were good people that others would want to be with long after I was gone. 

I guess others would have called me a helicopter parent but that is NOT at all how I saw myself. Often times at the park I saw a lot of children trying to navigate a great big world without any input from their parents who were often engage in adult conversations or on the phone. While their child either hogged swings, wouldn't let others go down a slide, took toys away from other children or just said very mean things. I stayed near and made sure my children knew how to take turns, say excuse me, help someone who needed help, or just use manners when they spoke to people. I sometimes worried that they would think they couldn't do anything right but I gave them freedom and allowed them to make mistakes so that we could correct and talk about it later.  Social skills unlike math, writing, reading, science and social studies are something that will be used every day so why are they not included in educational plans? 

All children should be taught at home and at school how to use their manners, use patience, kindness, how to take turns, focus on tasks, help others and more. These things are not hard to teach and they take practice so the more you talk about it when the situation arises the better.  

Books like Herman Jiggle Go To Sleep, But I Need Your Help Now, and Fix It With Focus are wonderful reads because they serve as reminders for children in an easy to follow way by using real situations your child will encounter in life.

But I Need Your Help Now is about a little boy learning how to get an adults attention without interrupting unless completely necessary and what makes something necessary.

Fix It With Focus is about a little boy who needs help staying focused. He learns that staying focused means he can get to the fun quicker. He is given an outline by some well meaning adults who show him the Fix It With F-O-C-U-S.

Herman Jiggle Go To Sleep is about a little boy who has so many questions while his very sleepy mommy does her best to answer them all. She keeps reminding him that he needs to sleep. I loved this book so much. As a preschool teachers I can tell you that I can tell which kids have a routine bedtime and get a proper amount of sleep and the ones who go to sleep whenever they pass out for the night. 
Children do require a certain amount of sleep and if you keep the routine the same every night your child will go to sleep. At school we have 10 kids we need to get to sleep at the same time and they are not in cribs but we manage with most of them out within 10-15 minutes. It is because we do the same thing every single nap time. Kids are creatures of habit and if you maintain a routine and they know what is expected they will do it. I teach 2-3 year olds and I am here to tell you it works! Even though most parents are amazed they stay on their mats for 2 hours without talking or getting up. All it takes is a routine!

Disclaimer: I received complimentary copies for the sole purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was offered. 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Calling All Shark Lovers ! A "Fin-Tastic" #Giveaway From NG Kids Books @NGKidsBks

Whether your family is all about sinking their teeth into the amazing, jaw-dropping shows from the summertime pop culture phenomena of Shark Week and SharkFest or Baby Shark is more your speed  (do-do-do-do-do!),  National Geographic Kids Books is celebrating this majestic beast and its habitat with a fantastic shark-themed giveaway for all ages.   Chocked full of brilliant photos, exciting first hand accounts of shark encounters and weird, wild and fascinating facts, these books are perfect for STEM-related learning, fun summer reading, backseat boredom busting and the shark “fin”-atic!  Here is a brief description of each title:

The Ultimate Book of Sharks (ages 9-12, hardcover, $19.99) by internationally acclaimed marine photographer and National Geographic Explorer Brian Skerry is an underwater adventure like no other.  With exclusive photographs and personal insight from Skerry, this book takes the reader below the surface and into the minds of these spectacular predators.  Beyond the feared fins and terrifying teeth, readers will learn what its like to swim with these amazing fish, how they live, what they eat, their superhero-like senses and better understand why these graceful, confident, perfectly sculpted predators are also vulnerable animals that we need to protect.  

National Geographic Readers: Sharks!  (ages 5-8, paperback, $4.99) -  He’s quick. He’s silent. He has five rows of deadly teeth. Chomp! Meet the shark—the fish who ruled the deep before dinosaurs roamed the Earth! This leveled reader is for kids who are starting to read independenelly, are ready for more complex vocabulary and who love sharks!  Like all books in NatIonal Geographic Kids reader series, this title was developed in consultation with early education experts and are written to maximize interest and achieve reading success. 

This full color book has a ton of information on sharks perfect for young readers. My school age and preschool age kids loved reading these books but they really were amazed by this cover. It is honestly quite frightening to me but they thought it was cool. I found this book perfect for some new readers because they can memorize much of the text which gives them a lot of confidence as they were reading. 

Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean (ages 4-8, hardcover, $14.95 ) - An  adorable animal reference that includes the sea's high-interest animals, such as dolphins, sharks, sea otters, and penguins, and introduces kids to some of its lesser-known creatures. More than 100 charming animal photos illustrate the profiles, with facts about the creatures' sizes, diets, homes, and more. This book will quickly become a favorite at storytime, bedtime, and any other time.

The photos are simply breathtaking. Such amazing color. This was really a favorite of the 2-4 year olds in my preschool school. They loved "NEMO" on the cover. Like all Nat Geo Kids Books you will get cover to cover brilliant photos and fun easy to read text. The layout makes reading fun and the kids enjoyed pouring over the pages and looking at every detail. I believe even the teachers were excited to get new books to read to the kids. 

Extreme Ocean: Amazing Animals, High-Tech Gear, Record-Breaking Depths and Much More   by National Geographic Explorer Sylvia A. Earle (ages 8-12, paperback, $12.99)   An action-packed combination of science and adventure, famed National Geographic Explorer Sylvia Earle leads readers on an in-depth tour of life beneath the waves. Come face-to-face with whales and sharks, learn about the newest and most hi-tech ocean gear and gadgets, experiment with hands-on activities, and join Earle as she recounts her most daring dives. Packed with fascinating tidbits, animal profiles, and up-to-date science, each chapter combines stunning photography with fun, accessible text. Perfect for curious kids, ocean lovers, young explorers, and the classroom.  Extreme Ocean  reveals the mystery, majesty, danger, and — above all --the importance of our ocean.

I saw the older kids 10-12 sitting in cubbies reading this book yesterday. They were most interested in Chapter 4 which talks about the danger the ocean is in with garbage, plastic, oil spills and more. We talk a lot about the environment at school so it was nice to hear them talking about how awful it is that people don't do a better job of cleaning up after themselves and using less plastic.  One boy asked if he could borrow the book until Monday to show his dad which made me very happy.  
So Cool! Sharks (ages 3-7, hardcover, $6.99 ) -  Sharks are among the world's top predators, but that's just ONE reason why they are SO COOL. So who wouldn't want to hang out with them to learn more! These books blend awesome animal photos with silly quips and info that will delight young readers and animal enthusiasts. For example, kids can catch the hunting habits of a great white shark while learning that its true nature is as chill as a frozen fish stick. This is the perfect little reader to get their brain buzzing and keep them laughing during their downtime.  

Such a cute book. Great photos and Fun text. An easy to read and easy to memorize book. 

* A must-watch video featuring National Geographic Explorer Brian Skerry, photographing tiger sharks!:

Check out how awesome these books are here. 

I highly recommend these books as well as other Nat Geo Kids or NG Kids or even National Geographic. I grew up reading National Geographic at my grandparents and I am so happy to receive and share these books with my preschool kids. 

Enter the Giveaway below before my Birthday on Aug 13th!

Disclaimer: I recevied a complimentary product for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Starting Your own Business


If you are looking to start a side business, you should try to do something you are passionate and knowledgable about. When you know a lot about what you are doing, it’s easier to sell your products. Your biggest struggle for success could come from too much competition, so try to do something that not too many people in your network of friends are doing.  Here are a few ideas for what you could start doing to earn some money on the side.

Music Lessons

If you are skilled at playing an instrument, you may want to consider offering lessons to people who are looking to learn to play. The number of lessons and who you can give them to will depend on your level of expertise. Many people play different styles and techniques, so you can still offer plenty of knowledge to people even if they have been taught by someone else.


Many people like to buy homemade items and support small businesses. So, if you have skills in making creative things with various materials such as wood or clay, you could sell a variety of different products. If you have the capability, turning your local business to an online craft storecan get your products out to more customers as well. 


A popular thing to do right now is to personalize items. Things such as cups and bags are being made to include your name or some type of saying on them. You could also make vinyl stickers or magnets for people to put in their homes or on their cars. This is a great way to have something unique that can be specialized based on an individual's wants.

Starting your own business can be a challenge because of the many unknowns. However, if you put in a lot of planning and hard work you will likely be a success. 

3 Great Landscaping Tips for Transforming Your Yard This Summer

Looking to improve the appearance of your home this summer? Take advantage of the summer weather to head outdoors and enhance your home’s curb appeal through an updated landscaping strategy. If you want to take your landscaping to the next level this summer, here are three things you shouldn’t hesitate to do.

1. Improve Your Lawn

Your lawn forms the foundation for your overall landscape design, and that’s why it’s important to keep your lawn lush and green. To ensure that your lawn is vibrant, green and healthy all summer long, you’ll need to perform aeration, reseed sparse areas of turf and water certain spots as necessary. Better yet, choose a maintenance-free option such as artificial turf. Professional installation of artificial turf Austin will replace your natural turf with an option that will stay green all year round. Instead of spending time trying to keep your grass green, make this upgrade and you’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors this summer.

2. Add Dimension to Your Garden

Colorful flowers and green vegetation are necessary to make any landscape design truly complete. If you want to set your outdoor space apart from the rest, though, consider taking your gardening into another dimension by adding the element of height. It’s easy to do this by purchasing a wooden trellis, garden arch or obelisk from your nearest nursery or hardware store. You can place this element anywhere in your garden, but it’s especially effective to place these elements in ways that hide unsightly features, such as garbage can storage areas or transformer boxes, in your yard. Once installed, train climbing vines and flowering plants to grow up, over and around these structures.

3. Plant a Floral Border

Property lines tend to be an area that homeowners neglect when they’re developing a plan for landscaping a property. Giving these areas some extra attention will frame your home and yard in an attractive way. Take stock of the amount of sunlight and shade these spots receive, and then plant flowers and shrubbery accordingly. For best visual effect, densely plant these borders, then surround the new plants with fresh mulch to retain moisture as well as provide added aesthetic appeal.

Investing a little time and effort in your outdoor space will go a long way in making your whole property look attractive and inviting. Keep these tips in mind as you make your landscape renovations this summer and you’ll soon have a yard that will be the envy of the entire neighborhood!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

My Life In Pictures - May 25- 31

May 25 - I have started training my cats with CitiKitty NOT A SPONSOR. Let's see how it goes! 

May 26 - Nada

May 27 - Nada

May 28 - Back at work! It is hot and I cannot breathe but since this is the "new norm" and I am rule follower I wear this muzzle. 

May 29 - Because one was not enough! I needed another. 

May 30 -  We started taking the cats to the deck on a leash. They don't love the process of putting it on but enjoy it once they are out there.

May 31 - The photos your kids send you when you are at work. SMH!

4 Ways Students Can Enhance their College Apps During the Pandemic (While Staying Safe)

This is not how high school and college students (or anyone for that matter) imagined their 2020 summer would play out. Internships have been canceled, summer jobs are limited, and social distancing is making networking challenging as everyone works to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While this summer may be non-traditional, there are still ways for students to build out their resumes as they prepare to apply for college and/or internships. Outlined below, you’ll find four tips from Eric Oldfield, father of two school-age daughters and Chief Business Officer of Brainly— the world’s largest online learning community with 150 million monthly users.  I have told my kids for years how fortunate they are to grow up with all this technology. They have the whole world at their fingertips. 

1.  Learn a new foreign or programming language 
These days students can take on a new language of any type--foreign or programming-- with just a smartphone or computer and a strong commitment. This is possible thanks to the seemingly endless resources available to them through online courses like Codecademy or Duolingo, educational apps, and audio programs such as Rosetta Stone or video platforms like Vidcode. Learning a new computer programming language (like JavaScript, Python, or Swift) or a new foreign language (like Spanish, French, or German)  will not only add value to a resume, it will also open up new opportunities and career prospects.  

2.  Set up virtual informational interviews
Students should identify a handful of companies they are interested in interning for and reach out via LinkedIn to schedule a virtual informational interview. Doing so will allow them to learn more about the company while developing an important relationship that will pay off when they go to apply down the line. Students can mention conducting these virtual interviews in their extracurricular activities or hobbies section of college applications or resumes to make them stand out from the crowd even more and earn recognition for being proactive and ambitious.

3.  Volunteer virtually
While it may seem like volunteering opportunities would be impossible with so many areas facing stay at home orders this summer, the reality is that there are a plethora of opportunities that exist virtually. Many organizations have adapted their strategies to include virtual meetings and are making every effort to continue serving their communities and constituents during this new normal. From video chatting with lonely senior citizens and operating crisis call lines to provide at-risk youth with guidance, or transcribing historical documents for nonprofit museums to make their collections more accessible, there’s something out there for everyone. Catchafire is a volunteer search tool exclusively for online volunteer projects, and it’s a great place to start.

4.  Become a moderator for an online learning community
By becoming a moderator for a peer-to-peer learning community such as Brainly, teens can take on leadership opportunities, discover how easy and rewarding it is to help other students of all ages, and learn about working in a team environment. Teenagers and high schoolers can also gain professional experience in brand ambassadorship, content moderation, and community management; develop lifelong communication skills; and earn the prestigious title of being a certified educational content moderator.


These are just a few ideas for high school and college students to step up their resumes or college applications a notch above the rest during their summer downtime. For more information or ideas, go to