Waterford student creates website to connect volunteers to those in need
Jun 15, 2020 12:15PM
By Julie Slama
Waterford sophomore Ellie Vogel took the initiative to create a website connecting those in need of assistance during COVID-19 to those who are willing to volunteer to serve. (Photo courtesy of Candice Vogel)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Waterford sophomore Ellie Vogel was shopping at a grocery store for her grandparents and an aunt who has a heart condition when she wanted to do more for those people who are more vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.
“I felt bad, like there are more people in our community who are at a higher risk and thought, those who are less likely of getting coronavirus, could help them,” she said. “I researched ways to connect the two groups, and I didn’t find anything.”
That’s when she decided to create a website connecting them. She had never created a website before, but that didn’t stop her.
“I looked and found an online website builder and started the learning process. It didn’t take long, maybe a weekend,” she said, adding that creating the website wasn’t performed as a school assignment or an activity requirement for service hours.
“I really wanted to help, and I have extra time now” as the social distancing has curtailed Ellie’s dance rehearsals and rowing practices that usually take place after school.
What she created is way of connecting those who need assistance with those who are looking for ways to help those in need through her website, communityconnectionsutah.com. On one page, those who are requesting assistance fill out a form, which includes name and contact information, and another allows those who want to volunteer to complete information. Then, Ellie connects the one in need with a volunteer who lives in the same community.
Already, she has 40 volunteers offering to help people in Salt Lake, Davis, Utah and Summit counties and has paired volunteers with seniors or those with chronic illnesses who need groceries, prescriptions picked up, and items cleaned at a laundromat.
“I’m still working to get the word out to those in need,” she said. “Some places realize the positive impact this can have for seniors, but they aren’t allowed to post third-party services.”
While the need seems more urgent during the social distancing stage of COVID-19, Ellie plans to leave up the website “as long as people need help.”
The Sandy teenager has helped at senior citizen centers as well as with the food banks and animal shelters in the past.
“I’m definitely glad I did it,” Ellie said. “I just want to spread the word that there’s help out there and people are wanting to help one another.”