EVO: Volunteering with Purpose

Yongjin Park ’22 develops a volunteering app that is geared towards attracting volunteers to “opportunities that are specifically catered to them.”

Last year, I had an incredible opportunity to work with Malama Maunalua, a non-profit organization in Hawaii that focuses on environmental protection. I participated in volunteering activities to clean up invasive algae from the Maunalua Bay, and although I was supposed to do some research with them, the pandemic forced me to seek a virtual internship, in which I worked in media production for the organization. Despite this, I was fortunate that the organization was able to host events in-person and transition online for volunteering to continue.

However, this made me wonder: how will other non-profits that are not as big as Malama Maunlua consistently attract volunteers? Many valuable opportunities that are exciting and novel continue to be ignored because they are hidden away by other volunteering events. As a result, many people face difficulty when trying to find an opportunity that they truly want to participate in.
To combat this, I am currently developing an app called EVO, which aims to present users with volunteering opportunities that are specifically catered to them. The app will consider a person’s age, health conditions, interests, the difficulty of the volunteering activity, and other factors to suggest to the person the ideal volunteering opportunity.

The app is almost finished, and I am getting ready to reach out to non-profits in Hawaii, the Philippines, and Haiti to discuss the possibility of beta testing EVO with them. To introduce my app to these organizations in a way that is both quick and effective, I decided to create an introduction video for my app. Using the funds provided by the micro-grant, I have purchased a subscription to Adobe After Effects to assist in the production of this video.

Although my video isn’t completely finished yet, I have learned many lessons throughout this project. I think the most important part of this process was constantly reviewing my work from the perspective of a customer. Since this introduction video is for organizations that have no information about my app, I have to continually look at my video from the point of view of an investor reviewing my pitch for the app. Another difficult aspect of this was learning how to find the balance between engaging and boring. I have to ensure that my video provides enough information to be informative, but it also has to be equally engaging to keep the organizations interested in my app.

Finally, I want to express sincere gratitude to the Workman family for providing me with funds for this project and their commitment to support students to do good for the community.

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