Reflecting on how we gained our mandatory volunteer for high school, we found that we had similar experiences.
Every volunteer position we applied for was through word of mouth or via flier promotions posted at school. With the new generation becoming nearly entirely online based, our team thought that there had to be a more efficient way to supply people with volunteer opportunities that surpassed conventional methods. Thus we were led to the creation of VolComm.

What it does

VolComm is a website that acts as a one stop shop for those looking for volunteering opportunities. It connects volunteers directly with the organizations. and delivers all essential information about the position to the user. It's simple and user friendly design places emphasis on convenience. VolComm's main feature is its ability to display all relevant volunteer opportunities in relation to the user's location. This allows the user to easily format a route to positions of interest and create an efficient schedule.

How we built it

How the website was built: HTML and CSS was used to create the main webpage, which implements a scroll feature to display information in sections. Collapsible sidebars used for navigation and for storing contact details frames the website and creates a pleasing aesthetic.

How the map was built: The main function of the website is the map used for displaying volunteer postings as well as the user’s location. The map was created using a Google Maps Javascript API in combination with a Geocode API that is able to convert an address string into latitude and longitude coordinates. The jsfile that makes the map is then linked as a source code in the websites HTML code allowing it to appear under the websites “Explore” heading.

Handling login and user information: Firebase and Javascript was used in combination to storing user data and was linked with the front-end. Firebase allows for user authentication and handles login information

Challenges we ran into

Since none of the group members had experience with Firebase, set up and handling the user authentication process proved to be very difficult and took up the bulk of hacking time. Implementing the Geocode API in tandem with the Google Map API also proved to be a challenge, requiring a lot of trial and error to fix.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our team prides ourselves on the simplicity of our website, allowing people of all ages to easily become accustom to using it. The interactive map was also a huge accomplishment as well as the website's ability to handle user information.

What we learned

During this process we all exercised and improved our skills in organization, planning, and time management. It was also our first time using any of the programs listed above, and so we developed our skills in Javascript, HTML, and CSS in building web pages. Skills in using Firebase and various APIS were also developed.

What's next for VolComm

If we had more time there are a variety of features we wished to have included in VolComm:

  • Filtering features
  • A database of volunteer opportunities that auto updates
  • Rating system for organizers
  • CAPTCHA tests to prevent spam
  • Implement newsletter feature
  • A verification process for organizations

Currently, VolComm takes value from bettering communities however, if VolComm were to evolve it could potentially become a program that takes compensation from the organizations it promotes. If developed further we would also hope to bring VolComm to major organizations, such as the school board. in doing so VolComm would be able to reach a wider audience and benefit more people.

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