Tag Archives: common cents

Run for Change with Common Cents

28 Apr

This Saturday I’ll be running a 5K along with a few hundred other people- care to join us?

Common Cents, creators of the Penny Harvest, is hosting a run/walk/rally 5K on April 30th to celebrate 20 years of student service and raise money for the Penny Harvest program. If you haven’t heard, Common Cents is an educational, not-for-profit organization, which specializes in creating and managing service-learning programs for young people. The most notable of these programs is the Penny Harvest, which has enabled NYC children to collect and donate over 8.1 MILLION dollars in the past twenty years. This program teaches children -starting at age 4- the value of service and philanthropy, empowering them from start to finish; they collect the pennies, they discuss who needs it most, and they are the ones who hand out grants to local charities and community organizations. For more information about how the program works, visit the Common Cents website.

There is still time to register for the run; you can do so by visiting the Run for Change! website. It will start at Pier 84 at 43rd Street and the Hudson, and finish 5 kilometers south at “Penny Park” (formally know as Nelson A. Rockefeller Park but really, come on, Penny Park? It’s perfect) After the run will be a Student Action Fair and Global Relief Conference at Stuyvesant High School which all are welcome to attend.

Can’t make it but still want to help? You can donate and support me in my quest to complete my first 5K since the 1996 St. Patrick’s Day Fun Run in my hometown of Baldwin.. Just head to the website and donate on my page!

Stuyvesant High School is located at 345 Chambers Street.

Pier 84 is located at 43rd Street and 12th Avenue.

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Force of Human Nature: Spring Volunteer Activities Outdoors

24 Mar
2011

This post was originally written for offManhattan, an eco travel site featuring destinations out of Manhattan that are accessible sans car.

Whether or not the weather agrees, Spring is officially here. It’s time to put those winter sweaters back into storage and dust off your flip flops. It’s also the perfect time to volunteer in New York City. As the seasons change, so do the opportunities available; there are gardens to be planted, parks to prepped for the onslaught of visitors, and other outdoor projects that are most enjoyable in the cool sunshine of Spring. Below are some ideas for outdoor volunteer projects and activities that you can sign up for right now:

Pick A Day, Any Day

Are you too busy for a big time commitment? Sign up for these one-day volunteer events:

  • ‘It’s My Park Day’ is an bi-annual event taking place this spring on May 21st, 2011. You don’t even have to register: just find a participating park and GO. Partnerships for Parks invites dedicated community groups to organize volunteer projects and free cultural events in their neighborhood parks, in the hopes that people will come out to help and learn more about year-round opportunities. There will be over 150 community organizations and parks participating throughout the 5 boroughs.
  • Hands On New York Day: Join New York Cares and 5,000 other volunteers on April 16th to make our city’s parks and gardens cleaner, greener, and ready for summer. You can join my team or start your own!
  • Million Trees Planting Event: The city’s Million Trees Initiative has an ambitious goal: to plant and care for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade. On April 30th, 2011 you can help them reach that goal by joining them in one of five parks in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and volunteer to help plant 20,000 trees in one day!

Runs Don’t Run Themselves

New York City plays host to a slew of fundraising 5K’s and walks, and all of them need volunteers to help ensure the day goes smoothly. You can help by handing out water along the route, checking in participants, cleaning up after the race, or even cheering! Here are some upcoming runs and contact info:

  • New York Road Runners: Find more races and opportunities here by signing up to volunteer at any NYRR race. All opportunities in 2011 will count as a volunteer credit toward the 9+1 Program for those who would like to receive a guaranteed entry to the 2012 ING New York City Marathon.

Going Green for the Season

There are many organizations that are dedicated to community gardening and environmental education all year long. Now that Spring has arrived, they’ll need help for the busy planting season. Check out these groups for on-going volunteer opportunities with varying commitment levels:
  • ioby (which stands for ‘in our backyards’) connects donors and volunteers to environmental projects in their neighborhoods to inspire new environmental knowledge and action in New York City. They have sponsored projects in need of volunteers to plant veggies, building gardens and educating the public; email volunteer@ioby.org for more info or visit the website.
  • TimeBanksNYC Green April is a month-long marathon of eco-friendly, green-inspired projects. Each Saturday in April, TBNYC will be in a different borough for an environmental community service event. To gain access to the Green April events, attend the volunteer kick-off event on March 30th at the Horticultural Society of NY; RSVP at volunteer@timebanksnyc.org.
  • New York Cares is the all-encompassing, citywide mecca for volunteers. Just sign up online and attend a 45-minute orientation and you’ll be able to access their database of 1,000’s of projects that take place all over the city, from Pelham Bay Park to Gregory’s community garden in Brooklyn and almost everything in between. You can volunteer once, weekly, monthly; whatever you schedule, NY Cares has something for everyone.
  • Slow Food NYC is the New York City chapter of Slow Food, a non-profit, member-supported organization founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life. From time to time they need volunteers to staff events or to help with outreach programs. Contact them at volunteering@slowfoodnyc.org to find out what’s available now; for one, they will be preparing their neighborhood farm in Brownsville on April 16th, 30th and June 4th for the upcoming summer program for 100 local kids.

For more environmentally-helpful volunteer projects, visit my spring greening tips from last year, “Volunteerism in Full Bloom.”

Garden or Run, Pick A Poison.. Or Both!

10 Mar

There are two big events coming up in April that I’m participating in, and I’d love some of my Give And Get friends to join me! The first is Hands On New York Day on April 16th and the second is the Penny Harvest Run for Change on April 30th. Whether you’re looking to get down in the dirt or run a 5K, both of these events are sure to make you sweat. Read on for details on what these events are all about and how you can register:

Join New York Cares and 5,000 other volunteers to make our city’s parks and gardens cleaner, greener, and ready for summer. Hands On New York Day is an incredible day of service; we may rake and clean debris, or plant, or paint fences and benches! Teams haven’t gotten their assignments yet but it’s sure to be a fun, green time no matter what. Last year our team was placed in Queens where we painted benches in Bowne Park.  It’s a great way to get outside with some friends and make a difference, and also an important fundraiser for New York Cares that supports the 11,000 volunteer projects that run year-round. I’ve thrown together a team for this and NY Cares other annual event, New York Cares Day, for the past three years. This year is no different: Join Team Give and Get NYC on April 16th


 

The first ever Penny Harvest Run for Change is going to be an amazing day, and I’m not just saying that because I’m helping to plan it! It will raise money for one of the most important causes – supporting children so they can have the kind of future that you and I have been given, and help prevent them from dropping out of school and teaching them the collective power of youth leadership and philanthropy. Common Cents, creators of the Penny Harvest and Run for Change, will lead thousands of people as they run from Pier 84 on 43rd Street, down the Hudson River Greenway to the finish line at “Penny Park” located within Nelson A. Rockefeller Park. Following the run, you can attend the Student Service Fair and take a look at the amazing work these kids have done and celebrate their committment (and yours!) to service. If you’d like to sign up, you can register here and join the Common Cents Volunteers Team, which I’ll be leading on the 30th.

 

Both of these events require a $25 registration fee, which goes towards covering the event costs and fundraising, and also giving you a sweet new t-shirt to wear the day-of. You can register for both like I have, or pick one that is better suited to what you’d like to do. Both events, be it beautification of our parks or contributing to the education of our children, will benefit the City of New York by investing in it’s future. You can comment below and/or email any questions you may have to info@giveandgetnyc.org

Jenny’s Garden a Hidden Treasure

28 Jun

Click formore pictures!

This past weekend I volunteered with New York Cares, Common Cents and others in Jenny’s Garden in West Harlem. The day was a celebration and kickoff of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, which started today in NYC. With supplies generously donated by a corporate sponsor, we had enough mulch, top soil, hoes and rakes to keep us busy for hours. And busy we were…

The Riverside Valley Community Garden is on 138th and 12th Avenue inside of Riverside Park. It houses fresh vegetable and fruit plots that grow lettuce, potatoes, eggplant, peaches, plums, pears and cherries and more. This garden and many others within a 10 block radius, have been tended to by Jenny Benitez for the past 25 years. At 76, she has been volunteering her time every day to keep her neighborhood beautiful alongside other caring community members. Jenny was there on Saturday and the way she was pruning and digging and lifting and mulching, it seems clear that gardening is one great way to stay healthy and active! She is an amazing woman who, in the late eighties, saw a vacant lot filled with abandoned cars, drug addicts and garbage, and chose to do something about it. That lot is now a neighborhood gem and popular spot for groups of volunteers to get their hands dirty on summer weekends.

Arriving at 10am, our group of 25 volunteers received a brief tutorial on the tools we’d be using and where the gardens were located. They span about 20 blocks, sloping off of Riverside Drive and 12th Avenue, so it was good to have a sense of where we’d be for the day, if only to make sure we didn’t get lost from the pack. From the main Community Garden on 12th Avenue, we set out on Riverside Drive and spent the next three hours cleaning up a few large garden plots. We made a real difference that day, which is one of the best things about beautification projects: you can see results immediately, and that feels good.

 

Click for more pictures!

While I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds from the garden that ran along the street, I saw a pair of hands on the other side of the fence doing the same. I picked up my head to see an elderly gentleman holding car keys in one hand, and a mass of weeds in the other. I thanked him as he handed me his bounty to throw in our garbage bags, already full of pruned hedges and garbage, and with a nod of acknowledgment he went back to work on the weeds I couldn’t reach from inside the garden. It was touching to see someone stop what they’re doing and take a moment to help; he was seemingly a local, on his way to his car, and felt compelled to help, if only for 5 minutes. It made my day.

Click for more pictures!

We finished around 1pm, at which point we headed back to the Garden to eat pizza under the shade of grapes growing on a large trellis.  With the sun shining, surrounded by good people doing good things for an appreciative community, it was a truly great day.

You can help Jenny tend her gardens by volunteering solo or with a group. She’s a great woman who can teach you a thing or two about gardening, and she loves all volunteers that come to help. You can do so by visiting the Riverside Park Fund website and filling out the volunteer inquiry form, or sign up with New York Cares.

Thanks to the National Conference on Volunteering and Service for hosting the day and providing some sweet t-shirts for all the volunteers that came out to help Saturday. You can watch highlights of the conference and stay informed virtually by clicking here.

 

Volunteer This Saturday at Jenny’s Garden!

23 Jun

This weekend, thousands of people dedicated to service will be converging on NYC for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Nationally convened by the Points of Light Institute, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and locally convened by NYC Service and New Yorkers Volunteer, the annual event provides attendees with an opportunity to learn, connect, and be inspired through a wide range of exciting and informative workshops, special events, service projects, exhibits, specialized corporate tracks and more. In anticipation and celebration of their arrival, a whole slew of service projects will be happening throughout New York so that attendees can serve our city, their host, during their stay and continue to proliferate the growing service movement in NYC.

One of the projects is happening at Jenny’s Garden in Harlem (138th Street and 12th Avenue). Common Cents, an educational, not-for-profit organization which specializes in creating and managing service-learning programs for young people, will be sending out volunteers and you can come join them (and me) this Saturday the 26th from 10am-2pm. We will be weeding, planting, pruning and raking leaves at Jenny’s Garden, a community garden in Riverside Park. So if you don’t have plans already for what is looking like a beautiful Saturday, come join us for a day in the park!

You can sign up for this project by going to http://www.volunteeringandservice.org/plan/service-projects.cfm , and clicking the sign up link next for Jenny’s Garden mid-way down the page.