Tag Archives: environment

NYC Civic Corps: Looking Back and Moving Forward

7 Jun

Are you ready to take your commitment to volunteerism and service to the next level?

NYC Civic Corps, an initiative of NYC Service and the Mayor’s Office, is now accepting applications for the 2010-2011 service year. Whether you’re a recent college graduate looking to break into the non-profit world, a community leader who wants to dedicate more of your time to the betterment of New York City, or if you’re just looking for a new, more meaningful career, NYC Civic Corps is ready to hear your plea. Selected Corps members will dedicate one year of service to the City, during which they will be dispatched in small teams to local non-profit organizations and City agencies with the charge of developing sustainable volunteer programs and expanding organizational capacity.

Last July, 193 inaugural members of the Civic Corps were sworn in at City Hall. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the program very well received, especially by the 57 public and nonprofit organizations that were able to benefit from the extra help. Though this first year of service has been referred to as an “experiment in social innovation”, a very flashy annual report shows that the initial results indicate that the program has already had some great successes. More than 33,500 volunteers were recruited by Civic Corps members for a variety of initiatives in several different areas, including: Economic Opportunity, Education, Environment and Clean Energy; and Health. This large influx of ready and willing volunteers contributed to the continued expansion of NYC Service into 2010.  Some of the highlights from the annual report include:

  • The Police Auxiliary saw a 183% increase in the number of applicants.
  • The Flu Flighters initiative recruited 1,381 New Yorkers to conduct outreach and awareness activities in their communities.
  • In one day, 800 volunteers planted 20,000 trees as a part of the MillionTreesNYC initiative.
  • The Financial Empowerment initiative resulted in 655 trained tax volunteers to assist full-time counselors at the City’s Financial Empowerment Centers.
  • 13,852 adult volunteers participated in education-related volunteer programs through partnerships with local nonprofit organizations as part of the Serve Our Schools initiative.

By September of 2009, this idea of a localized service movement had caught on in cities across the country, leading to the creation of Cities of Service: a bi-partisan coalition of the mayors of large and small cities from across our country who have taken an oath to work together in engaging citizens to address the great challenges of our time. Founded by 16 mayors with our own Mayor Bloomberg at the forefront, this organization is now now 95 members strong and growing.

If the numbers don’t speak volumes enough, many organizations that have benefited from Civic Corps have gone on record with their gratification. In an April 20th press release, Executive Director of New York Cares Gary Bagley said “I’m proud to announce today that because of the support we have received from NYC Service, New York Cares grew its programs by 20 percent and created 25,000 additional volunteer opportunities to meet higher demand for volunteer support as a result of the economic downturn. At a time when our capacity could have been limited, it was NYC Service’s Civic Corps that helped us rebuild our capacity and exceed our ambitious goals.”

So, are you ready to join?

In return for their service, Civic Corps members will be provided with a monthly stipend (about $1,163), health benefits, a NYC transit commuting stipend, and an end-of-service education award or post-service stipend. They’ll also receive professional development and support from NYC Service and the Office of the Mayor. To be eligible to join the NYC Civic Corps, individuals must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a Bachelor’s degree, and they must be willing to commit to a full-time (40 hours per week) position starting in late August, 2010.

Applications are available at
http://www.nyc.gov/service and are only accepted online. You must apply by June 30th, 2010.

If you are a 2009/2010 Civic Corps member and would like to share your experience, email info@giveandgetnyc.org and have your story featured on Give and Get NYC!

 


 

Hands On New York Day

26 Apr

What: Revitalize parks, gardens, playgrounds, community centers, and schools

Where: Bronx River Park, through New York Cares

When: Saturday, 830am-2pm

Hands On New York Day is one of New York Cares biggest days of the year. They mobilized about 5,000 volunteers, in partnership with the MillionTrees initiative, and sent them out to about 75 parks and gardens throughout the 5 boroughs. Some people planted trees, others re-painted fences or picked up trash; volunteers were doing whatever was necessary to fit the needs of the park/garden/school to revitalize and beautify the site.

I volunteered to be a registration leader and ambassador; the first job required that I register volunteers as they arrived at the site, give them a t-shirt, collect a registration fee if necessary, and have them sign a waiver. The ambassador’s (also me), were then supposed to collect all of the registration materials, money and any extra t-shirts, and bring them back to the New York Cares office on W. 29th Street. Though I’m sure that  it wasn’t the case at most of the sites, ours had some major issues that caused a late start. The directions that were sent out to most of the volunteers (including me, who was supposed to be at the site early) were wrong, so people had to get back on the subway and go two more stops to the correct meeting spot. It was really confusing; to add to this, I took the wrong train to begin with, so I was already running late. But that’s my own fault for being directionally challenged.

All of that aside, the Bronx River Alliance did a great job getting people registered and into t-shirts before we got there, and throughout the day were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about their park. It was a great day to  be outside and planting trees. This is an annual event, so you’ll have to wait until next year to try this activity out, but there are tons of opportunities during the warmer months to get outside and volunteer. Check out the organizations on my resource page to find something for you; these type of events/activities are great for groups, as you can all work together digging and planting and just having a good time.