Tag Archives: NYC service

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.


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!



Too Many Volunteers?

10 Dec

A recent article published by the New York Post, No Room To Serve, sites the difficulties that some people are having trying to volunteer in NYC. It’s unfortunate, but many volunteers are being turned away from organizations, placed on volunteer waiting lists, and in some cases, going through interview processes and paperwork similar to paid job applications. There are a few obvious reasons for the increase in volunteerism: a hurting economy that’s making people more aware that there are people in need, the unemployed who now have the time to volunteer, and Obama’s Call to Action earlier this year.

Those interviewed in the article, one who is on a waiting list at an Upper East Side shelter and another who couldn’t sign in to projects on the New York Cares website before they all filled up, felt rejected. Which is understandable, since all they want to do is donate their time. However, many places just don’t have the funding or enough staff available to make additional volunteer spots available. It’s not personal, however disappointing it may be.

The article does offer some help, acknowledging that “Despite the fact that candidates are duking it out for volunteer spots these days, experts stress opportunities are available — you just have to look in the right places. Animal- and education-related causes tend to be the most popular, [Greg Bagley, executive director of New York Cares] says, but there is always a need for volunteers to help others with job-interview skills and résumé preparation.”

There are many places that may not be as well known as the more popular organizations -New York Cares or the ASPCA, for example- that still need volunteers. Using websites like NYC Service, Idealist, or Volunteer March, people looking for opportunities may be able to find a place to volunteer. You can also do some good ol’ fashioned legwork yourself and try contacting some of the agencies listed on the website I Can Volunteer.

If you are an organization in NYC with volunteer opportunities currently available, please post them below or email me at info@giveandgetnyc.com

NYC’s First Chief Service Officer

16 Jun

This past week, Mayor Bloomberg announced the appointment of Diahann Billings-Burford  as New York’s first Chief Service Officer. She will lead NYC Service, the city’s program focused on promoting volunteerism, which includes nearly 40 initiatives to be implemented and overseen by Billings-Burford. “The goal of NYC Service is to let loose an army of volunteers who will help tackle our biggest challenges — which have only become more pressing during this national recession,” the mayor said. This is all a part of Mayor Bloomberg’s (and his administration’s) master plan to make New York City the easiest place in the country to volunteer.

To read more about the new Chief Service Officer, check out the link below to Amy Potthast’s article from The New Service:

“Mayor Bloomberg Appoints a City Year Staffer as NYC’s First Chief Service Officer” – Amy Potthast of Idealist.org

Or, read the full mayoral press release by clicking here

Serve America Act Signed…Government did something good!

21 Apr

As I’m sure you’re aware, there has been a HUGE increase in the number of volunteers within the past year or so. Now there is a bill, the Serve America Act, that will help mobilize those volunteers and recruit more to help address the pressing needs of society. I think that this is a huge step in the right direction for our country. It will help to create a new generation of volunteers by incorporating service-learning into curriculum across the board- elementary, high school, college and beyond, in addition to offering incentives or stipends in exchange for service. There are many different facets to the Serve America Act; if you want to learn more about it you can read it in full online, or check out this summary from Service Nation.

Alan Khazei, the CEO and founder of Be The Change Inc., wrote a great piece about the new legislature that I had to share. You can find it here: Alan Khazai – ‘A New Patriotism’ .

The Serve America Act has come at just the right time… The citizens of this country will now have more access to volunteer opportunities, enabling us to pick up the pieces that government has left and may not be able to fix without our help. I think everyone keeps waiting for the government to fix everything for them. Newsflash: they can’t! But with this piece of legislation, we are now more able than before to be the change we want to see in our communities and the world around us.

And don’t think that New York City won’t be a major player in all of this.. This week Mayor Bloomberg announced the expanding opportunities that will address the most urgent needs of the city, making the volunteer experience more effective by assisting non-profit agencies, and keeping track of the progress our City makes as a result of these changes. For more, check out the new NYC Service site.

Excited? Pissed off? I’d love to hear what everyone thinks….