Tag Archives: queens

Hands On NY Day 2011: Highland Park Clean-Up

19 Apr
2011

This past Saturday was Hands On New York Day, a citywide volunteer day which mobilizes thousands of New Yorkers to give their city a good ol’ fashioned spring greening. Though the weather wasn’t 100% optimal, the rain held out long enough to  get 70 public spaces cleaner, greener, and ready for people to enjoy all summer long.

Team Give and Get NYC was out straddling the line between Brooklyn and Queens this year, turning over plots in the Highland Park Children’s Garden. It was clear that the garden had endured a long winter and was in need of some TLC. Our site had an army of volunteers that were spreading compost, pulling weeds, and raking leaves, among other things. Our team was tasked with turning over four garden plots that belonged to local public school students. We prepared the soil for planting, which will take place in the next few weeks when the garden is turned into an outdoor classroom of sorts, teaching elementary-age kids how to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Before

After!

Despite the weather it was a great day, as these events always are. It gives me a great sense of pride any time I can volunteer alongside such a large, diverse group of people; we didn’t know each other’s names, but we shared shovels, fetched compost for each other, and lent a hand when it was needed, no questions asked. I like to think this is what it’s all about to be a New Yorker.

It was also seriously hard, back-breaking labor that I know could not have been completed by the small children and surrounding community who will ultimately benefit from our hard work and the support of New York Cares.

To see more photos from our day in the Highland Park Children’s Garden, check out the G&G Flickr account!

Did you volunteer for Hands On New York Day 2011? Feel free to reply below with links to your own photos and recaps of the day!

Hands On New York Day: Volunteer in Queens!

4 Apr

A few weeks ago I posted about New York Cares’ annual Hands On New York Day, taking place on April 16th citywide. That’s two weeks from now- have you signed up yet? The Give & Get NYC team will be cleaning up the entranceway to Highland Park in Queens. We have plenty of room on our team if you’re looking to volunteer outside on a beautiful April morning!

Hands On New York Day is an incredible day of service, with over 5,000 volunteers fanning out across the boroughs to work on spring greening projects. 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


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.”