Tag Archives: street project

October 2012 Highlighted Volunteer Projects!

6 Oct

Check out the following opportunities for weekend warrior volunteers coming up this October!

On the Upper East Side: On October 13th, Volunteer with Meals-on-Wheels, delivering meals by foot to home-bound seniors, who look forward to these much-needed personal visits. For more info click here.

On the Lower East Side: On October 14th, donate two hours to help run a chili cook-off for charity! Or, join the fun and buy a ticket! All proceeds will benefit God’s Love We Deliver. For more info about the event click here. For volunteer info, email giveandgetnyc@gmail.com

Midtown East: On October 20th, donate your time to Dress for Success and Street Project by sorting clothing donations. For more info click here.

In Northern Manhattan: On October 27th, help keep a beautiful park beautiful by raking leaves and making mulch with the NYRP. For more info click here.

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Volunteerism in Full Bloom

22 Apr

The sun is shining more and more each day, which means spring is here and summer is on its way! For those of you looking for volunteer opportunities that let you take advantage of the nice weather, look no further. Below is a list of places to go volunteer your time for good while catching some sun and fresh air.

Partnership for Parks: If you’re looking to volunteer in a park, this is a good place to start. For all intents and purposes, it’s the City of New York’s volunteer arm of the Park and Rec. Department; their mission is to help NYC parks thrive by strengthening a diverse, growing network of dedicated park volunteers and groups by creating opportunities to get more involved in all things Park. You can use this as a starting point to search for organizations near you (click here) that are beautifying parks right where you live! If you don’t want to go it alone, the Partnership is also able to organize group volunteer outings for corporate groups- click here for details.

It’s My Park Day: Don’t feel like sorting through the options? Then participate in the city’s annual ‘It’s My Park Day’ on May 15th. You don’t even have to register: just find a participating park and GO. Volunteer activities range from horticulture to painting projects, along with a variety of free events, including kayaking, dance performances, and more. There will be over 150 community organizations and parks participating, so chances are you won’t have to travel far if you live in one of the five boroughs (even you, Staten Islanders!). All of the locations aren’t listed yet, so check the website closer to the date for more details.

IOBY (In Our Backyards): IOBY is a great organization that connects donors and volunteers to projects that are going on right in their backyards (hence the name IOBY). Local groups post projects they are trying to complete in their community, and you can offer to help by volunteering your time or money towards their cause. Most of them are small-scale projects that you can help complete in a day, like putting up a fence or planting seeds in a garden. It’s an organization I can really get behind, because their niche is focused enough that everything posted is completely reasonable and feasible, affording opportunities to a lot of people who just need a little extra push to accomplish their goal.

Parks and Recreation Events Calendar: There are a ridiculous number of events going on in New York’s parks that you don’t know even know about. Or maybe you do, but don’t be such a narcissist, I wasn’t just talking to YOU. Anyway, on any given day this calendar will show you at least 4 or 5 opportunities you can get on board with. For example, every Tuesday at 7am you can head to Cobble Hill Park in Brooklyn to help maintain and beautify. A lot of the events are more about enjoying the parks and less about volunteering in them, but all of the places listed are typically open to accepting volunteers so it’s still a good Spring resource.

Shape Up New York: Do you have experience as a fitness instructor and want to use your powers for good? If so, you may be interested in Shape Up New York, where you can volunteer to teach a variety of classes and activities, including aerobics, yoga and pilates. They’re currently looking for instructors in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and the committment is a 6 or 8 week course, once a week.

The Gowanus Dredgers: This organization is dedicated to providing waterfront access and education to the public, running programs on the shorelines of Gowanus, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Staten Island and Long Island City, run by volunteers. You can take a self-guided tour of the canal using the Dredgers stash of canoes, and then get your hands dirty helping them clean up trash, restore the natural habitats along the canal, or participate in one of the other many programs they offer. To stay informed of volunteer opportunities, send them an email at dredgers@excite.com and ask to be put on their volunteer email list. If you happen to have a paddle, life jacket, or other equipment the Dregders may find useful, they take donations. Though I’d be interested to know why any New Yorker has extra paddles lying around, and where you store them…

Bronx River Alliance:They offer a variety of programs here that you can get involved in, including recreation, education, outreach, and of course, restoring and maintaining the river. You can help in any of these areas, and it will allow you to volunteer while enjoying the weather, and probably discovering a new part of New York you’ve never explored. If you would like to learn more about available opportunities, call or e-mail Michelle Williams at 718.430.4636 or michelle.williams@parks.nyc.gov.

Garden at Brooklyn Bridge Park: Head out to the Park on April 27th and join OneBrick in cleaning up this oft-forgotten park by the Brooklyn Bridge. The city-run side of BBP has little funding and requires a lot of volunteer hours to maintain it’s condition, so enjoy the view while you mulch, weed, plant and generally spruce up the area, knowing that you’re doing work that would have otherwise gone undone (RSVP with OneBrick here) Can’t make it on Tuesday? You can volunteer with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy all season long; for more info, click here.

Hudson River Park: Further uptown on the west side lies the Hudson River Park, where you can volunteer every other Sunday in the South Promenade perennial beds while learning hands-on learn horticulture skills, such as weeding, thinning and pruning. New York Cares and Street Project run projects here on the other Sundays, so you’ve got options all month long. If you’re looking for a committment, you can volunteer at the Pier 66 Natural Habitat twice a month. This garden is not open to the public, so you’ll have a private place to call your own while you weed, prune, and transplant your heart out. For this, healthy, strong and hard working individuals are required, and some gardening experience preferred.

Million Trees NYC: They have one goal: plant 1 million trees over the next ten years in NYC. Want to help? There’s plenty of trees to go around. Click here to learn more about how to get your hands dirty. 325,275 trees and growing…LITERALLY!

Street Project and Urban Adventures: Once a month, you can sign up to volunteer with Street Project and go on an Urban Adventure! According to the website, “Urban Adventures was developed in conjunction with Mott Hall Middle School to provide an educational and recreational outlet to seventh graders. The 10 to 15 Mott Hall students who participate look to the program as an opportunity to explore the city”. The next event is a scavenger hunt in Central Park on June 12th (click here for info); previous adventures have included trips to museums, parks, exhibits, and zoos.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list… Have suggestions? Post them below in the comments section or email me at info@giveandgetnyc.com and I’ll add them to the list! Spring has Sprung! Get out there and volunteer!

Citymeals-on-Wheels

24 May

What: Delivering food to home-bound seniors

Where: Encore Community Center, Theater District, through Street Project

When: Saturday, 10am-12:30pm

Citymeals-on-Wheels is a non-profit organization that provides many services to home-bound seniors throughout the five boroughs of New York. According to their website, Citymeals “funds 30 community-based agencies that bring weekend, holiday and emergency meals to home-bound elderly New Yorkers who can no longer shop or cook for themselves.” Signing up through Street Project, I was able to volunteer at one of those 30 agencies, the Encore Community Services Center in the theater district.  You’ll be told to arrive at 10am or earlier to ensure that you won’t get left behind when everyone sets out to deliver; when I volunteered they were running a late, but I heard its rare, so I suggest you heed the warning and get there on time.  You’ll sign in with your friendly project leader and wait to be given a delivery route for you and a partner. There is one hot meal, and two cold entrees that can be eaten later in the day; everything is packaged, counted, and packed for transport beforehand. Also, it could be my affinity for TV dinners and airplane food, or the fact that I didn’t have breakfast, but everything looked and smelled delicious. But I digress…

You’ll be given a route with about 7-12 stops, all within a 10 block radius, so you won’t need to get on a subway. The food is transported in hot/cold packs on a rolling luggage cart; I have an aversion to these, especially in Times Square, so I let my partner pull the food through the throngs of tourists. Thanks, Partner. We had a short list, 7 seniors, 4 of which resided in the same building. All of the meals we delivered were received with generous thanks. Some wanted to chat for a little while, just about the weather or DTV switch, while others took their food with a thankful nod and closed the door. Both reactions are understandable: on the one hand, these people are living alone and can’t really go anywhere by themselves, so they’re happy to have company if only for a few minutes. On the other hand, some people may feel ashamed that they need to have food delivered to them because they can’t get it themselves. Just something to think about if you do this project. Our delivery took about an hour; when you’re all done, you’ll bring the empty packs back to Encore and sign out. Other things to know:

-This may be obvious, but I’m saying it anyway: wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather-this is a rain or shine activity. People gotta eat, even in the rain!

-Citymeals offers other volunteer opportunities that aim to help home-bound seniors, such as phone chat, letter writing, and friendly visiting, all with varying time commitments. Check out their website for more information. You can also email Encore Community Services, if you’re interested in volunteering directly with them; they have many programs for seniors, including lunch service during the week  at 11 & 1230.

-I was pleasantly surprised with the crowd Street Project attracted. True to their website, it was a good mix of  male and female young professionals. You’ll have an opportunity to meet people before going to deliver, and get to know your partner (mine was Ori, orignally from Israel, now a PhD student here in New York-thanks for pulling the food, Ori). I’m looking forward to future projects with Street Project, which are mostly on Saturdays and Sundays.

-This is a great activity to do with a friend or two, or even, on a date. I know it sounds weird, and I’m not sure if I should be advocating dating on a volunteer project, but it just seemed like a nice way to get to know someone while working together to get the meals delivered. Or you can just go out to dinner…that works too.