Volunteer in New York

Want to spend some of your New York vacation pitching in on volunteer projects that make a difference? From centrally located accommodations like The Sohotel on Manhattan which you can find on HostelBookers.com, you can set out to spend some quality time helping the locals recovery from nature’s fury or brighten someone’s day by feeding the homeless, providing coats for the needy, helping immigrants learn the language, cheering up the elderly or sharing your business knowledge with fledgling non-profit agencies. There are countless opportunities to volunteer in New York.

Refurbish the Green Spaces
Even before Hurricane Sandy ravaged the city, volunteers were helping “Green Up” NYC’s parks by planting trees, shrubs and native plants. Since the storm, efforts have shifted to clean up and replanting projects. To see what kind of park volunteer opportunities are offered during your visit, check the calendar on the NYC Parks website. In Jamaica Bay National Park, volunteers are being sought daily for repairs on the boardwalk that was shifted by tidal surges.

Have a Chat
A non-profit agency operating since 1982, Helping Hands for the Disabled of NYC desperately needs volunteer translators or sign language experts over 18 years of age to help interface with their clients who have a limited command of English or a hearing impairment. Interested volunteers can call Alice Crespo at 718-606-9712 or email her at hhdfornyc@aol.com for more details. The Arab-American Family Support Center also needs volunteers to converse with their adult education class to improve their conversational English.

Spread the Warmth
With a cold East Coast winter following on the heels of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, New York Cares has ramped up its coat drive and is asking for volunteers to help sort and distribute coats to needy families. This year’s goal is to collect 200,000 coats by December 31st, 2012, but if you’re visiting after the holidays there will still be plenty of ways you can pitch in and help New Yorkers stay warm through the long, cold winter!

Preserve the Wild
Just north of NYC is the Palisades Interstate Park that encourages visitors who are members of hiking organizations like the Appalachian Mountain Club or Sierra Club to help them maintain their excellent trails and camping spots. You can also help with setting up for annual re-creations of historical events like the “Times that Try Men’s Soul’s” show commemorating the role of this area in America’s fight for freedom.

Feed the Hungry
Lend a helping hand at the St. John’s Bread & Life Program, a non-profit group that runs a daily mobile soup kitchen that serves the hungry folks in New York healthy meals at no charge. To volunteer as an individual, you need to complete their online application and then contact Jennifer Stephen at 718-574-0058 x126 or by email at jstephen@breadandlife.org .

Non-Profit Management Strategy
Have a talent for organizing people and developing winning business models? The Taproot Foundation gives visiting professionals a chance to share their expertise with non-profit organizations by participating in the kind of highly structured marketing and design projects that are invaluable to start-up enterprises. Known as Service Grants, the organization is supported by Volunteer Match, an online service that provides orientation, training and coordinates volunteer activities via the Internet.

Wildlife Preservation
If you want to get out in the boondocks and give the wild critters a helping hand, the Rochester Environment project in eastern New York State could use your help. They have programs that monitor migration patterns, work to minimize water pollution and promote biodiversity in the dozens of park and recreation areas along beautiful Braddock Bay on Lake Ontario.

Speak Your Mind