Lend a Hand at the Stable
Kids ages 16 and older can get involved with GallopNYC, which brings the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding to kids and adults with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. Volunteers can help with lessons, supporting riders by leading their horses and providing encouragement; lend a hand with stable work; or participate in fundraising and special programs. Volunteers sign up for two hours a week for multiple weeks. GallopNYC asks its volunteers to help with riding lessons (leading of horses) or sidewalking (two volunteers walk along either side of the horse). No experience is needed as training is provided. GallopNYC offers its programs at four locations: Bronx Equestrian Center, 9 Shore Road, Bronx; Bowling Green at Prospect Park, 397A Coney Island Ave., Brooklyn; GallopNYC Forest Hills, 8803 70th Road, Queens; and Sunrise Stables, 80-89 Linden Blvd., Howard Beach, Queens. Sign up to volunteer here, call 646-233-4507, or email [email protected].
Make a Wish Come True
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and Western New York grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Children in kindergarten through 12th grade can participate in Kids for Wish Kids, a program that develops project ideas to fundraise for Make-A-Wish. Take part on your own or recruit others to help. Volunteers don’t need to raise enough to sponsor a whole wish, but every little bit helps a wish come true. A bake sale, pajama days, car wash, read-a-thon, or penny drives are all great ways to start raising money. Make-A-Wish will provide balloons, buttons, banners, and other MAW items to sell. For Kids for Wish Kids, contact Kathie Lombardi at 516-944-6212 x141. For other volunteer opportunities, contact volunteer services coordinator Heather Joseph at 516-944-6212 x114 or email [email protected].
Serve Your Community
The American Red Cross provides relief to individuals affected by disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Parents and kids ages 13 and older can help with mailings, hand out flyers at fundraising walks, help with fundraising events, or come up with their own projects to raise money for the Red Cross. Teens ages 14-18 can join or start a Red Cross Club at their high school. For more information or to fill out the volunteer application form, visit online. Note: The Red Cross serves Brooklyn but no longer has an office in the borough.
Spring Clean Your Closet
Second Chance Saturdays at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park are a great opportunity to donate your gently used clothing, shoes, and textiles. Enlist your kids in the process of cleaning out their closets. It can even turn into a fashion show to see what still fits. Take your kids with you when you donate the clothes so they can see the impact of their good efforts. Bring your materials to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket (Northwest entrance to Prospect Park) every Saturday, 8am-4pm. Visit here for more information.
You can also drop off clothing at these other Brooklyn locations:
Fort Greene Greenmarket, Washington Park at DeKalb Avenue (Saturdays, 8am-3pm)
McCarren Park Greenmarket, Union between Driggs and N. 12th streets, Greenpoint (Saturdays, 8am-2pm)
Check with your local Salvation Army thrift store for instructions on donating clothes:
981 Manhattan Ave.; 718-383-5005
6822 Third Ave.; 718-833-6894
3718 Nostrand Ave.; 718-648-8930
436 Atlantic Ave.; 718-834-1562
Start Your Own Project
DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people rock causes they care about. Kids ages 12 and older take action all year through Do Something’s campaigns and their own projects (apply here). For more information, call 212-254-2390.
Use Common Cents
Students in schools across the five boroughs can participate in Penny Harvest, the largest children’s philanthropy in the US, to raise money for different causes, including animal rescue and homelessness. Children ages 4-14 have collected pennies and turned them into grants for community organizations. Volunteers can also complete neighborhood service projects through Penny Harvest. For more information on Penny Harvest, visit pennyharvest.org or contact Teddy Gross at 212-579-0579 or [email protected].
Walk for the Cause
Head to nymetroparents.com/walks to find fundraising walks in your community. Walking together for a cause can bring your family closer together while supporting a worthy organization. It’s also a great way to get outdoors, add exercise, and make new friends. Most charity walks in the Connecticut and the New York metro area take place in the spring and fall. Be sure to plan ahead, because the sooner you register, the longer you have to raise money for the cause. Coming up: March for Babies in April and May, Bark for Life of Brooklyn in May, AIDS Walk New York in May, Walk Now for Autism Speaks, Great Strides: Taking Steps to Cure Cystic Fibrosis in May.
Work for Water
The UNICEF Tap Project is a nationwide campaign that affords everyone the opportunity to help provide the world’s children with safe, clean water. We don’t usually think twice about the quality of our water but more than 900 million people around the globe do not have access to clean drinking water and approximately 1,400 children perish from water-related illnesses daily. A one-dollar donation can provide a child with clean water for 40 days, or 40 children with access to safe water for one day. Kids can join the cause by organizing a lemonade stand, bake sale, car wash, or similar fundraising event and donating their proceeds. Visit here to sign up and find a list of ways to get involved.
Do Your Kids Volunteer?
See the Brooklyn recipients of the 2016 NYMetroParents Caring Kids Awards and read their inspiring stories of community service and volunteer work.