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Where to Volunteer with Your Kids in Brooklyn

Where to Volunteer with Your Kids in Brooklyn

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2019: Lend a little hand in your community, and make it a family affair! We've put together a guide to some places around Brookyln that need your help, including nonprofit organizations, nursing homes, animal shelters, food pantries, and many more. Volunteer opportunities are available for children and adults alike. And remember, big or small, everyone has the power to make a difference!

Become an Island Ambassador

Volunteers with the Governors Island Alliance (ages 16 and older) can serve as Island Ambassadors, welcoming the public to the island, helping orient visitors, and informing them about the island’s past, present, and future. Green Team volunteers (ages 18 and older) take part in gardening and landscaping projects on Governors Island Historic District and the new park. The island re-opens to the public for the season on around May 1. For more information, email

Feed the Hungry

Serve a little something at the St. John's Bread and Life soup kitchen and and food pantry with social services that helps combat poverty and increase awareness about New Yorkers in need. Help is in high demand around the kitchen. Anyone interested in volunteering must complete an application online. Currently, they are looking for volunteers to pack up toys and food during the holiday season in December. For more information on how you can help, call 718-574-0058. 795 Lexington Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant.

At Citymeals On-Wheels, an organization that provides food and company to the elderly housebound in New York City, you can volunteer once or sign up for a longer commitment. Volunteers younger than 18, accompanied by an adult, can help hand-deliver meals. All prospective volunteers must submit an application along with two references and attend an orientation/training session prior to beginning their volunteer work. For more information,  email

The Greenpoint Church Hunger Program needs volunteers for its soup kitchen and food pantry. Visit the website and click on the volunteer tab to sign up online. Greenpoint Reformed Church, 136 Milton St., Greenpoint.

Go Green

GrowNYC environmental education program implements a service-learning model, where students go out into their communities to make real changes in the areas of conservation and alternative energy. Common activities include tree planting along the Bronx River and further upstate, during which students learn about habitat restoration and why trees are important to our ecosystem, along with watershed maintenance, during which students learn how they can help keep watersheds clean and ensure the city has healthy drinking water. Students can also become part of the Greenmarket and Youthmarket and Learn it, Eat it, Grow it (LGE), which promotes cooking and various community outreach opportunities. GrowNYC does not formally accept volunteers younger than 18, but middle school and high school students throughout the five boroughs can get involved through programs in their schools. Check the website for volunteer opportunities.

Partnerships for Parks helps New Yorkers work together to make neighborhood parks thrive. The organization has a diverse, growing network of dedicated park volunteers and groups and it provides opportunities for them to celebrate their parks, become more effective leaders in their communities, and work with government officials to affect decisions about their parks. There are various volunteer opportunities for all age and interest levels. For more information on how to get involved, visit online, call 212-360-1399, or email

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. Sign up to volunteer here, call 646-233-4507, or email

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.

Start Your Own Project 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.

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