The New York program site of Room to Grow, a nonprofit organization that strives to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty, is looking for dedicated volunteers to help prepare in-kind donations for families, organize collection drives, assist with fundraising, and get involved with many other special projects. High school student volunteers help organize and prepare inventory of infant and toddler clothing, toys, books, and equipment during the week for two-hour sessions. For weekly volunteers, an application and three-week trial period are required, after which the individual is a more permanent member of the Room to Grow volunteer program with a minimum commitment of two months. Space is limited. Room to Grow is located at 7 W. 30th St., 3rd Floor, NoMad. To volunteer, call 212-620-7800 or email email@example.com.
Spring Clean Your Closet
Donate your gently used clothing, shoes, and textiles at GrowNYC Greenmarkets throughout the city. Enlist your kids in the process of cleaning out their closets before springtime. 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. For more information, visit online.
Drop-off locations include:
• 97th Street Greenmarket, West 97th Street and Columbus Avenue, Upper West Side; Fridays, 8am-2pm
• Tompkins Square Greenmarket, East 7th Street and Avenue A, East Village; Sundays, 9am-6pm
• Union Square Greenmarket, 17th Street and Union Square West, Union Square; Mondays, 8am-6pm
You can also check with your local Salvation Army thrift store for instructions on donating clothes:
• 536 W. 46th St., Hell's Kitchen; 212-757-7745
• 208 E. 23rd St., Gramercy Park; 212-532-8115
• 112 Fourth Ave., East Village; 212-673-2741
• 208 Eighth Ave., Chelsea; 212-929-5214
• 268 W. 96th St., Upper West Side; 212-663-2258
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 or visit dosomething.org.
Support a Senior
At local nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, an afternoon of your company can make all the difference to someone. Take the opportunity to tackle a craft project or just sit and talk with a senior resident. If your family really wants to devote some time, you can “adopt a grandparent” and invite him/her to dinners and holiday parties. Below are several nursing homes that accept volunteers:
DOROT, an organization that mobilizes volunteers to improve the lives and health of the elderly and help them live independently, is looking for high school teens to volunteer with the teen internship program or with a parent/guardian. Volunteers visit the elderly, provide reading assistance for the visually impaired, help with shopping and other errands, and more. The organization is located at 171 W. 85th St. in the Upper West Side. To volunteer, click here or contact director of volunteer services Judith Turner at 212-769-2850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers of all ages (if under 18, accompanied by a parent/guardian) can volunteer with the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged to pay friendly visits to residents of senior centers during the holidays, collect much-needed goods, and more. For more information, contact director of volunteer services Illana Mittleman at email@example.com. Click here for more information. The Manhattan service center is located at 247 W. 37th Street, 9th Floor, Midtown.
Individuals of all ages can help out at The Carter Burden Network in any one of its volunteer programs. Volunteers aid senior citizens and their families in the community through a variety of programs including grocery shopping, computer instruction/training and a Meal-on-Heels service (kids younger than 15 can participate in this program when accompanied by an adult) where meals are prepared and delivered for seniors living at home. Volunteers can help with the Carter Burden Luncheon Club located at 351 E. 74th Street by preparing meals in the kitchen, distributing food, and cleaning up. The Telefriend program is a unique service where volunteers call homebound seniors just to chat and check-in on a friendly basis. The Friendly Visit program works to match a volunteer with a senior who shares similar interests and hobbies so the volunteer can visit the senior at his or her home, go on walks, or just have a friendly conversation. The center is located at 1484 First Ave. on the Upper East Side. For more information on how to volunteer, contact volunteer coordinator Rachel Becker at 212-879-7400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 by emailing email@example.com.
Walk for a 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: Give Hope Walk in April, Bark for Life 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 access to safe, clean water and basic sanitation. We don’t usually think twice about the quality of our water, but more than 748 million people around the globe do not have access to clean drinking water and approximately 1,400 children under age five perish from diseases linked to unsafe water or a lack of basic sanitation facilities. 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 support UNICEF by organizing a lemonade stand, bake sale, car wash, or similar fundraising event and donating their proceeds. Visit uniceftapproject.org to sign up and find a list of ways to get involved.
Do Your Kids Volunteer?
See the Manhattan recipients of the 2016 NYMetroParents Caring Kids Awards and read their inspiring stories of community service and volunteer work.