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Where to Volunteer with Your Kids in Rockland County, NY

Where to Volunteer with Your Kids in Rockland County, NY

UPDATED OCTOBER 2017: Lend a little hand in your community, and make it a family affair! We've put together a guide to some places around Rockland County 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.
     
    

It’s never too early to teach your youngsters the importance of volunteering and giving back to their community. By volunteering together, you can show them firsthand the positive impact they can make by using their time, energy, and compassion for the greater good. Rockland County offers many kid-friendly community service opportunities with a little something for every type of volunteer, from working outdoors to earn that green thumb to providing comfort to furry friends in local animal shelters. Whichever cause you choose, make volunteering a must on your list of family activities this year and take time to remind your children how important it is to reach out and help others in our world.
     

Be Neighborly

March is Red Cross Month: The Red Cross provides relief to individuals affected by disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Parents and kids ages 14 and older can help with mailings, help with fundraising events, or come up with their own projects to raise money for the Red Cross. To volunteer, fill out the application online.

People to People helps Rockland County residents through difficult times by providing food, clothing, and school supplies. Kids ages 14 and older can volunteer at the food pantry, where they’ll shelve, bag, and check expiration dates on food, or in the clothing room, where they’ll sort and rack donated clothing. Families with children younger than 14 are encouraged to participate in a food drive or other service project—contact the program director for more information. Volunteer applications are available on the website or at the front desk, between 9:30am-4pm Monday-Wednesday and Friday, and until 6pm on Thursdays. Community service credit for school and religious groups is available. All volunteers must complete an application process. To get started, call the volunteer program office to speak to the program director Elyce Bristol at 845-623-4900 x213.

Meals on Wheels where “meals are just the first course,” provides more than a meal to the housebound, seniors, and others in need through nutritional, recreational, and social support programs. Parents and children of any age can assist by delivering meals for one hour, once a week; deliveries are made with your own vehicle Monday-Friday 10am-1pm. Parents and children ages 12 and older can also assist in preparing and packaging food (Monday-Friday 7-10am). Parents can also choose to deliver meals on holidays only, when they are off from work. Volunteers ages 18 and older are greatly needed to help with administrative duties, at the adult learning center and day care center, on the fundraising committee, putting together care packages, and more. Kids can also do take-home projects to earn community service hours such as caring cards and making small crafts for a meal recipient. To get started, contact Dianna Diffley at [email protected] or at 845-624-6325, or visit the website.
     

Make a Wish Come True

Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Hudson Valley grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their lives with hope, strength, and joy. The Kids For Wish Kids program allows children to help those closest to them: classmates or other kids in the community. Local children do it all—organize, raise funds, and manage their own programs with support from parents and/or teacher advisers. This hands-on experience shows children how their commitment and generosity can impact another child’s life and help grant a wish. For more information, visit hudson.wish.org/kids, or contact community outreach manager Hilary Ducker at 914-246-8680. For other volunteer opportunities, contact Abraham Almanza, director of volunteers, training, and digital engagement, at 914-478-9503 or [email protected]. hudson.wish.org.
    

Go Green

Keep Rockland Beautiful promotes a cleaner and more beautiful county. Families can participate in the fall waterway cleanup, which runs from September through mid-November and has a special focus on cleaning up local streams. Cleanup volunteers are also welcome year round; register online. Parents (PTA members) and elementary and middle school-aged children can also bring Earth B.E.A.T. (Basic Environmental Awareness Training) to their schools. Earth B.E.A.T. is an interactive environmental program that teaches kids about environmental topics such as the effects of pollutants on our watershed and the benefits of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Volunteers all ages are welcome to participate. To get involved, call executive director Sonia Cairo at 845-708-9164, or email questions to [email protected]. 120-126 N. Main St., 2nd Floor Annex, New City.
     

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Help the Homeless

Grace Episcopal Church helps organize food and shelter for the homeless in our county. Parents and children can volunteer through the church’s Helping Hands program, which provides a hot dinner and overnight shelter for homeless individuals three times a month, December through April. Volunteers can also participate in the Midnight Run program on the second Saturday of each month. To volunteer or get more information, call the church and leave your name at 845-358-1297. 130 First Ave., Nyack.

Living Christ Church provides nondenominational suppers at 5pm each Sunday, year-round. Parents and children ages 12 and older can help with serving and cleanup. Children younger than age 16 must be accompanied by a parent. Please call at the beginning of the week to see if more volunteers are needed on a particular Sunday. Contact Gary Hecht at 914-419-5450. 150 Piermont Ave., South Nyack.

Christ Episcopal Church runs a soup kitchen and thrift shop, each of which accepts volunteers ages 15 and older. The thrift shop welcomes donations of gently used clothes, furniture, and houseware items. Contact Kitty Nash at 845-357-1615 x15. 65 Washington Ave., Suffern.
     

Mitzvah Movement

JCC of Rockland Mitzvah Program is dedicated to the enrichment and continuity of Jewish life and to the preservation and celebration of Jewish heritage. The center’s mission is to strengthen individual awareness and connection to the Jewish community, the state of Israel, and the community at large through recreational, physical, educational, social, and cultural programs. Volunteers are always welcome. The Mitzvah Program is designed for middle school and high school aged kids. For certain other JCC programs certified by the state, you must be 16 to volunteer, and for family event programs you must be 14 in order to volunteer. If you would like to know how you can utilize your skills or outreach passion, contact Emily Shotland, director of teens and Maccabi experience, at [email protected] or Monica Rosenbaum, director of youth and family engagement, at [email protected]. 450 W. Nyack Road, West Nyack.

Rockland Jewish Family Service helps organize volunteers to work with the Rhoda Bloom Kosher Food Pantry of Rockland County and various synagogues in the area to provide staples to needy families in the County. Once a month, volunteers prepare bags of non-perishable food to be picked up by the families enrolled in the program. For more information visit their website or call Kathryn Samalin at 845-354-2121.
     

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, exercise, and make new friends. Most charity walks in 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, Kids Walk for Kids With Cancer in May, March for Babies in May, Great Strides: Taking Steps to Cure Cystic Fibrosis in May.
     

Do Something Great

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 at dosomething.org/campaigns). For more information, call 212-254-2390.

 

Do Your Kids Volunteer?

See the Rockland County recipients of the 2016 NYMetroParents Caring Kids Awards and read their inspiring stories of community service and volunteer work.