Make a Wish Come True
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Kids For Wish Kids is a program that enables kids between the kindergarten and college level to devise fundraising projects such as bake sales, dance parties, and talent shows to help make local kids wishes come true. For more information on Kids For Wish Kids, or to become a registered volunteer (must be 18 years old), call 631-585-WISH (9474) or visit online. Mail inquiries to 1 Comac Loop, Suite 1A1, Ronkonkoma. For more information, contact community relations coordinator Alexis Alpert at [email protected].
Miracles on the Field
The League of YES, formally known as the Miracle League of Long Island, believes everyone deserves the chance to play baseball. The grassroots organization will open its fourth season in May to provide people of all ages with disabilities the joy and benefits of playing America’s national pastime. The league’s mission is to develop social skills and boost self-esteem for the players while fostering community support. Through the BUDDY program, volunteers are assigned to a Miracle League player and help him or her in every aspect of the game. No matter the age of the player, volunteers, preferably ages 12 and older, help the player in batting, running bases, protecting him/her from balls, and most importantly be a friend on the field and off. The program breaks barriers for a child with disabilities when he or she becomes friends with a volunteer and this community aspect of the Miracle League is the most important statistic on the scorecard. To find out more about how to become a buddy contact Kristine Fitzpatrick at 631-278-6385 or [email protected]. The field is located at the Brookhaven Amphitheater at 55 S. Bicycle Path in Seldon. Visit online for a volunteer form.
Show Some Love
Have a Heart Children’s Cancer Society is dedicated to alleviating some of the financial burdens of families with children diagnosed with cancer. Individuals of all ages can help out by volunteering their time at events or organizing their own fundraiser for the cause. Fundraising ideas include a bowling night, neighborhood garage sale, block party benefit, car wash, bake sale, or school dance. Volunteers can also donate used cars and boats. To fill out the volunteer application form, visit haveaheartcharity.org. For more information, call 631-470-1198 or visit online.
Spring Clean Your Closet
The Salvation Army has locations throughout Suffolk County and offers many opportunities for families to lend a helping hand to others in need. The Salvation Army accepts volunteers of all ages—as long as an adult is along to supervise—to work in a wide variety of programs, from soup kitchens to after-school programs. Jobs could include cooking, cleaning up, serving meals, or playing soccer with other children, but programs vary by location. For more information, call 631-363-6100 or click here.
You can also donate your old clothes to the organization’s thrift stores. 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 that they can see the good their efforts are doing. Check with your local Salvation Army Family Store for instructions on donating clothes:
• 227 Little East Neck Road, West Babylon; 631-669-1354
• 110 Bellerose Ave., East Northport; 631-754-4449
• 414 E. Main St., Patchogue; 631-654-9380
• 319 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-727-1571
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
Broadlawn Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center offers volunteers as young as 14 (with adult supervision) the opportunity to serve senior citizens. Whether playing Bingo, attending a cooking class, transporting a resident from one program to another, or simply helping a resident write a letter, volunteers fill an irreplaceable role in the care of Broadlawn’s residents. Volunteers age 15 and older require working papers. For more information, contact Lisa Rubino at 631-264-4000 x4121 or click here. The center is located at 399 County Line Road, Amityville.
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 and 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 online to sign up and find a list of ways to get involved.
Do Your Kids Volunteer?
See the Long Island recipients of the 2016 NYMetroParents Caring Kids Awards and read their inspiring stories of community service and volunteer work.