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Where to Volunteer with Your Kids in Westchester County, NY

Where to Volunteer with Your Kids in Westchester County, NY

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 Westchester 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!

Go Green

Greenburgh Nature Center is a 33-acre nature preserve with trails, a pond, gardens, indoor exhibits, and an animal museum. The center offers volunteer opportunities for adults, high school and college students, school and outside clubs, and community groups to assist with a wide range of activities throughout the year. These include: animal husbandry; trail tours and maintenance; gardening and greenhouse care; recycling and composting; assistance at weekend and community events; administrative support; special projects; and more. Contact volunteer@greenburghnaturecenter.org to register and for more information. 99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale.

The Weinberg Nature Center is a wildlife sanctuary consisting of a meadow, garden, fruit orchard, woodlots, swamp, nature trails, and a greenhouse forthcoming in the spring. Parents and kids ages 10 and older can volunteer to garden, plant wildflowers, or care for the center’s animals. Or, older teens and adults can help with summer camp, programming, marketing and social networking, landscaping, and trail maintenance. Open Mondays, 12am-5pm; Tuesdays, 10am-4pm; Wednesdays, 12am-5pm; Thursdays, 10am-4pm; and Fridays, 10am-5pm. Contact Sam at sweinstock@scarsdale.com, Cindy Polera at 914-722-1289, or email volunteer@weinbergnaturecenter.org. 455 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale.

Kids Helping Kids

Blythedale Children’s Hospital is dedicated to the diagnosis, care, and treatment of children with complex medical and rehabilitative needs. There are many volunteer opportunities for teenagers, families, and parent/child teams. Volunteers must be 16 or older. Children ages 14 and older can do clerical work but children must be 16 in order to work directly with patients. Do a one-time craft activity with the children, help with events, or create your own project to share with the children. Some project ideas include: putting together activity or busy boxes for the children; preparing welcome baskets for new patients; gathering new children’s clothing; gathering books, DVDs, video games, or new toys (no stuffed toys); preparing an entertainment, game, or activity to share with the children. New or gently used books can also be donated. Download an application from the website and send to Jabeen Dinzey, director of volunteer services, at jdinzey@blythedale.org. 95 Bradhurst Ave., Valhalla. 914-831-2428

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. Kids For Wish Kids® is a Make-A-Wish® program that enables students to discover philanthropy by selecting their own fundraising project and managing it from start to finish, with little or no help from their teachers. Students develop leadership skills, build self-esteem and learn about teamwork while working towards a final goal, making a difference in the life of a child who is fighting overwhelming odds. For more information and to get involved, visit www.hudson.wish.org/kids, or contact community outreach coordinator Clare Sharrock at 914-478-0327. For other volunteer opportunities, contact volunteer coordinator Jillian Hruscik at 914-246-8689. 832 S. Broadway, Tarrytown.

The Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is an advanced care pediatric hospital at Westchester Medical Center. Parents and teens ages 16 and older can volunteer to read to the young patients and help parents staying with their children with their laundry. In the main hospital, volunteers can do clerical work, meet and greet in the waiting rooms, help with the magazine cart, or work at the front desk. Note: It takes two to three weeks to process volunteer paperwork and teenagers must participate in the summer volunteer program before participating throughout the school year. Contact volunteer coordinator Tara Marquis at 914-493-7850. 100 Woods Road, Valhalla.

Support a Senior

The Grove at Valhalla provides long term care and short term rehab for seniors. Parents and kids ages 14 or older can volunteer to help with board games, computers, painting and crafts, sharing stories, performing music, and visiting one-on-one. Parents must accompany children younger than 16. Hebrew Hospital’s volunteer team has a comprehensive base of therapeutic recreation activities and an active group of residents who participate daily, and your help is needed to keep activities helpful, engaging, and fun. Contact Laura Meza, director of therapeutic recreation and volunteer services, at lmeza@thegroverehab.com, or call 914-681-8437. 61 Grasslands Road, Valhalla.

Meals-on-Wheels of White Plains provides “more than a meal” to the housebound, seniors, and others in need by delivering food, providing a bit of warmth and compassion, and serving as a daily check on our elderly neighbors. Parents and children can assist by delivering meals. Deliveries are made Monday-Saturday 11:15am-12:45pm. To volunteer, call 914-946-6878. For more information, go online. 311 North St., Suite G5, White Plains.

Advocate for Animals

Humane Society of Westchester, open 10am-4pm daily (except Thursday: 2-8pm), offers several ways to make a difference in the lives of homeless pets by volunteering. Adult volunteers (ages 18 and older), junior volunteers (ages 14-17), and family volunteers (parents/legal guardians with children ages 10-13 who work as a team) are welcomed and appreciated. Each group has a program designed for them with different orientations and guidelines, as various tasks around the shelter and in the community require your help. Orientations now have a maximum so spots must be reserved in advance. For more information on volunteering or fostering a pet, visit the website or call 914-632-2925. 70 Portman Road, New Rochelle.

Pet Rescue’s mission is to aid homeless, abandoned, and neglected cats and dogs, to nurture them in the foster care of volunteers, to provide veterinary care and socialization, and to place them in permanent loving and responsible homes. Pet Rescue also works to decrease the population of homeless dogs and cats through its spay/neuter programs. Families may help out around the shelter or they may foster dogs and cats to learn about them and help them to become more adoptable. For more information or to adopt a pet, email nypetrescue@gmail.com or visit the website.

The SPCA of Westchester is a no-kill shelter that provides shelter and rehabilitation for abused, abandoned, and lost pets, adoption services, low-cost spaying and neutering, and help with locating lost pets. Parents and kids ages 10 and older can volunteer– junior volunteers ages 10-17 can read to dogs and journal with, do homework with dogs and cats, and take part in the new imaginative storytelling program. Any direct interaction, such as dog walking and cat socializing, is for kids 18 and older.  They can do pet therapy and take their own dog or a shelter dog to visit nursing homes, and assist with fundraising events and shelter beautification, including gardening, cleanup, painting, and trail maintenance. If you have a love for animals, there is a volunteer opportunity for you. Whether you are interested in dog walking, cat care, dog bathing and grooming, event planning, humane education, administrative work, or opening your home to a foster animal, the shelter can always use your help. For more information, contact Joanne Witmyer at 914-941-2896 x28 or joanne@spca914.org. 590 N. State Road, Briarcliff Manor.

Thrifty Threadwork

Take the time to help others as you help yourself. Enlist your kids in the process of cleaning out their closets to donate old clothes. 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. Check with your local Salvation Army thrift store for instructions on donating clothes:

117 Nelson Ave., Peekskill; 914-737-0280

36 N. Main St., Port Chester; 914-939-1620

22 Church St., New Rochelle; 914-636-5615

745 S. Third Ave., Mount Vernon; 914-664-0800

29 Palisade Ave., Yonkers; 914- 969-4571

16 Sterling Ave., White Plains; 914-949-2908

115 Wildey St., Tarrytown; 914-631-3871

The Sharing Shelf, a program of Family Services of Westchester, collects new and gently used clothing from infants, children, and teens, sorts that clothing by size, season, and gender, then distributes it to children in need at no cost to the children or their families. Each recipient receives a week’s worth of seasonally appropriate clothing packed into coordinating outfits according to their sizing needs. The Sharing Shelf welcomes volunteers in its warehouse in Port Chester and depends on volunteers to accomplish its work. It is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9:30am-2:30pm, and most Saturdays. It is also able to create special hours for groups, schools, and corporations. Contact Deborah Blatt, program director, at 914-305-5950 or thesharingshelf@fsw.org. Learn more online. 47 Purdy Ave., Port Chester.

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 can 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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