For the NYMetroParents Caring Kids Awards, we invited you to submit stories and photos of families and kids who do volunteer work to help others. We hope you will be as inspired as we were by these stories of young Manhattan residents committed to making the world a better place and helping those in need. These local kids are making a difference in the community every day, and we salute all of them!
Amanda and Ryan, 14, Raise Money for Debbie’s Dream Foundation
Twins Amanda and Ryan raised money for Debbie’s Dream Foundation for their mitzvah project. They focused on two fundraisers: The first was an all-day lemonade stand, and for the second one they were involved in the planning of the NYC event Night of Laughter at the Gotham Comedy Club. They have run many successful events for years for Debbie’s Dream Foundation. This charity is near and dear to their hearts because their Aunt Debbie started the charity as she has stomach cancer.
As Caring Kids Award Recipients, Amanda and Ryan will receive a $500 gift card and certificates of recognition for their community service.
A Family Helps Maintain Green Spaces
Our family of four believes that NYC’s parks and green spaces make the city a better place for everyone, so whenever we can, our family helps out. Ever since our children were tiny tots, my husband and I have brought them to It’s My Park Day across all of Lower Manhattan (all the parks are our parks!) to connect them to how much effort goes into keeping our gardens green. Now that they are a bit older, we also participate in Riverkeeper activities, Urban Farm, New York Cares Day, and with Open Space Greening, among others. We also help clear trails upstate. Caring for our green spaces is caring for the right to breathe easy; in a concrete world, digging our fingers into the soil connects us to our own roots. Our kids have grown up feeling like stewards of the parks, and we encourage this—helping maintain the lovely green spaces in our city makes all of New York more enjoyable for everyone!
Sisters Throw Christmas Party for Homeless Families
I have been volunteering myself for the past 15 years in various ways in and for my community and hoping my girls, now 9 and 11, would follow in my footsteps. My daughter Megan and I have been hosting a homeless children’s family holiday party for the past 15 years through HAI. It is a wonderful way to start off the holiday season—these shelter families have nothing and have no Christmas. Four years ago my “mini me” asked if she could come and help wrap, label, and organize the toys and gifts for the children and teens. She got to see the joy on their faces when they came into the venue and also when they got to see Santa Claus. We also give money and food to the homeless on our city streets. My girls will even give their own $1 to anyone they feel needs it.
RELATED: Get Family Activities in Manhattan Sent to You
A Family Fosters Animals & Supports Disabled Marathoners
My family has always been involved in helping out others, and my son Nicholas, who is 12 years old now, has been doing it since he was 5. Our family fosters animals from shelters and helps find them homes. We especially love the senior dogs that are hard to find families for. We have fostered more than 32 dogs and cats over the last seven years. Nicholas has always been very involved in taking care of the animals. We work with Best Friends Organization. Nicholas also loves to volunteer at the New York City Marathon; we help Achilles International, which works with runners with disabilities. It is always exciting to be involved with Achilles on marathon day, helping the runners get water, blankets, food, or just congratulating them on their success!
A Family Hosts a Community Block Party
My entire family, including my husband, Carlos, and two daughters, Roxanne and Leila, host a community block party every summer. We both fundraise and self-fund to have amazing events for families and children in the inner city. It is a lot of work, but we do it because some families don’t have money to do fun summertime activities with their children. We have partnered with our local precinct to build bridges between the community and police officers, as well as had Community Based Organizations provide internships and jobs for teens and honor older residents.
Cameron, 5, Participates in Keeping It Green
My son Cameron and I participated in the Keeping It Green initiative for the Central Park Conservancy. He, along with a few of his classmates (along with us parents), raked up a bunch of leaves. I believe we bagged more than 30 bags of leaves. During our community service, people were walking by and thanking us for keeping our park clean.
Felicity Feeds Hungry New Yorkers
My 6-year-old daughter, Felicity, cares deeply about hunger. She brings extra snacks wherever we go so she can give them to anyone she sees who needs food. We also serve at our church’s soup kitchen and she loves to hand out food and toiletries to the guests. She wants to plant fruit trees and vegetable gardens around the city so that hungry people can have fresh, free food all the time.
A Family Teaches Compassion and Kindness
Our family does a lot for our community. First of all, we are vegan because animals are friends, not food. Last fall, we planted tulip bulbs in our local park. This fall we went to a rally to protest oppression and to try to make a better future. Teaching compassion and kindness are our top priorities in parenting.
Salima, 6, Helps Families in Cote d’Ivoire
Salima and I went to two villages in Cote d’Ivoire this year and donated school and medical supplies to the women and children of these villages. These donations were made by our family and friends. Salima also donated some of her toys to the children. Salima, her 15-year-old cousin, and I are preparing a fashion show in January to raise funds to buy more school and medical supplies to return next year.
A Preschool Bake Sale for the Homeless
Our preschool friends decided to host a bake sale as their service project to help homeless children in the community. They truly enjoyed baking all the goodies and creating invitations, which they handed out to the community. They raised more than $250 and felt a sense of pride as a result of their hard work! Good job, preschoolers!
Aden, 7, Brings Joy to Seniors
Aden loves volunteering at our local senior center on the second Saturday of every month. During the 2½-hour sessions, Aden brings smiles, hugs, sugar-free juice and cookies, and bingo winnings (he calls out the winning numbers and hands out quarters) to our extended “family.” This experience has taught him that everyone deserves to have fun and smile and that anyone can be the source of someone else’s joy.
Find Places to Volunteer with Kids in Manhattan