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Where to Volunteer in NYC This Summer

By Nicole Levy | June 16, 2016 4:11pm
 Looking to volunteer this summer? Your options include mentoring, park clean-up and fresh produce distribution.
Looking to volunteer this summer? Your options include mentoring, park clean-up and fresh produce distribution.
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Thinkstock; Flickr/Barry Solow; Thinkstock/lola1960

In the wake of tragedies as tremendous in scope as the Orlando massacre, many Americans react by looking for ways to contribute to their local communities as a way of bringing more positivity into the world.

The morning after the most significant terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11, hundreds of Central Floridians lined up outside the blood center nearest the hospital where the victims were taken, waiting hours for their turn to donate.

Beyond Orlando, civilians can contribute to relief funds and champion activist causes.

For New Yorkers who want to extend the spirit of giving forward into the next few months, among their own neighborhoods, we have some ideas: 

If you want to work with kids...

...in Manhattan, help young refugees strengthen their English language skills, community ties and confidence as part of a team of volunteer artists leading creative arts classes at the six-week Refugee Youth Summer Academy. Classes will be held at the Muray Bergtraum High School at 411 Pearl Street in Civic Center.

...in the Bronx, help kids design robots at the six-week summer STEM program at the Masa South Bronx Community Center in Mott Haven. The program begins July 11.

...in Brooklyn, lend the organizers of The Puppetry Arts Festival a hand by setting up and running craft tables and activities. The festival takes place June 25.

...in Staten Island, mentor a child with a parent in prison through the program at Hour Children. Mentors are asked to commit for least a year. 

If you want to work the earth...

...in Manhattan, help beautify Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights by weeding invasive species and planting native ones. Wear close-toed shoes and long pants. 

...in the Bronx, take on such tasks as weeding and spreading wood chips at the New Roots Community Farm in Mount Hope on July 8. 

...in Brooklyn, pitch in at the community-run Marcus Garvey Farm in Brownsville. You can do everything from weeding to building raised beds.

...in Queens, spruce up the McIntosh Garden in East Elmhurst, a community garden in need of weeding, composting and planting. Volunteers will meet for the first time this Saturday.

If you want to help New Yorkers eat healthy...

...in Manhattan, lend a hand to Two Bridges' seasonal Fresh Food Box Program, which makes fresh local food accessible to underserved communities. You'll help distribute affordable boxes of seasonal produce to families living on the Lower East Side.

...in Staten Island, work with the City Harvest Mobile Market program to bring free fresh produce to NYCHA residents at a greenmarket in Stapleton this Saturday. The program also has volunteer opportunities in Queens and the Bronx.

If you want to promote an active lifestyle...

...in Manhattan, register kids to play basketball in tournaments at Gladiator Sports in Harlem — and help keep score. Tournaments are every Saturday through the end of July.

...in the Bronx, assist a personal trainer working with adults with mental illness at the Jewish Board's Bronx R.E.A.L. Center in Westchester Square. You'll need to commit to several hours once or twice a month for a period of at least six months.

If you want to get some beach time in...

...in Brooklyn, join the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty this Sunday in a bicycle ride to Coney Island, where you'll enjoy lunch and pack fresh fruits and vegetables at the ShoreFront YM-YWHA for New Yorkers in need. The bike ride is free, but a $15 donation is requested for lunch and a t-shirt. 

...in Queens, help out with the nonprofit Wheeling Forward's adaptive surfing clinic at Rockaway Beach for people with disabilities. The clinic is scheduled for July 23rd.

If you want to contribute remotely...

...to the Bronx, help the BronxNet get the word out about the production training, internships, locally-focused broadcast channels and access to studios and production equipment it offers the community. The nonprofit is looking for a marketing expert.

...to all five boroughs, spruce up the web presence of Friends of New York City Nurse-Family Partnerships, which is fundraising for a program that matches nurses with first-time, low-income mothers from pregnancy until the child's second birthday. The nurse-family parntership model provides education and support to reduce child abuse, injury, and behavioral and intellectual problems.

Consider the listings above our suggestions to spark your imagination. Find a volunteer opportunity that fits you perfectly at Idealist.org, NewYorkCares.org, VolunteerMatch.org, or Taprootplus.org.