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MAP: Your Volunteering Guide for the Crown Heights Area

 Elementary school kids attend the reopening of the Eastern Parkway branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in April. The BPL has dozens of volunteer opportunities, including being an adult literacy tutor, helping kids with homework after school, working as a computer coach or doing shelf organizing
Elementary school kids attend the reopening of the Eastern Parkway branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in April. The BPL has dozens of volunteer opportunities, including being an adult literacy tutor, helping kids with homework after school, working as a computer coach or doing shelf organizing
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

CROWN HEIGHTS — Are you feeling a call to action, but don’t know where to start? How about in your neighborhood?

You can start this weekend with a volunteer information session at S.O.S. Brooklyn and the Crown Heights Mediation Center, an anti-violence group that has been working for years to reduce shootings in the area.

The organization sent out a call for volunteers for the Nov. 19 session through the local community board this week, asking for interested residents of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant to show up and find out what they can do to help.

“Now more than ever it is important to join together as a community and work to strengthen our neighborhood,” the group said in the email alert.

S.O.S. is one of more than a dozen local volunteer groups, nonprofits and social services organizations in the Crown Heights area in this guide.

Check out the map and list below to find a volunteer opportunity near you:

Brooklyn Public Library, Central Branch

There are many ways to volunteer your time at the library: be an adult literacy tutor, help kids with homework after school, work as a computer coach or do shelf organizing. Start on the library’s volunteer page to find the right fit; opportunities are also available at the three Crown Heights branches on Eastern Parkway and St. Marks and New York avenues.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

The famous Crown Heights museum for kids has about a dozen volunteer or internship options at the Brooklyn Avenue institution, including opportunities for teens looking to help in their neighborhood. All volunteers are required to have a background check as part of their application. For more information visit the museum’s volunteer page or call (718) 735-4400 Ext. 151.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Be a garden guide, help weed and water the Education Greenhouse or lend your gardening expertise at the Garden Resource Center at the BBG. Bonus: Being around all those plants is a great way to get some self-care. Visit the garden’s volunteer page for more information.


This long-running Flatbush-based service organization provides all kinds of help to Brooklyn residents: legal support, housing, education classes, counseling and so much more. One of their most vital volunteer programs, The Respite Bed Program, provides temporary overnight beds and home cooked meals to homeless individuals at 17 volunteer-run sites across the borough. The group is consistently looking for volunteers to staff the program; for more information, visit CAMBA’s website or email volunteers@CAMBA.org.

Crown Heights Mediation Center

This youth development and anti-violence group works to make the communities of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant safer and healthier with direct intervention on gun violence. Through its violence interrupters at Save Our Street Brooklyn, its anti-violence arm, the group aims to stop shootings before they happen. The group needs donations and volunteers to continue its work; for more information, visit the S.O.S. Brooklyn “How You Can Help” page, contact the group’s volunteer coordinator, Ariella Kupetz, at 718-773-6886 or email  info@crownheights.org.

Crown Heights Youth Collective

This youth services organization has been operating in the neighborhood since the 1970s, providing arts and education programs for Crown Heights’ young people. In its history, the group and its founder Richard Green have become fixtures of the area, organizing food pantries, community gardening and mural painting throughout Crown Heights.

Friendship Circle of Brooklyn

This Crown Heights-based group run in partnership with the Jewish Children’s Museum has been helping kids with special needs for years with programs and events for children and their families. The organization is always looking for teen and adult volunteers to spend time with members and run weekly recreational programs.

GrowNYC at Grand Army Plaza

Help load extra food from the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket into trucks to be delivered to the Food Bank and distributed throughout the city. Volunteers are needed for one-and-a-half hour shifts every Saturday and must be 18 years or older to help. Sign-ups can be found here.

Kings County Hospital

NYC Health and Hospitals Corp. runs volunteering programs at all city hospitals. Volunteers read to patients, assist with art therapy, help chaplains, provide entertainment, tutor pediatric patients and do clerical work as needed. Visit the HHC volunteer page to apply or call Kings County Hospital’s volunteer coordinator Corinna C. Grant at 718-245-3121.

New York Cares: Central Brooklyn

As one of the largest volunteer groups in the city, New York Cares keeps a detailed database of ways to give back in all five boroughs. Check out their extensive list of upcoming volunteer opportunities in central Brooklyn, which includes helping with children’s art classes at P.S. 770, prepping meals at local food pantries and lending a hand at a dance class for kids at domestic violence shelter. New York Cares also connects organizations in need of volunteers to resources to get programs started.

NYC Service

This city-run volunteer portal is chock-full of opportunities for those looking to give back of any age or skill level. Search for an opportunity by interest, zip code, date or keyword to connect with organization that need you. Some upcoming volunteering events in the Crown Heights area include reading to students at P.S. 3, helping with after-school programs through Children of Promise and working in the office of Friends of Wingate Park.

Prospect Park

Volunteers in Brooklyn’s largest park do a lot: mulching, litter clean-up, education events and general landscaping. The park has opportunities for everyone, from individuals to corporate groups to younger Brooklynites looking to help out in the park’s “Junior Volunteer Corps.” For more information call (718) 287-3400 or email volunteers@prospectpark.org.

Repair the World

This worldwide nonprofit set up an office in Crown Heights in 2015, hosting events, organizing volunteer trips and coordinating good works for young people in the area and in the larger central Brooklyn community. The group has Jewish roots — the name comes from a Hebrew phrase meaning transform or repair the world around you — but is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Visit their site at 808 Nostrand Ave. or werepair.org for upcoming volunteer opportunities.