A Guide to New York City Volunteering

A Guide to New York City Volunteering
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A Guide to New York City Volunteering

Volunteering in NYC helps teach kids the value of what they have and why it’s important to help those who may not have as much. It also helps build strong family bonds as you work together as a family to do good. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, giving back spreads goodwill and joy to the community. 

In a city as large as New York, finding ways to volunteer as a family can be a little difficult. It’s the double-edged sword of New York City living. Everything is here, but that means EVERYTHING is here.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best places for New York City volunteering as a family. This borough by borough list will help you find the perfect way to give back. 

Psst… Here’s how parents can differentiate from flu, COVID and cold symptoms!

Manhattan

New York Cares – Financial District

65 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10006
212-228-5000

New York Cares is an excellent vehicle for giving back with your family. Children ages 14 and up can join up with an adult group leader for a variety of activities, while family-friendly projects are available for everyone to take part in, even the younger kids. 

Plus, they have plenty of opportunities that are new volunteer friendly, meaning even people who have never volunteered before have a place to jump in.

Food Bank for New York City – Financial District

39 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10006
212-566-7855 ext. 5

This organization provides support to the underserved across New York.

To help them with their many charitable endeavors, they accept volunteers of all ages. Volunteers can help with various projects, like the Farm 2 Food Bank, Community Kitchen, Food Pantry and more. 

Toys for Tots – Across Manhattan

888-848-2596

One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own.

Parents and their children can give back together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. 

God’s Love We Deliver – SoHo

166 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013
212-294-8100

Offering a variety of ways for families to do good as a family, God’s Love We Deliver offers all manner of charitable opportunities from seasonal to year-round. 

Children 16 and over can help with activities like packing and serving. Those 18 and older can make meal deliveries. Meanwhile, children younger than 16 can participate in Crafting Love projects like making beaded bracelets and birthday and holiday cards. 

New York Common Pantry – East Harlem

8 East 109th Street, NY, NY 10029
917-720-9700

Giving back as a family by volunteering at New York Common Pantry is a great way to do good.

This pantry depends on volunteer help to allow its continued distribution of thousands of meals yearly. Children ages 16 and up are welcome and can help with the distribution of pantry items, meal service, or pantry item packing. 

Friends of Governors Island – Financial District

10 South Street, Slip 7, New York, NY 10007

Friends of Governors Island only accepts volunteers who are 16 or over, so this New York City volunteering opportunity is limited to those with older children.

It’s a wonderful way to enjoy time outdoors, stay active, and help one of the most beautiful spots in NYC stay beautiful. 

Partnerships for Parks – Across Manhattan

212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is devoted to helping neighborhood parks thrive. A diverse network of dedicated park volunteers continues to expand, making it possible to do more to restore and revive parks across the city.

This joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is always looking for more volunteers. 

Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) – Garment District

247 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018
212-273-5200

Accepting volunteers of all ages, the JASA offers a variety of services that help improve the lives of seniors across the city.

Offering everything from meals to legal services, the JASA is committed to empowering and embracing the elderly community of New York. 

Carter Burden Network – Lenox Hill

415 E. 73rd St., New York, NY 10021
212-879-7400

Another excellent resource for New York City volunteering as a family, the Carter Burden Network offers a variety of services to seniors and their families, including grocery shopping, computer training, and more. The organization accepts both adult and youth volunteers. 

Brooklyn

Toys for Tots – Across Brooklyn

888-848-2596

One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own.

Parents and their children can give back together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. 

Partnerships for Parks – Across Brooklyn

212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is devoted to helping neighborhood parks thrive. A diverse network of dedicated park volunteers continues to expand, making it possible to do more to restore and revive parks across the city.

This joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is always looking for more volunteers. 

City Harvest – Borough Park

150 52nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232
 646-412-0600

City Harvest’s farmers market-style distribution centers provide fresh produce to those in need across all five boroughs of the city.

Along with other activities, they promote more food being used and less wasted. City Harvest offers volunteer opportunities for both adults and youth.

Gallop NYC – Prospect Park

Prospect Park, corner of Canton Ave. & Coney Island Ave
855-925-5661

If your children are 16 and over, and you love horses, Gallop NYC is an excellent opportunity for Volunteering in New York City as a family.

This group offers therapeutic horseback riding to children and adults with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. Volunteers can help in a variety of ways, and training is provided. 

Queens

Toys for Tots – Across Queens

888-848-2596

One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own.

Parents and their children can give back together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. 

Citymeals On Wheels – Across Queens

212-687-1234

Citymeals On-Wheels provides food and companionship to New York City’s elderly. The organization is a great one for giving back because they accept volunteers of all ages.

Grow NYC Greenmarkets – Wallabout

Washington Park & Dekalb Ave
212-788-7900

Grow NYC Greenmarkets are throughout New York City where families can donate their gently used clothing, shoes, and textiles. Practice giving back as a family by going through closets and donating items that you and your kids never use. 

Partnerships for Parks – Across Queens

212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is a city-wide initiative aimed at restoring and maintaining neighborhood parks so everyone can have green spaces to enjoy. 

Queens Botanical Garden – Flushing

43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355
718-886-3800

Queens Botanical Garden makes giving back as a family easy.

Their routine volunteer opportunities are made to accommodate ages ranging from 14 to adults, while younger children can help out at seasonal community days if they’re accompanied by an adult. Opportunities range from planting to office work. 

Gallop NYC – Forest Hills

88-03 70th Road, Forest Hills, NY 11375
855-925-5661

As previously mentioned, Gallop NYC offers a variety of opportunities for New York City volunteering for people 16 and up. That service is focused on helping people with physical, mental, and emotional developmental roadblocks. 

Bronx

While the majority of family-based opportunities for New York City volunteering are in the other boroughs, the Bronx does have a variety of volunteer opportunities for adults. Check any of the cross-Borough programs above to find out about their opportunities in the Bronx.

City-Wide

Citymeals On Wheels

212-687-1234

Providing food and company to housebound elderly across New York City, Citymeal On Wheels is a volunteer group accepting volunteers of all ages to help hand-deliver meals.

Kids can get involved by writing cards and letters, helping to prepare meals, and more. The organization is a great one for giving back because they accept volunteers of all ages and from all across New York City. 

Partnerships for Parks

212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is devoted to helping neighborhood parks thrive. A diverse network of dedicated park volunteers continues to expand, making it possible to do more to restore and revive parks across the city.

This joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is always looking for more volunteers. 

So Many Opportunities for New York City Volunteering As a Family

All it takes is a click or a phone call to start teaching your kids the importance of giving back. Most of the organizations we just listed accept children of various ages, so it should be easy to find a way for New York City volunteering that fits your family.

It’s better to give than to receive so use this list to help you find the joy of giving back as a family! 

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CK Kids

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">CK Kids offers various classes and programs, including Afterschool Program, Lil Chefs, Boys Hip-Hop, Ninja Starz, Lil Artists, CK Kids Athletic Programs, Acrobatics, Dance and Drama, and Karate. </span></p>

Child's Play NY Virtual Classes

<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-f0d8558c-7fff-41d5-daea-321d9ce61efc" style="white-space: normal; font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Child's Play NY is a Brooklyn-based company founded in 2009, committed to offering a diverse array of theater arts classes for children. They believe studying the art of acting encourages kids to be even more creative, collaborative and compassionate human beings. Since its inception, Child's Play NY has touched the lives of hundreds of students, worked inside dozens of schools and is consistently ranked as among the top theater arts programs. </span></span></span><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; white-space: pre-wrap;">It is the 2019 winner of Brooklyn Family's Choice award for Best Performing Arts Class.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fall/Winter 2020-21 Virtual Class Guide</span><span style="color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">:</span></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration-skip: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Make a Movie Class</span></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Experience creative fulfillment and movie magic with Child’s Play NY! Kids get to make and star in their own film, with professional actors, directors and designers. From development to design to editing choices too, kids can take ownership over the creative process. Their friends and family get to celebrate their accomplishments at a final watch party premiere! Deep project-based learning and peer-connection is at the heart of this 9-week experience which can be done remotely or in-person.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong><span style="color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration-skip: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fall and Winter Virtual Classes</span></strong></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-left: 36pt; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><strong>Hogwarts School (grades 1-3)</strong>: Come get sorted into your favorite house, jump on your Firebolt and let’s make some magic! Class culminates in a movie montage featuring our original scripted work from the session.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration-skip: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Create Your Own Class</span></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Make your own custom group to support social-emotional growth and play. Child’s Play NY provides a dynamic teacher and their lauded curriculum that puts peer-interaction at the front and center. Custom classes are a special way to nurture what your child loves most and share that excitement with their friends, in-person or online.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>Playwriting (Grades 4-6)</strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Students will use their creativity, compassion and confidence to build a story they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Individually, each student will craft a play, and together they will workshop their scenes, exercising their acting, directing, and most importantly, imagination skills. Over the course of the sessions, students will learn the basics of playwriting and be able to present any and all parts of their theatrical story. All classes will include individual assignments and collaborative opportunities. Each day will be structured so that all participants have the chance to learn and study other writers’ work, write for 10-15 minutes and share their words with each other. By the end of the semester they will have used their bodies, intellect and imagination to come up with an original play. By being confident, vulnerable and creative with each other and actively supporting and encouraging each other’s work, students will emerge with meaningful connections to each other and a strong sense of their writing and collaborative abilities.<br />Class culminates in a montage and packet of students’ original work.<strong><br /></strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> </div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>Musical Theater Lab (Grades 4-6)</strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Learn how to be a triple threat in this dynamic class for budding performers with Child’s Play NY. Students focus on songs, dances and characters from Broadway’s most celebrated and kid-friendly shows. They work alongside professional performers with years of experience bringing their passion to children. Class culminates in a movie showcase of scenes and songs.<br />Join for the full session, or enroll as a drop-in!<strong><br /></strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> </div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>Shakespeare Scene Study (Grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12)</strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Young people become confident with Shakespeare’s world, language and characters as they learn how to interpret a role with technique and courage. Classically trained professional actors assist the players in their physical, vocal and emotional transformations. All Shakespeare teaching artists are classically trained professional actors and have performed Shakespeare both on and off Broadway and in regional theaters across the country.</div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Students jump into the worlds of Shakespeare in this robust mash-up of improvisation and classic text scene study class. After learning the plot and characters from several plays, they rehearse and memorize scenes from the original text. New material, devised by the cast, adds a contemporary through-line to their show and highlights the universality of Shakespeare’s themes.<br />Class culminates in a movie showcasing their work.</div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> </div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>The Big Twist: A New Musical (Grade 1-4)</strong></div> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">In this acting class, students get to perform a brand new musical based on The Wizard of Oz.<br />The Wicked Witch of the South wants to return Oz to a time when WITCHES reigned supreme, and all was evil. Summoning a dark magic Tornado, the Wicked Witch of the South sends Oz hurtling into an alternate Oz. With the Yellow Brick road destroyed, the Wizard left powerless, and the citizens of Oz scattered to the Wind, our heroes are forced into unlikely partnerships to stop the Witch and restore the world to order. The Wizard of Oz meets The Tempest.  Class culminates in a premiere of a movie starring the students, filmed over the last few days of the session.</div> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-57c50323-7fff-79ce-175a-5e25408c0e29"></span></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-84ebe141-7fff-03c2-24cf-fead86e88df2"></span></p>

Super Soccer Stars

<p>Soccer Stars is New York’s most popular youth educational soccer program! With 24 years of experience under our cleats, we have positively impacted over one million kids in our local community by putting the FUN in FUNdamentals in our weekly classes and camps.</p> <p>At Soccer Stars, we use the soccer ball as a vehicle to help children not only improve their soccer skills, but develop self-confidence and physical literacy, improve gross motor skills, build teamwork, and hone socialization skills. Our highly trained coaches and early childhood experts lead an age-specific curriculum with a low kid-to-coach ratio so every child gets individual attention and can grow at their own pace.</p> <p>Kids ages 1-12+ can join our seasonal programs, including Parent & Me, FUNdamentals, Development Training, and Travel Soccer. Join us at one of over 80 locations in neighborhoods across across Westchester County, Connecticut and New York, available 7 days-a-week:</p> <p><strong>Connecticut:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Cos Cob</li> <li>Greenwich</li> <li>Port Chester</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><strong>Westchester:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Briarcliff</li> <li>Eastchester</li> <li>Mt. Kisco</li> <li>New Rochelle</li> <li>Ridgefield</li> <li>Scarsdale</li> <li>White Plains</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><strong>New York City:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bronx</li> <li>Inwood</li> <li>Upper West Side</li> <li>Upper East Side</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p>Can’t find a class or location that fits your schedule? Soccer Stars also offers private classes for small groups or individual training. Let our coaches come to you with a completely customizable program, anytime, anywhere. Birthday parties are also available! </p>