April 2nd, 2013
Our staff puts their monthly Metrocards to good use, but our Youth Service department gives even the busiest Program Managers a run for their money. Organizing projects with youth volunteers in different boroughs leads to a lot of swipes and transfers. See how many times Allison Sterrett can ride the subway on a typical day in Youth Service:
It’s a good thing I love to travel! As a Youth Service Program Manager, I work with 8 public high schools in 3 different boroughs, and I trek all over the city connecting students with ways to help their communities. Passing by our department, you’re likely to hear: how many boroughs did you visit today? How many trains did you ride? I’ve done the 4 borough day quite a few times (never all 5, but I’m hopeful!) and I think my daily train record is 12 – counting transfers – but it’s hard to keep track. With all that time spent underground, a day in the life of a Youth Service Program Manager may not be glamorous, but it is pretty glorious. Here’s what it might look like:
Trains 1 & 2, Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan:
I start the day in the New York Cares office, meeting with colleagues and confirming plans with schools and community agencies.
Train 3, Lower Manhattan to the South Bronx:
I head up to one of my schools for an Issue Education meeting. We talk about the purpose of parks and gardens in an urban environment, and the students have some incredible ideas about the kind of parks they would design for their neighborhoods! Apparently, this city could use more sports fields, more waterfalls, and more zoos. (Who can disagree with that?)
Trains 4 & 5, South Bronx to Harlem:
A group of 12 high schoolers, a teacher, and I journey down to Harlem to help out in an amazing community garden. The students learn how to trim back hedges, identify weeds from flowers, and build simple trellises. The kids can’t stop singing and telling jokes while they work, and the garden staff is cracking up.
Train 6, Harlem to Lower Manhattan:
After asking my volunteers where they want to help out next month, I walk them to the train and I head back to the office to make sure everything’s in order for tomorrow’s community service adventure.
Trains 7 & 8, Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn:
Home! And I’m looking forward to a new project in a new neighborhood tomorrow.
I may be biased, but I’m pretty sure I have the best job in the city. And if you have any recommendations for podcasts to listen to on the train, I could use them!
By Allison Sterrett
March 5th, 2013
As a child, I dreamed of becoming the first female baseball player to play in the MLB alongside the male athletes I admired. Maybe it was because of the popularity of the movie “A League of Their Own” coming out around the time that I started to really gain an appreciation for sports. It can also partly be attributed to my participation in tee ball and my dad’s willingness to go in our yard and have a catch. It was a dream that I knew even then was far-reaching, but it did not stop me from hoping.
Years later, I realized that my athletic ability was not nearly good enough to become that groundbreaking female in the majors. Instead of completely giving up, I turned to another dream: becoming a sports reporter. After all, what’s not to love about the job? You get to sit courtside at basketball games and in the press box at baseball and football games. You get behind-the-scenes access to athletes and coaches. You get to meet the players and have conversations with them.
With my love of sports and sports writing as inspiration, I began to realize that while a lot of our programs get kids moving on sports and fitness projects, not too many focus on writing about sports.
That’s why we started our Sports Blogging program. Our first project is this Saturday, when you can help New York Cares kick off the brand new sports blogging program with teens from HS 580 in Manhattan. Volunteers will work with students to develop a blog that will be circulated throughout their school community, as well as helping students hone their writing skills. It’s an opportunity for students to explore various writing styles and find one that best fits them, all while getting the chance to go to sporting events across the city at both the professional and amateur levels. For its first trip, the group will go to the McCarren Park Track Classic.
More volunteers are needed. If you have an interest in sports, writing, photography, web development, or mentoring a teen through a creative writing process, then this program is for you. Sign up today and show teens that you don’t have to be a superstar on the field to still do something you love.
By Brittany Perotti
February 11th, 2013
If you’ve been on a disaster recovery project, you’ve met Dakotah West, Seth Shapiro, and Carol Chang. Whether working at the Office of Emergency Management days after the storm hit, organizing buses of volunteers from City Hall, or running our muck out operation from various parking lots in the Rockaways, they’ve been working hard since November. Which is why sometimes they need to take a break and blow off some steam. Last week they had a photoshoot on our new base, recreating famous pictures using our disaster tools. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments:
Washington Crossing the Delaware:
The Birth of Venus
The Moon Landing:
The Creation of Adam:
Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima
Bonus image: Seth and Dakotah in gif form.
Want to help in the recovery? Sign up today, and say hi to Dakotah, Seth, and Carol for us!
By Susan Torres
September 17th, 2012
It’s hard to keep up with our Community Programs department this month. With back to school projects, exciting new programs for seniors, and new additions to the team, September is one of their busiest times. Check out what’s in store for them all month long, and don’t forget to check back and see how they’re doing.
For our Community Programs department, September marks the start of an exciting new school year, rich harvests, and lingering days spent putting final touches on gardens and parks before the impeding cold weather. It’s our time to buckle down and look forward to special projects as we head into our holiday season. This September we have a lot of new exciting things happening, including a new addition to our team, and a focus on new programs for seniors since Grandparents Day is the 9th.
The newest addition to our Children’s Recreation team is Lea Giddins. Lea manages our art, dance, theater, and music programs, in addition to some of our fabulous Urban Adventures programs. Some of you may work with her throughout the year to ensure that our arts programs keep going strong. You can be sure that there will be more to come regarding Lea’s role at New York Cares, so stay tuned.
One senior project that we’re very excited about is happening on September 28th at the Corsi Senior Center in East Harlem. They’re hosting a Hispanic Heritage Celebration, which is a great opportunity to decorate, dance, and socialize with the seniors. Find out some of their favorite things to do while showing off your skills on the dance floor. Of course, no celebration would be complete without the appropriate attire, so feel free to dress in clothing that celebrates Hispanic heritage. Volunteers are still needed, so come out to make this a day they’ll never forget.
We’re also looking to start a seniors Urban Adventure program. Modeled similarly to our monthly trips with children throughout the five boroughs, this program will be an opportunity to allow seniors in our communities to branch out and explore various parts of this fabulous city that we call home. Keep your eye on this special opportunity as we solidify more details.
But we’re not just focusing on seniors this month. No way, it’s back to school time, so there are ton of ways you can give back to the young members in your community. Now’s the perfect time to check out our site to see which of our school-year programs are back up and running, and what’s in store for the fall. Many are still in need of awesome volunteers like you, so check out our Hot Projects page to see what you can do with a couple of hours of free time.
We hope that everyone enjoyed their vacations and days of relaxation. Now that with the dog days of summer are closing, we hope to see you all out there giving back in full force. Sign up today and make your grandparents proud.
By Brittany Perotti
August 15th, 2012
Our receptionist, Sandra Velez, has been at New York Cares for about 17 years. She’s been in 3 offices, answered countless phone calls, fielded strange requests from the staff, and always lets us know when there’s food in the kitchen. So who better to help you understand our organization better? Learn about Sandy’s time here below:
I started at the old, old building on 16th Street & Union Square as a receptionist, as well as dabbling in other assignments. My it was such a tiny location, and since then, New York Cares has grown to be a fabulous place to work.
I started in 1994 or ’95, I can’t quite remember my start date. When I first started I was so nervous and shy, that I cried on my first day there. Just thinking about it now, it’s kind of funny. I think I got sent home to refresh for the next day.
Anyway, I quickly outgrew that, and started to come into my own being a receptionist at New York Cares. Then a couple years later came 29th Street, and I thought -wow. I said to myself, we are moving up! But that was before moving to 65 Broadway a couple months ago. Now we are bigger and better than ever, at the downtown location where all the big shots go to work. I felt even more important than ever! I love the area, the commute, and the staff that I am so pleased to work for. I’ll answer questions from volunteers, greet people when they come into our office, help new employees get used to the new place, and countless other tasks that come up throughout the day. I’ve loved the 17 years I’ve been here, I really do!
By Sandy Velez
July 11th, 2012
Every month, we follow a department of New York Cares so you can learn more about how we work. This month, we’re following our Communications Department. Ever gotten an email from us? That was us. Learn more about the department and our newest member below:
My name is Steve Streicher, the new Director of Marketing and Communications at New York Cares. I arrived here at the end of May by way of Princeton University where I worked for the Pace Center for Civic Engagement.
I am not from New York originally. I was born in Toledo, Ohio and have lived in such places as Columbus, Princeton, Ann Arbor, and even Ukraine. I remember the first time I visited New York as an 11-year-old, walking out the doors of Grand Central into a different world. I marveled at all the people, not just at the sheer quantity, but at all their activities. Some were speaking languages I didn’t recognize, some were weaving deftly through traffic on bicycles, others were walking rapidly and with purpose. Everyone just seemed more dynamic, energetic, and vibrant.
The people defined New York City for me on that first visit and still define it for me today. That is one of the reasons I wanted to work at New York Cares, an organization that provides opportunities for New Yorkers to improve their city and their communities. We live in an increasingly interconnected world that, at times, leaves the local susceptible to the ebbs and flows of the global. However, I believe nurturing and investing in local communities and cultures is essential in order to sustainably integrate and leverage future global changes. New York Cares gives New Yorkers the power to do just that.
As the Director of Marketing and Communications, I directly manage two people, our Digital Marketing Manager and our Production Manager. All of our posters, tshirts, emails, pamphlets, and marketing materials are created in our department. We strive to make sure all of our communications have the same voice, and highlight the amazing work our volunteers accomplish on the projects we manage. We work with every department to make sure they have all the materials they need for all the amazing events they organize.
Stay tuned all month long for more insight into our department, and make sure to follow along in the coming months for some new, exciting changes.
By Steve Streicher
June 21st, 2012
We’re still a little blown away that our organization has been around for 25 years. But then we heard that our friends at Citi are celebrating their 200th anniversary! Now that’s really impressive. Citi is a longstanding supporter of New York Cares and we’ve partnered together for many years to plan volunteer projects for their employees. Given their commitment to service, we were especially pleased when we heard that Citi wanted to commemorate their important milestone by giving back to the community.
Last Saturday, New York Cares engaged nearly 200 Citi employees, as well as their friends and family, in a beach revitalization at Rockaway Park in Queens, an area in the midst of exciting redevelopment. Volunteers focused on a stretch of littered shoreline that is short on staff and was in need of some cleanup. If you’re going to spend a beautiful morning at the beach, you might as well do some good while you’re at it!
A few neighborhoods over, in Sheepshead Bay, another crowd of Citi volunteers helped transform a plain wall into a beautiful underwater-themed mural at P.S. 52K. The new artwork is both colorful and educational, and makes the campus that much more inviting and conducive to learning.
In total, Citi engaged 100,000 employees from their offices around the world in 1,300 volunteer service projects. We’re proud to be a part of their efforts to strengthen and give back to the local community here in New York.
Does your company have a major milestone coming up? If you’d like to organize customized service projects for your colleagues or employees, learn more here, or contact us at 212.228.5000.
By Josh Winata
June 8th, 2012
June is a big month for our corporate partners. We have thousands of projects going on around the city all month, and we’ll be following our Corporate Relations team to see how they’re doing over the next few weeks. Today, our newest CR member, Kaitlin, gives you an overview of what her team does.
If you ever find yourself wondering how New York Cares can provide thousands of volunteer opportunities for more than 1,200 local nonprofits at no cost to the recipient agency, wonder no longer! The answer is multi-faceted, but a significant portion of New York Cares’ operating budget comes from the support of our generous corporate donors. The 120 plus corporate accounts are managed by three Corporate Relations Officers, who work in tandem with Corporate Service Managers to help plan customized corporate volunteer projects.
As a Corporate Relations Officer, I oversee a portfolio of more than 40 corporate sponsors who help sustain and grow our capacity to meet the expanding needs of New York City’s most underserved nonprofits. I also recruit and support prospective sponsors as they explore how our corporate volunteer program may fit the needs of their company and employees. Our goal is for all of our corporate partners to engage in customized, year-round volunteer initiatives that not only benefit the immediate community around them, but also bolster the morale and team-focused mentality of their own workforce. A brochure that explains our corporate service program in greater detail can be found here.
Our work with corporate partners is two-pronged and truly exemplifies our mission. Sponsors not only sustain our capacity to meet pressing community needs, but also mobilize their own workforce in hands-on volunteer service. If you’re interested in getting your company involved in corporate service, feel free to give us a ring! It’s a win-win for both the company and New York Cares (and, trust me, I’m not biased at all).
By Kaitlin McTighe
April 23rd, 2012
We like to think we make volunteering easy at New York Cares. But if you ever have a question, our Volunteer Relations Department is right there to help you. They also work with our Community Partners to make sure all project needs are met. Get a closer look at how our VR Department works this month on the blog.
Our Executive Director was in the elevator recently when a fellow rider asked where he worked. After responding, “New York Cares”, the rider’s response was “Oh, you work at the place where everyone smiles.” This couldn’t be truer for our department, Volunteer Relations. We have the privilege of interfacing with volunteers and Community Partners on a daily basis, which results in a very entertaining job. No matter where you are in your relationship with New York Cares, a new volunteer, a seasoned veteran, or a nonprofit we partner with, we’re the customer service gurus who talk to them all.
Want to know how to get started as a new volunteer? You’d talk to our Volunteer Relations Assistant, Glenn. Finding your first project after orientation? That’s our Volunteer Relations Associate, Emily. Received a message thanking you for your service? Our Volunteer Relations Manager, Heather, was behind that. Read the rest of this entry »
April 19th, 2012
Twenty five years ago this month, a small group of friends wanted to help their community and ended up changing the world.
It all started in 1986, a tough time in New York City. Poverty and crime were at record highs. A group of college friends moved to the Big Apple to start their careers. They saw terrible inequities and wanted to help. They attended benefits and galas, where their money went to worthy causes, but it didn’t feel like enough. They wanted to DO something, but didn’t know where to go.
The friends got together and tried to volunteer at different types of organizations – schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, and more. After a few months, they compared notes. Not one person landed a volunteer gig. Some organizations only used volunteers from 9-5, which conflicted with work. Others required lengthy commitments that young working people with irregular schedules couldn’t make. Many groups didn’t have anyone to supervise untrained do-gooders.
Read the rest of this entry »
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