May 13th, 2013
GrowNYC is a great organization that aims to improve the quality of life in New York City through environmental programs to secure a clean and healthy environment for the future. So we are always excited when we can send volunteers to them to help with their projects. And we were even more excited when we got the following thank you note from them:
First off, we would like to thank New York Cares for being such an amazing organization to work with. Since the expansion of our Stop’N’Swap® program, New York Cares has brought in amazing volunteers to help facilitate our free reuse events.
Leesa, as the amazing and well-organized Team Leader, followed up with each New York Cares volunteer and assisted in areas where we needed help the most. She was an extremely well-rounded Team Leader! Leesa, please forward our gratitude to your team as well! Without New York Cares’ support to our recent changes and demands, we would not be where we are now.
On that note, our Jackson Heights Stop’N’Swap® was our most-attended swap thus far! On Saturday, April 27th, we received approximately 3,400 pounds of donated gently-used items. Of the remaining donation, only 353.8 pounds of clothing, household items, and electronics were either donated or recycled. 70 pounds of classified contraband items was diverted from the public.
In addition to the commendable diversion rate, many attendees of the event raved about the organization of the swap. We have been getting phone calls about our future swaps since then!
Last but not least, please check out the Jackson Heights Stop’N’Swap® photos on our Facebook page. Please feel free to tag yourself and share your accomplishments with your friends and family members.
We look forward to working with New York Cares again and thank you once again!
By Cindy Yee
February 25th, 2013
A key part of making sure your organization is achieving it’s mission is to utilize your volunteers and resources effectively. We’re here to help with our free workshops for 501(c)(3) organizations. In partnership with New Yorkers Volunteer and Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC Service, we proudly offer these upcoming workshops:
Utilizing the Volunteer Commitment Spectrum (February 27th, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)
Not all volunteers are the same, so you shouldn’t treat them like they’re all the same. Learn how to structure tasks and responsibilities so you can get the most out of your volunteers of varying commitment levels. We’ll also cover how to minimize the impact of volunteer turnover. RSVP by February 25th by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
HandsOn Tech – Google Spreadsheets and Forms (February 28th, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
In this webinar, we’ll explore the benefits of data collection and organizatioon through Google spreadsheets and forms. Make your data collection more systematic and organized. RSVP by emailing email@example.com.
HandsOn Tech – Operating Effectively Through a Disaster (March 11th, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Are you prepared for another disaster? Find out during our panel with New York Cares’ Director of Technology, Josh Ehrlich, and Director of Community Programs, Susan Craine, when we’ll discuss policies and technology that prepared our staff for Hurricane Sandy. RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can’t make it to any of these, we have more workshops scheduled throughout March and April. Check our schedule, and RSVP today.
By Susan Torres
February 20th, 2013
This fall, New York Cares launched the School Success Initiative, a year-long intensive partnership with four high-need elementary schools. Our goal is to create and expand educational programming opportunities for students, parents, and community members at our four partner sites: PS 107 X in Soundview, PS 366 M in Inwood, PS 20 Q in Flushing, and PS 196 K in Bushwick.
We were fortunate to receive three AmeriCorps VISTA associates to help us launch this brand new program: Herby Jeanty, Kasseopia Davis, and Sophia Smart. Herby and Kasseopia are planning children’s educational programming focused on literacy, math, and science that will provide students with the academic skills needed to succeed in school, college, and the workforce. Sophia is starting adult educational programming at all four schools that will provide parents with the skills they need to find employment, advance in their careers, assist their children with school work, and properly navigate the public school system. Below are some examples of successes they’ve had so far:
On December 13th, Herby and Sophia hosted PS 20 Q’s first Family Literacy Night. This project provided 44 Mandarin and Spanish speaking parents with innovative and fun techniques to increase their child’s love of literature and make reading an enriching part of their academic journey. In addition, the volunteers helped the 54 students in attendance improve their English comprehension skills through paired and small group read-alouds with their parents.
Kasseopia has recently developed a Saturday Homework Help program at PS 107 X that provides academic support to students in grades 2-5 by strengthening their literacy skills, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and playing enriching educational games. Homework Help at PS 107 X has been so successful, that the school decided to add 18 more students within two weeks of its start date. As a bonus, Kasseopia received a small office inside the school from the principal!
We are so proud of Herby, Kasseopia, and Sophia’s hard work to get this brand new initiative off the ground, but the School Success Initiative wouldn’t be possible without the support of caring volunteers like you. If you would like to be part of one of their upcoming projects (or if you want to check out Kasseopia’s posh new office at PS 107 X) please click here to sign up, or type School Success in the keyword box on the “Search Projects” page.
We look forward to seeing you on a future project!
New to New York Cares? Create an account and sign up for an orientation to get started volunteering.
February 13th, 2013
Have trouble finding the right volunteers for your volunteer program? Need some ideas on how to develop a recruitment strategy? Then our latest workshop is perfect for your organization. You’ll learn how to find the best volunteers for your agency, while providing them with a more meaningful experience. Workshop material is provided by NYC Service and New Yorkers Volunteer.
- How to develop an effective volunteer position description
- How to identify groups of potential volunteers and create a recruitment message for specific audiences
- Different ways to communicate your recruitment message
When and where:
February 21st from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
New York Cares Office, 65 Broadway, 19th Floor
In partnership with New Yorkers Volunteer and Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC Service, this workshop is free to all 501(c)(3) organizations in New York City.
Who Should Attend:
Ideal for anyone who desires to improve volunteer practices.
Breakfast and refreshments will be provided. RSVP by February 19 by emailing email@example.com.
By Veronica Cho
January 8th, 2013
Katherine Keintz, one of our program managers, received the following letter from one of our Community Partners around the holidays. Maria Verdesoto and Hope Salas from the Museum Magnet School were so pleased with our volunteers, they asked to share it with all of you! And we are happy to do so. Keep up the great work volunteers, as you can see, it’s clearly appreciated.
Dearest Katherine & New York Cares Volunteers,
I write to extend the warmest thank you to the New York Cares volunteers that assisted the teachers and staff at the Museum Magnet School prepare for our Dream, Think, Do! Gallery Tour event on December 18th.
Our school has a bi-annual celebration called Dream, Think, Do! This event allows us all at the Museum Magnet School to celebrate the work of our Pre-K – 8 students, which illustrates their knowledge and skill of the content they are currently studying in the core subjects. Our teachers, staff, students, and parents work very hard to ready the school for this very exciting event.
This year our school also called upon the volunteers at New York Cares on December 14th and 17th to help us create display panels, mount & label work, and complete all the tasks on our interminable To Do List. Without the exceptional support and hard work of the volunteers our event would not have been as successful as it was. We received many kudos and accolades from the 285 visitors who came to explore the incredible work of our students throughout the day and evening. Much of the thanks goes to the volunteers.
So, from the bottom of every heart at the Museum Magnet School, we thank you for your support and for being such a good friend to our school.
Happy New Year to all!
In kindness and gratitude,
Principal, Museum Magnet School
Museum Magnet Specialist
Museum Magnet School
July 17th, 2012
We always love it when one of our Community Partners is recognized for the amazing work they do. So we were super excited when Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center, was recognized by the White House for his work with homeless Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth. Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center in 2002 to provide LGBT youth with a safe, homelike environment. The White House named Siciliano a “Champion of Change” for his dedication to making New York City a safer place for LGBT youth.
Our volunteers frequently work at the Ali Forney Center. Unfortunately, there are many more people in need than there are beds available at the center, so volunteers from Eximius College Prep in the Bronx created these care packages to further help the youth at the center.
Each one contains a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a pair of socks. These simple items are a great comfort to those at the shelter – every little bit counts. They even included encouraging messages on the outside of the bags to make the packages more personal.
Congratulations to Carl Siciliano and the Ali Forney Center for the great work they do.
May 1st, 2012
Yorkville Common Pantry (YCP) is New York City’s largest community-based food pantry. Located in East Harlem, the pantry is open every Thursday through Saturday delivering grocery packages to 1,700 households every week. Since its creation in 1980, YCP has grown into a full-service community asset providing hot meals, shelter, hygiene, medical and social services to New York’s homeless and hungry neighbors.
YCP’s Pantry Program relies heavily on its dedicated volunteer base. Originally requiring only 15 daily volunteers, expansions to the program have increased the amount of volunteers needed. Introduction of the new Client Choice program, which allows clients to choose which groceries they receive, will now need up to 50 daily volunteers for the program to run smoothly. To achieve their goals, volunteer organizers at Yorkville Pantry turn to New York Cares as a dedicated and reliable volunteer source.
“Our Saturday program is not fully staffed, so [New York Cares] Team Leaders take a strong leadership role in organizing and directing the volunteers. Because we have so many volunteers, it is important to have regulars that can help staff,” says Liz Nellis, Development Associate at Yorkville Common Pantry. “The money we save by using Team Leaders instead of paid staff goes to more food and social services.”
Forty percent of work hours are done by volunteers – and the number continues to grow. In 2010, volunteers had saved Yorkville Common Pantry $400,000 in billable hours. This was money better spent serving 17,928 individuals and 2,027,941 hot meals that same year.
When asked to describe New York Cares, Nellis replied: “The three words that stand out when I think of New York Cares are communication, support and meaning. Not only meaning for volunteers who get excited about the mission, but for organizations as well. The program creates a way for nonprofits to fully utilize the skills volunteers have to offer.”
Have you ever volunteered at YCP? Let us know about your experience in the comments. If you haven’t made it there yet, sign up for a project today.
By Megan Taub
March 5th, 2012
Build It Green! NYC is New York City’s only nonprofit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials. Its warehouse is stocked with everything from panel doors to high-end refrigerators and from shutters to movie props. Its mission is simple: to keep these materials out of the landfill and giving them new life by reselling them at a discount. All proceeds help support Community Environmental Center’s environmental initiatives around the city, including the Western Queens Compost Initiative, BIG!Blooms scaffolding program for raised garden beds at community gardens, BIG!NYC Gives Back donation program for nonprofits and community groups, and so much more.
Build It Green! NYC has a very unique model, and they need technology advice to keep up with commercial competitors, especially as their operations expand into Brooklyn. Working with our HandsOn Tech Team, Build It Green! NYC has been paired with technology professionals to update desktops and servers, fix security cameras and build a “technology closet” to keep servers clean and secure. These updates will help the organization operate more efficiently, allowing staff to spend their time and resources on environmental programing. Read the rest of this entry »
December 23rd, 2010
— By Elizabeth Crowley, New York Cares Children’s Education Program Manager
I am always pleasantly surprised by the fabulous projects and agencies my colleagues manage. The Good Dog Foundation is an amazing agency that I heard about (and consequently fell in love with) at a department meeting. The agency provides opportunities for children to read books to dogs – an unconventional project, but a valuable one. A dog will not laugh if a child stumbles over a word or criticize if the pace is too slow.
I told my roommates about this project after a particularly long day at work. “Can you imagine how cute that is? Little kids who just sit and read to dogs?” I imagined some of my former students – students who hated reading because it made them feel insecure and vulnerable – having the opportunity to engage in such a calming experience.
Before I knew it, my roommate was sitting at her computer: “I’m registering to be a New York Cares volunteer right now.” And she did; my roommate volunteers with the Good Dog Foundation on Tuesday mornings before work. That sounds like a pretty great way to start the day, if you ask me.
There are tons of other unexpected projects we offer our volunteers. Gallop NYC helps children with Autism Spectrum Disorders develop new skills, get comfortable, communicate with others, and just have fun. To see a non-verbal child with ASD go from not managing to even pet a horse to being able to trot around on one while remaining relaxed, focused, and happy truly underscores the value of this project.
Though I’ve only just been introduced to the world of animal-related therapies, I’m excited to learn more about the kind of agencies that serve New Yorkers in innovative ways, and I hope you are too. There’s a whole world full of opportunities, so make it a New Year’s resolution to explore new volunteer projects in 2011.
November 25th, 2010
At New York Cares, there’s a lot to appreciate: we have a wonderful purpose, warm-hearted & dedicated volunteers, and the potential to change an entire city for the better. This Thanksgiving, we’ve added something new to our list of things to be thankful for – our volunteer bloggers! These folks volunteer by day and write by night; check out their blogs for a first-person perspective on different New York Cares projects.
Give and Get NYC: Give and Get NYC is a blog dedicated to “taking the mystery out of volunteering” by sharing community service experiences in an open forum. The blogger in question frequently writes about her various volunteering escapades; you can check out her blog for pictures from a recent New York Cares project and a great description of what it’s like to work with us!
OMFG Style: Although OMFG Style is generally a fashion & lifestyle blog, one of their bloggers managed to sum up volunteering in a single sentence: “Give volunteering a shot because this Big Apple has plenty of people who could use your help and the internet / cable / your bed / _______ will still be there when you get home.” We couldn’t agree more.
Simply Stated: Kristin Appenbrink is one of the thousands of wonderful New Yorkers who showed up on New York Cares Day 2010 and made a difference. She and her team of Real Simple magazine colleagues went out in full force and painted murals at P.S. 346. Check out her blog for amazing pictures from the day!
I Care Deeply: Not only is Bekah Brunstetter a talented, award-winning playwright, she’s also a New York Cares volunteer! Bekah recently completed her first Bedtime Stories project – visit her blog for a fresh, quirky take on what it’s like to have your heart melted by kids that are better readers than you.
Do you know any other volunter-writer hybrids? Let us know, and we might feature them on our own blog.
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