Winter has returned with a vengeance, with temperatures dipping below freezing. But never fear! We have the best way to warm up while giving back. Here are our Top 5 Projects to Keep you Warm over the next week.
This marks the second year New York Pass has teamed up with New York Cares for our annual Coat Drive. This holiday season, New York Pass graciously donated $1 for every pass sold – and another $1 for every Facebook post including a photo with someone holding their pass in hand at one of the attractions.
Through this fun social media campaign and sale, they raised an incredible $21,340 in support of our Coat Drive! With that money, we were able to distribute over 7,000 coats to New Yorkers in need this winter.
New York Pass helps you be a tourist in your own city, or figure out where to start sightseeing when visiting from out of town with discounted tickets to attractions around the Big Apple.
The actual New York Pass is the size of a credit card and allows you admission into more than 70 New York City attractions such as the Empire State Building, Madame Tussauds, New York Skyride, and so many more.
We are so grateful for our partnership with New York Pass and cannot thank them enough for their support!
To celebrate our 25th Anniversary we challenged our volunteers to do more work than ever, and the 25 Challenge was born. Volunteers could either volunteer 25 hours of their time on projects, or do 5 projects in 5 boroughs in 2012. Our volunteers were happy to meet the challenge. After receiving a “thank you” email from us, volunteer Loida wrote us the following note.
Thank you so much for a heart warming email- I never thought I would be recognized that much. I forwarded your email to my kids in the Philippines & they shared it to their friends through social media. I’m so happy I made them proud.
My life here in the U.S. is a typical immigrant story. I came here to work hard to give my family back home a good life, send my kids to college with the hope that someday they will be able to join me. My early years here were quite routine – work, home, work. I went out with friends during off days, but most of the time I just stayed home and rested. I missed the time I spent in the Philippines doing a bit of charitable work while working in the government. I had thought of volunteering, and searched online for an organization to join, and that’s how I found New York Cares.
When New York Cares was founded in 1987, New York City was facing many challenges, but it was hard to find ways to volunteer. Since our founding, we’ve made it easy for people to give back in their communities. One volunteer returning from Germany attests to that below:
I am an American, and have lived in Germany for the past twenty-seven years. I returned to New York City recently for just six months because my German husband is a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University. Back in the early 80s, I tried to get involved in volunteer work in New York, but it was challenging. When I called organizations they didn’t want me if I couldn’t offer them regular hours or a big time committment every week. Since I was working full-time at the time, it was hard for me to promise consistent volunteering hours.
I can honestly say that volunteering with New York Cares during my time in the city now has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has taken me all around New York, and really let me connect with the city and its residents this time. I try to do a very wide variety of different projects. I have especially enjoyed my experiences with young people at Covenant House, as well as with delightful seniors all over the city.
My favorite experience was dancing salsa with a pretty blonde woman at a senior center on the Upper West Side. It was a birthday party for some seniors, and I relayed special music requests from the seniors to the DJ. This blonde woman said she loved Latin music and swore that she wanted to die while dancing the mambo, which I think is something like salsa. I told her I would dance with her if she promised not to die on me, and away we went, holding hands and dancing salsa for a good long time. The whole time I concentrated on the steps she made with her pretty red shoes, and we were a fine pair. After a while we sat down again, both flushed and pleased with ourselves. She told me that she is 94-years-old. Brava!
To New York Cares – thank you for enriching my life! I’ll volunteer again whenever I return to New York.
Volunteering locally is a meaningful way for couples to connect with the city and each other. Now, HowAboutWe for Couples – a new service that designs unique experiences for two – is encouraging their members to volunteer with New York Cares.
Among date ideas like private museum tours and exclusive tasting menus, HowAboutWe for Couples will offer their first “volunteer date,” helping the residents of the Rockaways with their continued clean-up and rebuilding efforts. Our partnership with HowAboutWe is a great opportunity for couples across the tri-state area to get involved. Check out the HowAboutWe for Couples volunteer opportunities and make a difference – together!
Everyday there are issues and needs within our communities. You see them when you walk to work. You see them when you read the newspaper. You can make a difference today. Don’t wait. New York Cares enables you to respond immediately to those needs. If you see something, do something.
The Coat Drive is such a huge undertaking every year that starting in November we barely see our Seasonal Events staff because they spend all their time in the warehouse, and we have to hire additional help. This year was no different, and was in fact, our busiest ever. Lauren Glattly stepped up to fill one of our seasonal positions in the warehouse, and wrote about her experience below.
It was a record-breaking year for the 24th Annual New York Cares Coat Drive, and all of us here at the Coat Drive warehouse would like to send a tremendous “thank you” to everyone who donated a coat, as well as the many volunteers who donated their time and helped us sort the donations.
Starting the very first day of the Coat Drive, in rapid response to Hurricane Sandy, coats poured in from all over New York and the rest of the rest of the country to banish the cold from New York this winter. Out of the estimated 100,000 coats we’ve received and sorted so far, 70,830 coats have already gone out to 282 agencies, and 87 more agencies will pick up coats in the following weeks.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from friends and strangers, neighbors nearby and some as far as Hawaii. We were touched by the interest and enthusiasm of all who came in person to donate coats, including many classes of school children. One very precocious third-grader, who, after asking many pertinent questions about our sorting and distribution process, concluded simply, “You guys are doing a good, good thing here.”
In person, in post, in trunks, and in trucks, they came. Coats of every shape and color — big coats, small coats, fuzzy coats, sleek coats, huge boxes of brand new coats, and even hot pink leopard print coats. Many were sent along with loving messages of warmth, hope, and healing, like the one pictured left. We only wish that all who received a coat could also have seen these many notes of kindness and care, and that those who donated could hear the words of gratitude expressed by those in need.
Although we hope that New York never experiences another storm like Hurricane Sandy, it was truly awe-inspiring to see people pull together in the face of disaster as New Yorkers, as Americans, and as human beings, to help one another. Thank you again for making the 2012 Coat Drive our most successful ever.
There are a myriad of issues facing our city. You’ve seen the headlines and watched the news stories. Some issues and stories seem to keep coming back – budget cuts in our schools, community centers closing, lack of manpower for the disaster recovery. You can help change the story. Here are 5 news items addressing issues facing our city, and how you can fix them.
Public schools operate with smaller and smaller budgets every year, leaving students with special needs especially vulnerable. Less funding is available to give them the special care they need. Our Community Partners bridge the gap by providing sports programs, math and craft activites, and other specialized programs to children in our city with disabilities. Sign up to give these children the extra attention they need.
To pass the citizens test and make life in America easier for immigrants, learning English is vital. Unfortunately, due to the economic downturn and budget cuts, finding free or affordable places offering English classes is increasingly difficult. But our adult education classes bring English to more New Yorkers. You can help prepare immigrants for the U.S. Citizenship exam or simply give someone practice time with their English by having a conversation.
Our city’s parks and gardens are a crucial part of city life. A lot of work and maintenance goes into these spaces and the Parks Department simply can’t get to it all themselves. That’s where you come in. Revitalize parks all over the city on an environmental project.
More than 2 months after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, many vital resources still haven’t reopened. Help is still needed every day, so aid residents, organizations, and Community Partners by signing up for a Sandy relief project today.
The economy has been a rollercoast ride for the past 4 years, and unemployment numbers remain high. Many adults are looking for work. Your job search skills and resume tips can be a big help. You may even be able to put a dent in those jobless numbers by signing up for a resume prep project. Help someone get back into the work force this month.
If you see something, do something. Sign up today.
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
A recent article in The New York Times has been generating a lot of buzz lately. It discusses the resurgence of gardening in the city – on rooftops. The last bit of real estate in the city is increasingly being used for growing crops, and some urban farmers are even selling their produce to big name stores like Whole Foods. In addition to having your own home grown vegetables, the gardens catch rainwater which helps prevent the sewer system from overflowing during storms. So you’re helping yourself, and the city.
Working in community gardens or tending your own garden on your roof is a great way to be hands on about what you eat, learn more about your neighborhood, and spend time outside. And we have just the projects to help you get started. Head to Long Island City where you can learn to compost and spend time in one of the city’s largest rooftop gardens. Sign up for a project in Socrates Sculpture Park and you can compost while teaching the community about the process.
Another exciting project is Gardening Explorers with New Destiny Housing. You’ll encourage the green thumbs of 6 to 11 year olds in the housing facility by teaching them about vegetables and gardening. One participant recently picked her first tomato, ran off to eat it by herself and exclaimed, “That was so awesome. I’ve never eaten food that I grew myself before.” And who wouldn’t want to witness that? Or you can get back on the ground and do some gardening in Red Hook, where you’ll weed, seed, and transplant in an urban farm.
Whether you’re up on top of the city, or on a farm within the city limits, there’s a plethora of opportunities for you to grow your own produce. Sign up for one of these amazing projects today!