Before I get started recapping my experience as a volunteer team leader for New York Cares, I would like to direct your attention to the annual Coat Drive. Between now and February 7, New York Cares is taking coat donations at a ton of locations in every NYC borough, as well as Westchester and Rockland County and Long Island, between now and Feb. 7.
At the moment they are experience a severe shortage of coats; they’re getting a lot less donated than they had hoped for. If you are able to take a look in your closet and find a perfectly good coat you just don’t want or need any more (I found and donated two of mine) — or if you could take a little time out of your day to pick out a coat at a store — please consider whether someone in need might need it more than you do, and then consider dropping it off at one of the locations from this list. The staff at New York Cares even compiled a list of the neatest places to take your coat on their blog. Locations include the coat drive bin in Bryant Park, accessible 24 hours a day until the drive ends. Continue reading →
As was the case between my first post about volunteering through New York Cares and the second, and between the second and the third, a lot has happened since I last wrote about the volunteering hobby I started in September.
I have now led the Coler Hospital Variety Night project on Roosevelt Island a few times, and I have decided to team lead a brand new book cart project at Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx where I previously participated in a game night as part of the five-borough challenge for new volunteers.
The new bi-weekly book cart project starts in January, since I figured it would be easiest just to start after the holidays are over and we’re in the New Year. The concept is to bring a book cart (loaded up with books and magazines beforehand by hospital staff) around to hospital residents’ rooms from 2 to 4 pm on Saturdays.
It’s not just about providing some reading material, though. It’s about chatting with people who just need someone to talk to and showing them that they are cared about and not forgotten. In some social situations I can be a little shy or introverted, but when it comes to volunteering I get to turn on my extroverted side and meet interesting new people. Continue reading →
My friends seem to like my accounts of volunteering through New York Cares, a fantastic volunteering organization that has allowed me to help out on a wide variety of projects all over the city. So here I am writing a third edition to catch everyone up on my experiences since I wrote last time. There’s a lot of ground to cover since it’s been about three weeks since my part 2, so I might sum things up more quickly this time.
Things have developed pretty quickly since I posted about my New York Cares volunteering orientation and first project on September 6. It was actually just two weeks ago that I had the orientation, and already I’ve participated in six projects and put in an application to become a volunteer Team Leader (interviewing at NY Cares headquarters on Tuesday after work) so that I can head projects. I’ve decided I’m interested in projects pertaining to seniors. I do like volunteering with kids, but I seem to have a stronger connection to and more skill with seniors.
I’ll summarize the five projects I participated in since the one described on my last post so that people can get an idea of the range of things you can do.
After a couple years in New York, I’ve somewhat settled into my life here. It took awhile to get there, but recently I realized I was in a place where I was comfortable and my basic needs were met and I was asking myself “OK, so what else is there?” And what else there is, I decided, is other people.
That’s where New York Cares came in. I asked my girlfriend Rachel if she knew of good volunteer organizations to look into, and she (despite not actually having done any volunteering through it yet) recommended New York Cares.
There’s an hour (more like 45 minute) orientation that everyone has to go to in order to sign up for New York Cares projects. I went to the one on Tuesday in their Financial District home office right after work.
The speaker was this pleasant middle aged guy, a bit on the short side, with a hairy face and pleated dress pants a little too baggy in the crotch, who talked about all the great volunteering experiences he has had. I found later on the website’s “honor roll” list that he has volunteered for more than a thousand projects. Just think of that. If each project were only an hour (which is highly unlikely), he’s spent more than 1000 hours of his life devoted to service. That’s more than 41 days’ worth of hours. And if the projects average out to two hours each, that’s 82 days of his life. Continue reading →