Volunteering is one of the most fulfilling ways to fully enjoy and take part in this exciting city. In Manhattan, there are hundreds of nonprofit and volunteer organizations that offer all sorts of fun and meaningful projects. Whether you have one hour of time to donate or one year, are interested in teaching kids, restoring community gardens, or helping the homeless, there is a project that’s right for you.
Browse some of the NYC-based organizations below and find a volunteer project that best suits your interests and level of commitment:
New York Cares
At 43,000 members strong, New York Cares offers a vast assortment of daily, weekly, and monthly projects such as soup kitchen services, youth basketball clinics, adult literacy classes, and even senior citizen dance-a-thons. The commitment? Whatever time you can give. Sign up online, attend an hour-long orientation, and you’re in the club. newyorkcares.org
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York City
There are kids all over New York City who need someone to show them the ropes and be a class-act role model. At BBBS, adult mentors arrange museum trips, explore the city, or just hang out with young people between the ages of seven and eighteen. What’s required? New York City residency, a minimum commitment of eight hours per month for one year, and a job that keeps you in town most of the time.
Be prepared for an extensive screening process and possibly a long wait period before you have a match. bigsnyc.org
Located in SoHo, The Door offers activities and services that focus on quality of life improvement for tweens, teens, and young adults under age 21. Many volunteers work as subject-specific tutors, offer advice about educational opportunities here in New York, and work with the staff to organize recreational activities for program members.
If you are enthusiastic and love watching other people run, helping out the New York Road Runners is a great gig. At races and other events, volunteers man water stations, call out times to participants, and of course cheer on the runners at the New York City Marathon. nyrr.org
NYC Parks Department
With the parks department, volunteers spend time with Mother Nature planting, mulching, and beautifying Manhattan’s green spaces, including Central Park. During the cold winter months, you can get involved with the City Parks Foundation, a nonprofit that combines arts, sports, and education programs with community involvement to revitalize parks and the surrounding neighborhoods. nycgovparks.org or cityparksfoundation.org
-- Updated by Elissa Garay