One of the most fulfilling things you can do for your community is to volunteer to make it a better place. Astoria is a wonderful community, and is fortunate to have so many people in the neighborhood willing and able to help out on projects big and small. A lot of organizations simply couldn't exist without the help of volunteers.
The Astoria Park Alliance (APA) is completely run by volunteers, though it did start out its life with the help of paid staff from Partnerships for Parks. APA meets regularly throughout the year, organizes shoreline and park cleanups, and is the driving force behind the Astoria Park Shore Fest, which happens every August. Volunteers are an essential element in producing this event.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Astoria Park Alliance, please contact them via their Facebook Page.
Closely related to the work of the Astoria Park Alliance is Green Shores, another completely volunteer-run organization. Green Shores is dedicated to the health of the waterfront parks in Astoria and Long Island City. Its mission is to gather together community forces - individuals, local businesses, and established community organizations - to improve and promote the western Queens waterfront parks and shoreline. They meet regularly, were the people behind the Waterfront Vision Plan, and produce a number of events throughout the year.
Heavenly Angels Animal Rescue (14-42 27th Ave, Astoria, 347-722-5939) is an animal shelter in Astoria that strives to place dogs and cats into loving forever homes. While the animals are there, though, they need exercise and socialization. The organization is always in need of volunteers. Can you walk a dog or hang with a kitty cat? If so, your help would be warmly welcomed.
Heavenly Animals also holds adoption events, which needs staffing by volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with Heavenly Angels Animal Rescue, please contact them via its Facebook page.
The Greater Astoria Historical Society (GAHS) (35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Astoria,718-278-0700) is an excellent resource for all Astorians (and beyond). It is the foremost authoritative organization when it comes to the history of Astoria and Long Island City. And group is in need of volunteers to help continue its mission. Most importantly, GAHS needs people to help write grants (in order to stay up and running) and to maintain its website (training provided).
If you are interested in volunteering with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, please contact the group via its website.
One of Astoria's great institutions is the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, 718-784-0077), which is dedicated to educating the public about the history, technical elements, and the artistry behind film, television and digital media. Volunteers are an integral part to keeping MOMI's work alive. There are numerous volunteer opportunities there, too, from lobby greeters, to front desk duties, to administrative assistance behind the scenes.
What is asked of volunteers is a commitment of a minimum of eight hours per month (so, two 4 hour shifts) for a six-month period. A complimentary year membership, discounts at the museum shop, and invitations to volunteer-only events are part of the deal (nice). If you are interested in volunteering, contact the Museum of the Moving Image via its website.
Build it Green (3-17 26th Ave, 718-777-0132) serves an important purpose in Astoria. Each year this non-profit keeps tons of building materials out of our landfills, and re-sells these materials at reasonable prices. It's amazing what you can find there - cabinets, shelving, vanities, chairs, mirrors, doors, and more. And all of them have possibilities attached.
From time to time Build it Green holds volunteer days. Volunteers spend the day at Build It Green and paint, measure and tag inventory, and even sort the myriad used books on site. If you are interested in their volunteer days, please contact Build it Green through its website.
The Ali Forney Center (212-222-3427) serves an important purpose of a totally different nature from Build It Green. It's a shelter for homeless LGBT youth. The organizers provide shelter and nourishment for kids that are truly at risk. Donations, of course, are welcome and helps keep the organization running, but the shelter also needs volunteers to continue its mission.
Especially needed are volunteers to help feed the kids. Meal preparation for breakfast and lunch at the location in Astoria is always welcome. Additionally, volunteers who can facilitate workshops - be it life skills training, education, the arts, or other recreational activities - are also needed.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Ali Forney Center, please contact the center via its website.
New York Cares (212-228-5000), New York City's premiere organization for volunteers, offers opportunities throughout the five boroughs, including Astoria (and Long Island City). Check out its search page and run a query for Astoria, Astoria Heights, or Astoria Park. You'll find more opportunities usually with the Astoria query, but it's worth checking out all three possibilities (four, if you include Long Island City).
Twice a year, New York Cares organizes a huge, city-wide event, one in the fall and one in the spring. According to its website, New York Cares "engages 13,000 volunteers over two large days of service: New York Cares Day each October, which benefits public schools, and Hands On New York Day each April, which benefits community parks and gardens. These days are also important fundraisers for New York Cares."
New volunteers must attend a short orientation session first. If you are interested in volunteering with NY Cares, please contact the group via its website.