Celebrating New York Cares Day

New York Cares  is a volunteer-based organization that collaborates with non-profit organizations, city agencies, and public schools to meet the needs of under-served communities. Founded in the 1980s by a group of friends who wanted to make a difference, New York Cares seeks to help communities facing critical issues throughout New York City. The organization has been a pioneer in connecting volunteers with service projects to help over 400,000 New Yorkers yearly.

Every year, New York Cares hosts NY Cares Day in the spring and fall. Today, volunteers will help clean and beautify city parks, community gardens, and public spaces. One of NY Cares’ partners, HSBC Bank, sponsors the event. It attracts 4,000 volunteers and allows them to learn about gardening and making their community greener.

NY Cares could not serve so many communities without the help of its partner organizations. To name a few, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT), Visiting Nurse Service of New York  and Jacob Riis Settlement House offer projects that focus on community building and leadership. OBT helps both adults and youth to be self-sufficient by offering job training and job placement, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and support services. Through NY Cares, OBT offers ESL conversation classes for adults with limited English proficiency.

Visiting Nurse Service of New York, one of the largest and most well-respected health care organizations in NYC, offers job readiness sessions with a focus on job search, resume writing, and mock interviews to formerly incarcerated clients. Interested volunteers can find these types of projects under search projects and adult education and job readiness on the NY Cares website. Jacob Riis Settlement House offers programs for youth, seniors, and immigrants. Their youth program alone serves over 1,000 school-aged children and teens at community centers and public schools. Volunteers can find youth projects under children’s recreation or children’s education. Most projects do not require prior knowledge or experience, but simply an interest in and dedication to the project. For job readiness projects, work experience is required.

Volunteers need to attend a NY Cares orientation to sign up for projects. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, NY Cares partnered with community centers such as the Action Center in Far Rockaway. Volunteers help in food distribution efforts in communities severely affected by the storm. Volunteers interested in Sandy relief projects, which are ongoing, do not need to attend an orientation.

NY Cares helps connect the gap between interested volunteers and organizations to help New York City’s most vulnerable communities. With its dedication to volunteerism, it allows people to give back and make a difference.