District News

Local Volunteer Opportunities

Jan 26, 2021
letters sent to Goddard Riverside for older adults to receive spread across a desk

Giving back to our Upper West Side community is a great way to stay connected and inspire hope as we look forward to better days ahead. The following organizations are looking for individual volunteers to help carry out important and thoughtful work around the Upper West Side.

DOROT, a nonprofit connecting people across generations located at 171 West 85th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, is looking for volunteers 65+ to share wisdom and friendship with local high school and middle school students looking for intergenerational connections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers would connect via phone and Zoom with students, in small and large group settings, for activities like teen-led discussion groups, book clubs, ‚Äčor collaborative art activities; regular friendly phone or video-chat visits with individual or pairs of teens and tweens; and virtually visiting a middle school classroom for fun, engaging games, discussions, and art activities. Programs begin in February and run through May. To learn more, please attend a DOROT Volunteer Orientation or, contact Jamie Phillips, jphillips@dorotusa.org.

Younger adults can also volunteer through DOROT’s Caring Calls Program, bringing warmth, conversation and social connection to older adults in isolation due to COVID-19. Caring Calls matches older adults with an adult volunteer for weekly phone conversations for 4 weeks, to socialize and chat about common interests. This is a significant and meaningful opportunity for intergenerational connection and friendship. To participate, sign up for a Volunteer Orientation to learn about this opportunity. If you're interested in signing up for Caring Calls, please call 212-769-2850 or contact volunteers@dorotusa.org and let us know that you would like a volunteer to call you. If you can’t commit to phone conversations, a Caring Card is a wonderful way to reach out to a DOROT older adult. Here are some guidelines with suggested messages and other tips to ensure that your card will bring smiles during this challenging time.

Goddard Riverside Community Center, at 593 Columbus Avenue and 89th Street, also has a number of opportunities for volunteers of all ages. Goddard’s Star Learning Center connects students in grades 2-12 from underserved communities to one-on-one academic tutoring to help them improve academically and foster a positive attitude about learning. Volunteers should be able to commit two hours a week, be at least a sophomore in high school, and be comfortable using a computer. All tutoring is happening virtually. Sign up to tutor during the school year here and sign up for summer tutoring here. Goddard also runs a Letters to Older Adults program and a Calling Older Adults program. You can send a handwritten card or a note anytime to help older adults isolating at home feel connected to the community, just click here for more details. For phone calls, Goddard is currently seeking volunteers who speak Russian, Spanish, Cantonese, or Mandarin to call and chat with seniors on Monday-Friday. For this program, contact Brianne Kilpatrick at BKilpatrick@goddard.org for more information.

Likewise, Goddard Riverside’s older adult programs are enhanced by volunteers who spend time with the men and women who utilize Goddard’s Senior Centers or live at one of Goddard’s NORCs (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities). Volunteers are always needed to run fun art programs, offer computer help, escort older adults to important appointments, and more. According to the website, contact the Development Office for placement.

West Side Campaign Against Hunger, which operates out of 263 West 86th Street and West End Avenue in the basement of the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew, is looking for volunteers to help out at this location’s Market pantry. If you are interested in serving as a WSCAH volunteer, please call or email Steven Yee, Volunteer and Development Coordinator, at syee@wscah.org or (646) 484-0371.

New York Caresthe largest volunteer network in NYC offering thousands of volunteer opportunities, has partnered with NY Forever to extend opportunities throughout New York City's boroughs. Take the NY Forever pledge now and get connected to partner organizations and nonprofits that directly support New Yorkers in need. You can also browse New York Cares' volunteer projects database to find more opportunities to volunteer in your area. Search for options geared towards new volunteers, long-term projects, and family-friendly options here

Participate in any of these great volunteer-based programs and connect with our local community!

Photo credit: Goddard Riverside Community Center