Giving Back: Where to Volunteer in New York

Let's face it: Your karmic balance could use a tip back into positive territory, and what better way to accomplish that than by volunteering? New York offers lots of ways to give back to the community, whether you're looking to commit for one day, or for one day a week. From mentoring to working with underprivileged kids to lending a hand at your local soup kitchen, there's a community service opportunity for every New Yorker--and if you're not doing it because you're a genuinely good person, then do it because you're terrified of the old adage: What goes around comes around.

Updated: March 01, 2009

Where to Volunteer


Mudannayake, Louis M, Md - Cobble Hill Health Ctr

380 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

You've always been told to respect your elders, and now you can do just that by signing up for the Adopt A Grandparent program at this non-profit nursing facility. Spend some quality time reading or chatting or playing a board game with a senior citizen--you'll be amazed at how easy it is for you to make a big difference in someone else's life.


Uja-Federation Of New York

130 E 59TH St, New York, NY 10022

This organization consists of 100-plus agencies that offer a number of volunteer programs across the five boroughs. Help senior immigrants get acclimated to a new environment, aid in fundraising for women's philanthropy, or assist those afflicted by disasters like Hurricane Katrina, even long after the tragedy stops making headlines.


New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065

Every New Yorker knows green spaces are limited, so maintaining the city's parks and open spaces is our collective responsibility. Help keep New York beautiful by volunteering to plant, cleaning the parks, or joining a community group devoted to improving the parks.


New York Cares

214 W 29th St, New York, NY 10003

Spend an afternoon at a local shelter or soup kitchen, devote some time to working with underprivileged children, get involved with a community revitalization project, or have Sunday breakfast with a senior battling Alzheimer's disease; no matter what you choose, you'll be doing a major service to an important cause, and that's something to feel good about.


Streetwise Partners

11 Park Place, Suite 701, New York, NY 10007

A suit-clad corporate executive owes the world a few things--among them the duty to help those less fortunate. This mentorship organization matches professionals with low-income individuals in order to help the latter improve their workplace skills, learn crucial lessons like how to build a resume and interview, and eventually secure better employment. It's a 14 week program, but the success rate is so high and the work so fulfilling that 98% of corporate volunteers would recommend the experience to their co-workers.