Giving Back: On Your Own

Now if you already graduated or don’t want to be affiliated with your school, no fear, you can serve on your own! It might be a little more work, but if you go out and find an organization that really echoes your passions, it’s worth it. Find one that fights for what you love, or even better: one that fights against something you hate. We live in a towering metropolis, people from all around the world make their way towards NYC with hopes of dawning a new life. But with an abundance of people, there is an abundance of problems. Thankfully there are many organizations that try to combat these dilemmas, one issue at a time. Here are some organizations that I found to be engaging and unique. After confirming them in Charity Navigator and investigating their webpage, I recommend checking out these groups.

 

First we will start with a familiar organization, Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity has an uncomplicated system allowing you to go onto their website and view their upcoming projects. They give you the flexibility to choose a day that works specifically for you to sign up for. And get this: you don’t even have to know how to work a chainsaw to help! When scanning through the sign up page, I saw jobs available for office support or simply painting walls. The best part of this organization is that you can just volunteer one day and don’t have to feel pressured to come to another workday until you’re ready. You can easily sign up for yourself or even a group of friends that want to get involved. Who knows, you may have such a great time that you all decide to volunteer regularly.

 

The YMCA isn’t simply a place to attend a woodshop class, but is a great place to volunteer and help out with the youth in the community. The neat thing about this company is that there is a local YMCA in almost every big city. In fact, there are 22 YMCAs sprinkled all around NYC, so yes, there is one near you! Because there are programs for students of all ages, you can serve in many areas. Even if you feel like college math is not your strong suit, you can tutor young students in their elementary math courses. I remember being in high school and paying attention in class, but just not getting calculus. With the guidance of students around me, explaining different tips and formulas, I was able to pass the class. If tutoring isn’t your forte though, there are opportunities for assisting with coaching or refereeing at different youth sports games, or even using your organizational skills to plan one of their many special events.

 

I honestly don’t even remember how I stumbled upon this organization, but I am so glad I did! A House on Beekman is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States, the South Bronx. Their goal is to revolutionize the area and help families including single mothers. They do this by teaching Mommy and Me classes for mothers, while volunteers watch and play with babies and young children. If you are majoring in elementary education, or just simply love children, this would be a great experience to use your skills to volunteer as you make your way through college!

 

An extension of the Polaris Project, an organization that aims to end human trafficking, GEM Girls is an group that specifically focuses on helping and educating girls who were victims of sex trafficking. They host residential units that create a safe atmosphere for women that were victims of this abuse, as well as send speakers out to inform local schools of this problem and ways to fight it. Although this can be a hard organization to get involved in, hopefully it can inspire you to learn more about contemporary human slavery that exists around the U.S. and encourage you to get involved in some way to spread awareness.

 

As you can probably tell, these organizations appeal specifically to me. I love working with people, especially teenagers. If this is not your deal don’t be dismayed, there are so many organizations out here in NYC that are just waiting for ready help like yourself! Surely these organizations have ignited that light bulb in your head, inspiring you to look on your own for an organization that matches your taste. Don’t worry, if you are still lost on how to help your community in every day life, just read further!

 

 

Proof that serving with a group of people is a great way to make friends. Here I am with a group at Christianville Haiti, check out more about this great organization below.

Proof that serving with a group of people is a great way to make friends. Here I am with a group in Christianville Haiti, check out more about this great organization below.

 

 

Habitat For Humanity:
http://habitatnyc.org/volunteer/individuals

YMCA:

http://www.ymcanyc.org/association/pages/volunteer1

A House on Beekman:

http://www.ahouseonbeekman.org/category/volunteering/

GEM Girls:

http://www.polarisproject.org/

And to learn about where I went for summer break in school, click here!

 

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Samantha Bringas

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