With “Waiting for ‘Superman’” recently released in New York and gaining media attention throughout the nation, viewers want to take part in the solution to fixing the broken school system. There are many children in New York City who could use additional mentorship and tutoring so that they can face the unfavorable odds of educational success not in hope, but in knowledge, strength and support. There are youth programs throughout the city that need help in providing guidance and friendship to children. Here is a list of organizations and ways to become involved in children’s lives:
New York Cares
New York Cares has year-round volunteer opportunities. It works with partner organizations to plan and manage 1,000 hands-on projects each month. Through the organization, volunteers can tutor and play sports with children as well as help revitalize parks and schools. There are volunteer events and longer-term projects lasting from six weeks to more than a year.
Oct.15 is New York Cares Day. The organization will have teams of 7,000 volunteer s paint classrooms and murals, organize libraries and fix playgrounds at 100 public schools throughout the boroughs. To get involved, visit newyorkcares.com.
This organization serves the East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant communities in Brooklyn. Through its various programs, the organization helps over 3,500 families annually. The organization has an early childhood program preparing toddlers for school and supporting parents. Additional programs offer after-school and summer service, which focus on literacy instruction to children in elementary and middle school. The organization also offers a four-year college prep program. Outside of these programs, there are still many additional community and family services that Groundwork provides.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City
BBBS New York City divides its volunteer programs into different categories. Community and special priority programs include the traditional mentorship program as well as others aiding young mothers, offering friendship to disabled children and preventing youth from entering foster care. Site-based programs provide interaction with youth at school and various workplaces. Juvenile justice and special population programs help youth dealing with or facing incarceration as well as children aging out of the foster care system.
BBS also has specialized groups in the Big network, including an Asian Mentoring Committee, Latino Bigs and a Technology Committee.
Even while desiring to mentor youth, many abstain from doing so because they feel their demanding schedules leave them little time to commit to a child. This common problem wanes out many potential volunteers. Well, iMentor has designed a way to add flexibility in mentorship. Created to combat lack of mentors and lack of technology literacy in under-served communities, iMentor connects professionals with youth through a combination of e-mail and in-person interactions.