Plan B for Operation: Abandon Cubicle includes signing up for every class my job offers, no matter how irrelevant to my position. In doing so I signed up for one option that turned out to be more relevant to my personal life than expected. I signed up to volunteer for an NY Cares revitalization project in the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center. It was good to work shoulder to shoulder with VPs and such, but it was that light and airy, baby-scented, green-as-grass good feeling after the project was completed that made me want to volunteer even more time (that I don’t necessarily have).
How is this relevant to you? Well are you employed these days? No? Are you bored this summer, or über busy with a sense of purposelessness that gnaws at your taut heartstrings? Why not donate a Saturday a month, or an evening a week to support your community? I checked out the websites to sign up for upcoming projects through NY Cares and NJ Cares, and I was surprised at how easy it was to sign up. No long-term commitment required. You might get a little overwhelmed by all the projects being offered, so I suggest you take a moment to breeze through the Program Guide before starting your search.
Still not convinced this is something you want to do. Take a look at the opportunities below, and let the idea of inevitable euphoria headed your way once you complete just one project help change your mind. It’s great that you want to be the next Tobias Wolff, but if you could just be a Gilbert Goody Two Shoes for a few hours a month the experience might help keep you grounded even when your best-seller turns into a runaway blockbuster. If nothing else, hey it’s a great way to get to know your neighborhood, and the sweeter side of NYC.
Children’s Education: Young Authors Club (Ages 8-12)
Help students discover the joys of creative writing by providing them with one-on-one support as they develop personal memoirs, poetry, short stories, and more. At the end of this semester-long program, all students and volunteers receive a published compilation of the students’ work. A bi-weekly commitment through December is required for this project.
Children’s Education: Book Clubs
Join a book and discussion club for youth. Participants and volunteers will read young adult materials, including excerpts from books and magazines. The readings will be followed by small discussion groups and activities related to the literary themes. A weekly commitment for a school semester or throughout the school year is typically required for this project.
Revitalization: Love a Library
New York Cares Love a Library program brings teams of volunteers into schools and nonprofit organizations to help clean, organize, and revitalize these important learning spaces. Projects typically include cataloguing and shelving books, bar coding, and rearranging furniture.