Posts filed under ‘family volunteering’

Honor MLK Jr. with Family Service Activities in NYC

If you are in town this weekend, take the opportunity to participate in a community service project. It is a worthwhile way to spend some of your free time and since these activities geared toward families, you’ll still have time to take your little volunteers out to lunch for a skate in the park to celebrate their good works. If you know of other events, please add a comment. And if you attend an event, let us know how it went. Thanks everyone!

  • Sunday, January 16 from 1pm-3pm: Family Community Service Day  in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The event, co-sponsored by Ansche Chesed and the Advent Lutheran Church, will take place at Ansche Chesed (entrance on W.100th St between Broadway and West End). Activities will include making birthday cards for nursing home residents, assembling craft kits for children in hospitals, cooking for the Ansche Chesed homeless shelter, and mural-making. The event is free. Families are asked to bring a canned food item for the Advent Lutheran Food Pantry.  Plus, the Discovery Programs Gym will be available for open play with a donation to the Ansche Chesed homeless shelter and the Advent Lutheran Food Pantry ($10 per family). If you have any questions, contact event chair, Lynne Bermont at
  • Monday,January 17, from 10am-2pm. Organized Community Service via the JCC.  Join neighbors by participating in organized community service activities in and outside of the JCC building as we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action. Choose your project on the morning of the event. Breakfast will be served. To register contact Judy Gross at 646-505-4450 or  A blood drive and coat drive (newborn to child size 14) will also be taking place at the JCC on January 17.
  • Monday, January 17: generationOn presents a Day of Service. This event has been run for years by the NYC non-profit ChildrenForChildren which is now a part of generationOn, a division of Points of Light.  This year the event will be held at PS 57 James Weldon Johnson School in East Harlem.  All youth volunteers under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a parent or chaperone; teen volunteers (ages 13-18) may attend with signed parental permission.  To register your family, class, or youth group, please click here to submit your volunteer information. For more information, email Josh Collins or call 212-850-4170.
  • Monday, January 17, 10am: Raising Citizens: In our Neighborhood Collage. The youngest set (4 and under) an help create a mural honoring the city’s diversity at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan at 212 West 83rd Street, New York, NY 10024. Additional activities including some for kids 5 and over, can be found on the CMOM calendar.

January 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm Leave a comment

Helping Haiti with Handhelds and Humble Pie

It is impossible for the horrible situation in Haiti to stay out of my thoughts for long.  Another earthquake hit Wednesday further stressing a difficult situation.  The news continues to take a personal turn as one of the longtime and wonderful staff members in our building is from Haiti.  After days of no communication after the original quake, this doorman learned his immediate family was unharmed, but that his aunt and her six children all perished; they were in their first-floor apartment in a typical cement apartment building. No word yet about further impact from the most recent quake.

We want to help our friend’s family but we will have to wait for that.  There is no way to do so until the situation stabilizes and begins rebuilding. For now, our family is giving to the Red Cross to help the country as a whole. And with digital media making it easier than ever to give, the overwhelming number of donations is making the once-trite statement of “any amount counts” an impressive reality. As of Sunday, an incredible $22 million, or 20% of the total $103 million pledged to Red Cross, was via text-messaging. (Send a text to 90999 to make a $10 donation, which will be charged to your cellphone bill.)

Beyond texting donations, mobile devices and social media have been used to great impact. They’ve been used to share real-time pictures of what is happening on the ground, to try to help families living outside Haiti identify survivors, and to spread the word about how doctors can get to Haiti, and provide info on local fundraising events.

And what about our kids? While teens are plugged into the digital world, younger kids also want to take action. My son’s grammar school is running an old-fashioned Bake Sale this Friday to raise money for Haiti. When I told my son, he decided he wants to donate some of his piggy bank contents to the cause. When he pulled out the cash, he wa disappointed by the amount he’d be able to give so he asked me if he could do some jobs around the house to earn more.  I gave him a big hug and asked,”How did you get to be so sweet?” And just in case I was harboring some sense of credit due to me, he immediately answered,”What do you mean? I’ve always been this way!”  Oh, right. I guess for the Bake Sale I should bring the humble pie.

January 20, 2010 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

MLK Day of Service provides worthwhile family fun

I love that our pre-school Claremont sent out a note reminding everyone that Monday, January 18, 2010, will be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service.  The note included information about events you can participate in with your children here on the West Side of Manhattan. (Details included below.)  No matter where you live the in US, you can find local events by visiting

Three NYC events are listed below. My kids and I have participated in the Children for Children and JCC events in the past. Both are popular so I recommend getting there early. Last year, the JCC was mobbed but it looks like they are requesting registration this time around which will probably help them plan for all those motivated volunteer families living on the Upper West Side. I am not familiar with the third event listed but it may have a smaller scale (harder to be larger than the other events) and lists some really nice hands-on arts project.  Feel free to comment with additional event suggestions or let me know how your experience was after the fact.  Enjoy!

Children for Children  “Grow Involved”

When: Monday 1/18, 10am-2pm

Where: Martin Luther King High School, at 122 Amsterdam Ave @ 65th St. and, PS 57, at 176 E. 115th St between Lex & 3rd Ave. 

This event is free and open to the public and engages youth volunteers in hands-on service projects to benefit the community and those in need.  The Dream World features age-appropriate activities for the 5 and under group. For more information, go to

JCC Manhattan

Please join JCC staff, members, and neighbors by participating in organized community service activities in and outside of our building as we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action.  Breakfast will be served.  To register, please contact Judy Gross at 646.505.4450 or

 Congregation Ansche Chesed Day of Social Action in honor of the MLK Jr. National Day of Service

When: Sunday 1/17, 10am-12pm

Where: Ansche Chesed on 100th St. between Broadway and West End

Please join our community as people of all ages engage in projects that address hunger, homelessness, poverty, the crisis in Darfur, the environment, human rights and other issues. Children’s programs include visit with JNF’s Blue Box Bob, making get well cards for pediatric patients, library bookmark-making, placemats for a senior center, cards for homeless shelter guests. For more information, contact Claremont mom Lynne Bermont at

January 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

9:58 this morning: Bloomin’ Earth. Tomorrow: Celebrate.

Central Park 9:58am Apr 24

Central Park 9:58am Apr 24

 I snapped this photo while running around the reservoir in Central Park today. As T.S. Eliot wrote,”April is the cruelest month.”  Any sunny day we’ve had has been followed by five gloomy ones. You expectantly pack away winter gear, and then Mother Nature just rains and rains on your parade.

Until now. At least for now. Perfectly timed with Earth Day, our lovely planet (or at least our small patch of it) seems to have burst out into the sunshine if full floral regalia.  So, celebrate with her.

Check out your local listings for special Earth Day events (or search by location here). If you are in NYC, check out the list at the end of this blog.

Another great way to celebrate Earth Day this week — and every week — is to shop at your local farmers’ market. You already know shoppinglocal food growers and is eco-friendly AND yummy, but consider this: today in the US, we consumer less than 1% of the vegetable varieties than we did a century ago.  This fact courtesy of my current read: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It turns out that consuming local varieties of food is good for biodiversity, your health and happily, your tastebuds. 

As I write this, my husband and daughter are shopping the Friday farmers’ market at W. 97th and Columbus.  If you don’t know where to go, it’s easy to look up location and days/hours of a market near you at the NY State Farmers’ Markets site or, for national links,  Happy Earth Day Eats and please share some seasonal recipes!

And, now for some select Earth Day Happenings in NYC: 

Earth Day in Central Park

DATE: April 26, 2009 from 12 – 4 pm

LOCATION: At the Bandshell just south of the 72nd St. transverse,


WHAT:  Live entertainment, including a puppet show, singing and African dancing; mini-landscape planting and container decorating, tree climbing, flower planting, wildlife corridor games and composting demos.  Greenmarket vendors.


Earth Expo at the Bronx Zoo

DATE: April 25 – 26, 2009 from 11am – 4pm


WHAT: Various activities and events including a “Recycled Animal Kingdom,”  (one-of-a-kind animal sculptures created entirely from found objects), arts and crafts including making a souvenir out of recycled materials and helping with an Earth Day mural, yoga sessions for the whole family, and a Human Footprint Exhibit showing our impact on the planet.  The Expo will showcase organizations and products which can help you and your family live “greener”. See website ( for specific times and locations within the zoo.


Earth Fair 2009

DATE: April 24- 25, 2009

LOCATION: Grand Central Station

                        Inside at Vanderbilt Hall

                        Outside at Vanderbilt Ave. at 42nd Street

WHAT:  A variety of events and activities celebrating Earth Day, including live bands, kids activities, face painting, yoga, & environmental action opportunities.

April 24, 2009 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

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