It hit me the other day and since the start of this month I have now begun my third year of living on the Upper East Side. When I first moved to New York City after college my apartment was in the East Village and then, you may recall, I thought I was cool enough to move to Brooklyn for a year. Nope. Now I call the Upper East home and I could not be happier with my little spot of Manhattan. In New York City the sense of a “community” or a real kinship with your neighbors is something I have struggled to find in my four plus years of living in the Big Apple but this Spring I found a way to get more involved.
While doing an outdoor bootcamp at Carl Schurz Park only a few blocks from my studio I discovered the oldest community-based volunteer park group in the City of New York and am now a neighborhood volunteer. Now, it is true there are few charities and organizations I give to regularly donate to but giving back does not have to cost money, you can donate your time which can be equally as valuable. For me volunteering in a park is a great way to get outside and soak up fresh air and Vitamin D as well as serving as a great way to meet new people and combat the hashtag #nonewfriends. Take a look at the gorgeous Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side and one of the ways I get involved in my community, a statement funny to say in a city with a population is more than 8.5 million people!
Isn’t Carl Schurz Park pretty? While not as famous as Central Park this is the closest public park to my apartment and also where the Mayor of New York lives, in Gracie Mansion, shown above! Volunteering at a community garden is one way you can give back without breaking the bank but there are a ton of other ways. Here are some of my favorites:
- Serve meals at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter
- Donate books, movies, or CDs
- Clean out your closet and donate your clothes
- Volunteer to mentor at a nonprofit in your career
These are just a few ideas of ways to give back that will not cost you money but if monetary donations are what speaks to you, I have some good news! This summer Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company is going to donate a total of $2 million to support three important causes – health, home and hunger through their corporate giving campaign called Band Together. The nonprofits that will receive these funds are: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and Feeding America.
All three of these charities will receive a sizable donation – $1 million for the winner, $700,000 for the runner-up, and $300,000 will go to the third-place charity but how they are paired up depends on you! The winners will be determined by users voting so head to the Jewelers Mutual “Band Together” website and casting their vote! You can vote daily through July 31st and not only is this for a great cause but every week there is also a jewelry giveaway as a thank you for voting!
What is your favorite way to give back?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.