Navigating a Tough Economy: Giving Back and Gaining Skills

Jul 21, 2009

Every so often I come across a cool volunteer organization in need of help that cooresponds with many of our members skills and interets. Last week I stumbled across Free Arts NYC, a fantastic organization based in Harlem that helps bring art and creative expression to undeserved neighborhoods throughout NYC. No bones about it, finding and maintaining work in this economy is tough, but one way to keep competitive in this market is to capitalize on networking and skill-building activities. Free Arts NYC, a volunteer-driven agency focused on mentoring through arts, provides a great opportunity to beef up your connections and skills all while giving back to communities throughout New York City! Whether you’re a professional artist or a novice you can garner skills in group facilitation, mentoring, and working collaboratively – all while providing NY kids with an opportunity to express themselves in a positive environment. Currently, Free Arts NYC’s Weekly Mentor Program has a high need for volunteer mentors to work with our afternoon-based groups. The Weekly Mentor Program (WMP) is a 25-week arts-based mentoring program providing youth aged 6-13 with regular opportunities to express themselves creatively and engage with positive adult role models. Led by a Professional Facilitator, teams of volunteer mentors use Free Arts NYC’s theme-based visual arts curricula to lead youth through creating and discussing visual art projects – a process that acts as a catalyst, helping youth to strengthen critical communication and social skills and to build positive relationships with their mentors and peers. Time Commitment: 2.5 hours on a Tuesday or Friday afternoon, for 1 academic year (25 weeks) or 1 semester (12 weeks) Locations: East Harlem (“103rd St” 6-train), and Harlem (“148 Street-Lenox Terminal” 3-train) Youth: 10-12 children, 6-8 years old Mentor-to-Child** Ratio:** 1 mentor : 2-3 children To apply and get started on your path to becoming an arts mentor: Or contact Free Arts NYC’s Volunteer Coordinator Vicki Raines at 212-974-9092, ext. 209. Do you know of any other volunteer organizations that deserve a shout out? Have you been helping an organization that needs extra hands? I know three members I've talked to recently found their current gig by volunteering at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and at their local church's new membership welcome party. Share with us some of the organizations you are a member of in the comments and we can highlight some of them!