Spring is finally here! March 20 marks the first day of the season, and more sun means more opportunities to get outside and help our city become a better place to live. Here are some of our suggestions for making springtime count:
1. Spend time in a community garden through the New York Botanical Garden’s Bronx Green-Up initiative or, if you’re in Brooklyn, the GreenBridge Community Garden Alliance. Some great volunteer opportunities are also available at the Queens Botanical Garden and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden on Staten Island.
2. Enjoy a late sunset while learning how to do your own outdoor composting.
3. Grow what you eat and eat what you grow by joining Just Food’s City Farms Program.
4. Find a service opportunity that gets you out into the fresh air.
5. Sunny walks through farmers markets aren’t just for the weekend—see which Greenmarkets are open after you get off of work.
These are only a few ways to take advantage of the longer, balmier days of spring and summer. Have a new idea for improving your community? Create a project on Change By Us!
Citizens Committee for New York City—which supports resident-led community improvement initiatives across the five boroughs—has announced that it is making $100,000 in emergency grants available to support volunteer-led relief groups helping neighborhoods recover from the storm.
Neighborhood rebuilding and cleanup projects centered on the storm’s hardest-hit neighborhoods will be given priority. Citizens Committee also notes that volunteer groups working in city-designated Zone A evacuation areas, Hurricane Sandy-affected NYCHA developments (its Tenants Associations and Resident Green Committees), as well as community gardens, schools, and “Friends of” parks groups are encouraged to apply.
Citizens Committee CEO Peter H. Kostmayer explains: “These grants go up to $5,000 and our grant decision process will be expedited. Groups will be notified of our grant decision within a week of application submission and grant checks will be issued shortly thereafter.”
For more information on applying for a grant and donating to the Citizens Committee for New York City’s Hurricane Relief Fund, visit www.citizensnyc.org.
Staten Island was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and many compassionate individuals are hard at work helping the borough to recover from the storm. Where to Turn is maintaining a Sandy Support message board, which is full of announcements detailing where volunteers are needed, information for those in need of assistance, and important announcements for residents affected by the storm. And over on Facebook, the Save Our Shores group frequently updates its page with useful items—questions are being answered and people are finding out how to get involved in the relief effort. Visit them here.
New York has experienced an inspiring outpouring of support as the City continues to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, but there is still much to be done. Looking to help New York City emerge stronger than ever? Here are three great ideas:
-The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is accepting financial donations which are then dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Find out more and donate here.
-NYC Service, launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2009, is the City’s official volunteer office. It’s easy to find out how you can help New Yorkers in need after Hurricane Sandy by visiting the office online here.
-The New York Blood Center is in need of donations. Hurricane Sandy had a tremendous impact on the blood supply in New York City. Find out where you can give blood to help end the shortage here.
Red Hook Initiative stands tall as a leader in helping the Southern Brooklyn community recover from Hurricane Sandy. This terrific youth development organization has been enlisting volunteers to distribute food and other necessities, and has spearheaded an amazing supply donations effort. Their great work continues to help residents in need; read more and learn how to lend your support here.
596 Acres—a fantastic organization that helps communities across New York City transform vacant public land into sustainable neighborhood resources—has been doing great work assisting the Rockaways to rebuild and recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. They have partnered with UnLocal, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, and the Gowanus Studio Space to bring food, medical care, legal assistance, much-needed supplies, and more to residents that were among the hardest hit by the storm. Learn more and find out how you can get involved here.
Are you looking for volunteer opportunities and CBU events taking place near you? Check out the new Events Calendar by clicking “Calendar” at the top of the CBU homepage. You’ll find listings for CBU project-hosted events taking place all over the City – and you might even discover a new project that you want to get involved with. Head over here and take a look at all the great things that CBU’ers across New York are working on.
Two of our CBU projects have joined Love Your Block to beautify and improve their neighborhoods, and their block-rejuvenation events are taking place this weekend. Join Unify and Beautify West 150th Street for a planting, cleaning, and mulching event between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway, and visit Harlem’s Rock Your Block for a tree planting, care, and stewardship workshop. These are terrific opportunities to make a huge impact on Upper Manhattan, and will help us make New York City greener and greater – one block at a time. And don’t forget to check out the Love Your Block website to learn more about this initiative of NYC Service and Citizens Committee for New York City and to get involved with projects like these in your area.
Our friends at ioby have gone national! The previously New York City-only crowdsourced fundraising site is now serving the entire United States, so environmental projects everywhere take note – now’s your chance to make an even bigger impact on your community. With ioby, community-led environmental projects can seek funding from their surrounding communities via micro-donations. So far, the site has helped raise more than $250,000 for projects in New York alone, and volunteers have committed more than 50,000 hours to hundreds of different projects. Congratulations to Erin Barnes and the entire ioby team on this terrific expansion.
The MillionTreesNYC 2012 Spring Tree Giveaways begin today, and we can’t wait to see how New Yorkers across the five boroughs will make their neighborhoods greener. There are only a few easy rules to remember, too – trees have to be planted on private property (not along sidewalks or streets) within the five boroughs, and must be properly maintained. There’s also a one tree per-household limit. The giveaways happen at different times and in different locations throughout the City, so take a look at the calendar here and see which event works best for you.