Opportunities to Volunteer in Harlem - November 2021

November 01, 2021

Last week, Columbia Community Service (CCS) launched the 75th Annual Appeal, an initiative that encourages Columbia, Barnard College, and Teachers College employees to donate their time and money to an annual fund that distributes 100% of funds raised to organizations serving the needs of individuals and families living in Harlem and Morningside Heights. Earlier this year, CCS was able to give $300,000 to a wide variety of local organizations.

In addition to financial support, many of these organizations have an urgent need for volunteers. The need for social services and food relief has risen dramatically during the pandemic and November is a time when many organizations see a rise in need. Give back to your community this month by helping prepare and distribute meals, tutoring, grant writing, or providing communications support.

Current volunteer opportunities can be found below.

Volunteer Opportunities

Arts & Minds provides art programming for people with dementia and their care partners. Learn more at www.artsandminds.org. This is an excellent position for anyone interested in community organizing, public health, social work, medicine, arts in health and anyone interested in making the world a better place.

Role: Promoting the work of Arts & Minds

Responsibilities: Arts & Minds has recently increased the number of programs being offered. They are reaching out to expand their Harlem audience and need help researching Senior Centers, Churches and other houses of worship, and Housing development contacts across Harlem. The volunteer will promote the work of Arts & Minds to community leaders and potential participants. This work can be done remotely at least initially, and later, when it is safe, in person. Tasks may involve crafting effective emails, placing announcements in community outlets, developing social media networks, telephone outreach, etc. Creative ideas are welcome!

Days and Times: Flexible schedule

Special skills or requirements: The successful candidate should have a warm, friendly demeanor that comes across in person and via telephone and email. Excellent general communication skills and a passion for the well-being of older adults are required. 

Contact: Email Carolyn Halpin-Healy or call 646-873-0712

The mission of the Bloomingdale School of Music is to provide open and continuous access to high-quality music education, regardless of economic status, ability level, ethnicity, or religious affiliation.

Role: Translation of Bloomingdale School of Music Enrollment Materials

Responsibilities: Translation in Spanish and possibly Chinese of BSM Fall Enrollment materials, including course descriptions and enrollment forms.

Days and Times: Open schedule; work is needed ASAP.

Special skills or requirements: Facility with conversational translations

Contact: Email Lohengrin Velasquez, Director of Student Services 

Role: On-site instrument cataloguing and storage clean-up for Bloomingdale School of Music

Responsibilities: Work with Events Manager to complete instrument cataloging of Violin and Guitar closets; rearrange the 3rd and 4th floor closets to free up space for increased cleaning/sanitation for reopening later in the calendar year.

Days and Times: To be coordinated with Events Manager; work will take place in mid-Fall.

Special skills or requirements: Good organizational skills.

Contact: Email Ling Lopez, Events Manager 

Broadway Community gathers around an open table, believing that the feast of justice, dignity, health and wholeness is for all people, especially in Morningside Heights​.

Role: Volunteer for Preparing the To-Go Soup Kitchen Meal

Responsibilities: Five (5) to Ten (10) volunteers are needed to help with basic culinary tasks and packing the to-go lunches that will be handed out, as well as clean up afterwards. 

Days and Times: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00am until 2:00pm; and every Sunday and Tuesday, 2:00pm to 6:00pm.

Special skills or requirements: No special skills but volunteers must wear closed-toed shoes. Face masks are required.

Contact: Email Timothy Wotring, Volunteer Coordinator

Broadway Housing Communities’ mission is to counteract the forces of homelessness and poverty in New York City’s West Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods by sponsoring innovative, affordable housing models that generate educational, civic and cultural resources to benefit both the tenancy and the community. The mission has evolved over three decades from pioneering housing solutions to homelessness, to a more comprehensive community strategy serving children.

Role: Academic Tutor


  • Follow and implement all regulations and guidelines of the Homework Club. 
  • Assist program participants with homework assignments. 
  • Track and report any academic delays to the Education Advocate. 
  • Help students develop self-confidence in performing academic work. 
  • Maintain strict confidentiality of all student information, material, and discussions shared in the tutoring relationship.
  • Assist with special projects upon request. 

Days and Times: Flexible & Remote; Monday – Friday from 1:00pm – 7:00pm

Special skills or requirements: 

  • Working toward completion of a Bachelor's Degree at an accredited 4-year college. 
  • Must be able to work remotely if COVID-19 causes BHC to shut down its offices physically and/or if they implement a hybrid model of homework assistance. This means that the environment should be quiet and free of any interruptions from others. 
  • Familiarity with the New York City Common Core curriculum.
  • Knowledge of New York State standards and test preparation. 
  • Strong academic skills in English and Math. 
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills; being attentive to weekly email updates is critical because they use it to communicate. 
  • Team player and able to develop positive rapport with children and staff. 
  • Strong organizational skills. 
  • Able to work both independently and collaboratively. 
  • Belief in socioeconomic theories and practices for children and teens. 
  • Experience working with economically and culturally diverse families is preferred. 
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish preferred. 

Contact: Email Jael Sanchez

Common Denominator, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002 stands mission-driven to bridging the math literacy divide for New York City middle schoolers in-need, by providing individualized math tutoring and mentorship. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, C/D seamlessly pivoted from a brick-and-mortar program to a virtual online learning platform that continued to provide students with the stability to learn, play, express their feelings and thrive. Their vision is to become the premier organization addressing math literacy in New York City.

Role: Math Tutor

Responsibilities: Use teamwork, games, fast-paced exercises, and real-life examples to help students rapidly improve their math abilities. Work with the same students each week, help assess their skills, and improve in key areas. 

1. The Common Denominator curriculum focuses on fundamentals. Math tutors do not need extensive math experience. C/D will provide training and a detailed math curriculum so that tutors are confident in their abilities. 

2. Math tutors are required to attend orientations and training sessions to learn about the C/D curriculum, operational processes, and teaching methods. In addition, C/D hosts periodic development sessions throughout the year. 

3. C/D tutors attend a minimum of 80% of scheduled weekly sessions. With scheduled holidays, that turns out to be 2-3 sessions a month during the year. 

Days and Times: Sessions are typically 1-1.5 hours in duration. Programming will begin in October and run through June. More session dates and times may be added.

Special skills and requirements: C/D programming may be conducted over Zoom. Math tutors must have a reliable WiFi connection; their own laptop, desktop, or tablet; a working microphone and camera on their device; and, a quiet space without distraction during sessions.

Contact: Apply through the website. Email Hannah Stewart, Volunteer Program Manager with questions.

Role: Program Assistant 

Responsibilities: Administrative Support

1. Assist with a wide range of administrative and programmatic duties. 

2. Serve as technical support and admin for all software, supporting program infrastructure.

3. Respond to all text messages, calls, and emails from parents and tutors in a timely fashion.

4. Provide feedback on presentation materials, edit content, and add graphic elements.

5. Compose and/or prepare correspondence, memoranda, forms, newsletters, manuals, and reports using appropriate word processing and spreadsheet tools. 

6. Keep organized records of student + tutor matches, as well as any issues or celebrations with regard to program participants (students, parents, tutors).

Days and Times: Sessions are typically 1-1.5 hours in duration. Programming will begin in October and will run through June. More session dates and times may be added.

Special skills or requirements: We are seeking a creative and innovative individual with a full range of program development (i.e. curriculum enhancement, design, and processes) experience and a desire to provide rewarding interactions for volunteers, parents, students, and staff. Must be friendly, creative, proficient in Zoom and Google Meet, experienced with Microsoft Office and Google Suite, have strong leadership skills, and a persuasive communicator.

Contact: Email Becca Weng, Program Director

Harlem Educational Activities Fund (H.E.A.F) changes the lives of under-served young people in middle school and continuing in college and beyond through a youth development approach that includes rigorous year-round academic enrichment, social and cultural exposure and constant individual attention.

Role: Virtual Tutor

Responsibilities: Tutors will support students virtually as they tackle homework assignments and prepare for tests while building supportive relationships that will positively impact their academic achievement. Tutors work with students one-on-one or in small groups over Google Meet or Zoom. Subject areas range from Math, English Language Arts, Physics, Spanish, and Algebra.

Please note: All meeting times below will take place over Google Meet or Zoom

Days and Times: (Ongoing through the Fall)

  • Mondays, 4:30-5:15pm - Middle School 8th Grade
  • Mondays, 5:30-6:15pm - Middle School 8th Grade
  • Tuesdays, 4:30-5:15pm - Middle School 6th Grade
  • Tuesdays, 4:30-5:15pm - Middle School 6th Grade
  • Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 pm - High School
  • Wednesdays, 5:15-6:15 pm - High School
  • Thursdays, 4:30-5:15pm - Middle School 7th Grade
  • Thursdays, 5:30-6:15pm - Middle School 7th Grade
  • Thursdays, 4:15-5:15pm - High School
  • Thursdays, 5:15-6:15pm - High School
  • College: scheduled on an individual basis between tutor and student

Special skills or requirements: Some College or B.A. (graduate students in Education are also encouraged to apply). Advanced skills in Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and/or Test Prep; strong work ethic and professional values, strong interpersonal skills, and a willingness to promote H.E.A.F educational and youth development philosophy.

Contact: Email Kelli GoodmanDirector of Career Connections

Harlem Wellness Center’s mission is to close the health gap through access to innovative holistic wellness programs that empower individuals, strengthen communities, and create environments where all can connect, heal and thrive. HWC promotes and advocates for health and racial justice.

Role: Graphic Designer (remote position)


  • Project based
  • Design, graphics, layouts for flyers, posters, campaigns

Days and Times: 

  • Immediate start date.
  • Volunteer works on their own schedule to meet agreed upon project deadlines.
  • Maximum of 5 hours per month.

Special skills or requirements: 

  • Excellent IT skills
  • Experience using design and photo-editing software. Abreast of the latest trends
  • Typography
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills
  • Accuracy and attention to detail

Contact: Email Vivan Williams-KurutzFounder

Lifeforce In Later Years (LiLY) is helping to change the tide for frail elders, many living alone, who often face dire challenges when families aren’t available. 

Role: Friendly Visitor and Virtual Helper

Responsibilities: Help home-bound seniors.

Days and Times: Flexible schedule

Special skills or requirements: Vaccinated volunteers are needed to pay friendly visits, take a walk with a senior, run an errand, or escort a senior to a doctor visit. Technology skills are helpful as many seniors are struggling to use a smartphone, Zoom, FaceTime, etc. Seniors can benefit from technical support in person or over the phone. Spanish speaking is also helpful as some seniors are monolingual.

Contact: Email Paula Seefeldt, Program Director or call 646-734-0182

New York Common Pantry reduces hunger and promotes dignity, health and self-sufficiency.

Role: Harlem Hot Meals

Responsibilities: For the Hot Meals Program, volunteers will assist Chef Ed by packaging nutritious, hot meals in boxes to-go. Other volunteers may pack cold lunches. Both hot meals and cold lunches are distributed to anyone who is hungry, and volunteers help see this effort through.

Days and Times: All volunteer opportunities can be found here: Volunteer Hub. They are volunteer activities in Harlem, Monday through Saturday.

Special skills or requirements: All volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, and wear clothing that can get dirty, as well as closed-toed shoes, like sneakers.

Contact: Email Erin WilliamsVolunteer Manager

Role: Bronx Choice Pantry

Responsibilities: For Choice Pantry (Harlem and the Bronx), volunteers are called upon to assemble packages of produce and shelf-stable items for clients who are experiencing food insecurity. Volunteers are required to sanitize, and wear masks and gloves, which will be provided. There is a hand-sanitizing station in the Pantry, and volunteers are asked to stand for 3.5 hours and handle 30lb bags of groceries.

Days and Times: All volunteer opportunities can be found here: Volunteer Hub. We have volunteer activities in the Bronx, Tuesday through Saturday.

Special skills or requirements: All volunteers must all be 18 years of age or older, and wear clothing that can get dirty, as well as closed-toed shoes, like sneakers.

Contact: Email Erin WilliamsVolunteer Manager

Role: Harlem Choice Pantry

Responsibilities: For Choice Pantry (Harlem and the Bronx), volunteers are called upon to assemble packages of produce and shelf-stable items for our clients who are all experiencing food insecurity. Volunteers are all required to sanitize, and wear masks and gloves, which we can provide if necessary. We have a hand-sanitizing station in the Pantry, and ask that you be able to stand for 3.5 hours and handle 30lb bags of groceries.

Days and Times: All volunteer opportunities can be found here: Volunteer Hub. We have volunteer activities in Harlem, Monday through Saturday.

Special skills or requirements: All volunteers must all be 18 years of age or older, and wear clothing that can get dirty, as well as closed-toed shoes, like sneakers.

Contact: Email Erin WilliamsVolunteer Manager

Purple Circle is an early childhood daycare that serves working families in the community and around NYC. Our program values children’s play and recognizes how play is woven into learning. Teaching is a family practice and we emphasize the importance of connecting home, school and culture.

Role: Administrative Support

Responsibilities: Updating social media, reviewing department of health documents, and school supply orders, etc.

Days and Times: Any day(s) of the week. Purple Circle operates from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm.

Special skills or requirements: administrative and computer knowledge.

Contact: Email Elaine Karas, Executive Director

Role: Grant Writer

Responsibilities: Volunteer needed as soon as possible to prepare grant proposals and support director in letter of inquiry.

Days and Times: Flexible schedule

Special skills or requirements: Experience with writing grant applications and proposals for not-for profits.

Contact: Email Elaine Karas, Executive Director or Laurie Kalinowski, Business Manager

Riverside Language Program offers free English classes to documented, recently-arrived immigrants, asylees and refugee adults currently living in New York City.

Role: Language Lab Volunteer

Responsibilities: Language Lab Volunteers are conversation partners for the ESL students. They help facilitate conversations with English Language learners in small, informal groups. This helps students gain confidence and fluency as they learn English. The conversation topics are about every day topics. 

Days and Times: Labs take place Monday through Friday for one and half hours.

Special skills or requirements: No special skills are needed. However, all volunteers must attend an orientation session.

Contact: Email Lynda Metmer

The Reading Team helps young children at high risk of reading failure to become strong and enthusiastic readers, writers, listeners, and speakers and to develop the skills, habits, and enjoyment of reading that will support their success in school and in life. Since opening its doors in 2001, they have helped more than 13,000 children achieve substantial and lasting academic progress.

Role: Fundraising Researcher

Responsibilities: The Reading Team seeks a volunteer with an interest in nonprofit fundraising and strategy to prepare brief research reports on potential foundation funders, as well as to undertake research on individuals who may be interested in supporting our work as donors and/or board members.

Days and Times: This work can be done remotely and according to the volunteer's schedule.

Special skills or requirements: This would be a suitable volunteer role for someone with previous experience doing research online. We seek a volunteer with clear and accurate writing who knows how to work in a spreadsheet such as Excel or Google Sheets.

Contact: Email Dana Points, Executive Director

Role: Digital Communications Manager

Responsibilities: Develop social-media calendar and posts for the Reading Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Monitor and respond as needed to posts on our social channels. Engage on social media with other individuals and brands who promote reading, literacy, early-childhood education. 

Days and Times: Flexible; option to work in our office or remotely. 

Special skills or requirements: The ideal volunteer is an experienced user of social media with excellent writing/spelling/grammar. Previous experience planning and posting on behalf of a brand is helpful; familiarity with Squarespace is a plus but not essential. 

Contact: Email Dana Points, Executive Director

Triple F Empowerment’s mission is to inspire, empower and encourage the young people of Harlem to pursue education and careers in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) fields.

RoleRemote Instruction Support Volunteer(s)

Responsibilities: The individual(s) will provide support during remote instruction sessions by joining video conferences and participating in the science activity.

Days and Times: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and/or Saturday afternoons from 2:30-5:00pm. One person can commit to all four days or multiple volunteers can work together to fill the position. 

Special skills or requirements: Volunteer (s) must be fluent in remote learning tools; Zoom and Google Meet. This position is ideal for someone interested in learning how youth programs are operated during this time of social distancing.

Contact: Email Stephanie E. Farmer

WANA Community Center provides support, advocacy and resources to: (1) people seeking safety from oppression and/or bigotry, (2) people facing the debilitating consequences of poverty, including food insecurity, and (3) people facing economic hardship, including housing insecurity.

Role: The WANA Food Programs offer space for volunteers to attend their weekly food pantry and mobile soup kitchen. The shelter for asylum seekers relies on volunteers to support the shelter overnight and help their case management team show clients how to get to appointments and translate whenever needed.

Responsibilities: The WANA community depends on its vibrant, diverse volunteers. From celebrating personal milestones, to making meals together, to tutoring guests in English, and building friendships, not just service opportunities. All of the programs offer space for volunteers with varying responsibilities. If you have a talent, passion, or skill to share, they would love to engage with you! 

Days and Times: In-person and remote volunteer responsibilities are available during the following days and times:

  • Everyday Overnight Shelter Volunteer, Monday through Friday, 8:00p.m.-7:00a.m.
  • Mondays Client Choice Food Pantry Volunteer, Mondays, 4:00p.m.-6:00p.m.
  • Friday Movie Night and Hot Meal Soup Kitchen Volunteer, Saturdays, 5:00p.m.-9:00p.m.
  • Saturday Homeless Outreach and Mobile Soup Kitchen Volunteer, Saturdays, 12:00p.m.-2:00p.m
  • Saturday Homeless Outreach and Mobile Soup Kitchen Driver, Saturdays, 12:00p.m.-2:00p.m
  • On Call Translator Available via Appointment
  • On Call NYC Guide (Support clients by traveling with them to and from essential appointments) Available via Appointment

Contact: Please fill out this: Volunteer Form

The Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation (WHGF) has provided gymnastics programs for youth ages 3-17 for more than 17,000 children through community gymnastics classes, summer camp, competitive teams and sports clinics.

Role: Archive Specialist

Responsibilities: Specialist will build and manage an archival repository of WHGF hard copy and digital records; provide administrative archive support; oversee records management; contribute to the development, implementation, update, and documentation of policies and workflows related to digital archives and preservation.

Days and Times: Monday through Friday from 10:00am until 6:00pm

Special skills or requirements: Proficiency in Google Suite, Mac, Microsoft

Contact: Email Jocelyn Perusina or call 212-316-0315