Volunteer

Volunteers provide vital enrichment, engagement, and community for BRC clients

News & Updates

Volunteer Opportunities

The opportunities to volunteer with BRC are many and varied. The examples provided are typical volunteer projects, but new needs arise frequently. Please explore the pages below to find the right opportunity for you.

 

If you have any additional skills or interests that are not listed below, contact us.

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Questions About Volunteering? See the FAQ

Volunteer Outreach

Through a 24/7 program, our staff based Outreach Team encounters many homeless individuals that are reluctant to use services or have found the available resources unmanageable and overwhelming. These clients are provided with counseling, information and advocacy in pursuing services, rights and resources. Every individual engaged by Project Rescue is given the opportunity to access the services most suited to their needs. Outreach Workers utilize every available resource, including BRC programs such as the Chemical Dependency Crisis Center, the Reception Center and the Project Rescue Drop-in Center.

Volunteers are needed to help us continue in our Outreach efforts through our auxiliary Volunteer Outreach Team. All teams are Manhattan based, specifically located in areas with the highest need. Hours are in the evenings from 7pm-9:30pm or in the mornings from 8am-10:30am. Volunteer teams will be comprised of a minimum of three individuals per shift, with a maximum of four to five each. Please note that in order to insure the success of this project, we do ask for an initial weekly commitment for three months.

Food Service

In order to continue to provide healthful meals and snacks for our clients, several of our residential programs and drop-in centers require additional assistance in their respective kitchens and dining areas with food preparation and service, clean-up afterwards and more. The time and needs vary by location so please get in touch if this is of particular interest to you.

Administrative Work

Volunteers are needed to assist in various administrative assistant capacities from taking inventory, filing, document shredding, copying, internet research, front desk reception, data entry, reception and more. If you have the time, enjoy working with others in the social work field, and are flexible enough to do what needs to be done at a moment's notice, this is the job for you. Whether you have a couple of hours to spare, a full day, or if you would like to become a regular, long term assistant, we would love to hear from you.

Movement, Exercise

Are you an experienced Tai Chi, light yoga or a low impact aerobics instructor? Perhaps you're a licensed personal trainer and are familiar with basic work out routines. If so, bring your athletic skills to our clients and assist them in increasing their flexibility and movement! Whether due to age or physical impairments, some of our clients would truly benefit from your expertise and guidance. Please note that this is a very light, low impact session.

Ballroom Dance Instructors

Do you have a passion for ballroom dance? Are you able to convey that enthusiasm, tap into it and teach our seniors? Dancing is not only one of the single greatest means to socialize with one another, but a great way to exercise. If you have the time and the interest to teach others, this is the perfect opportunity for you! Mandarin, Cantonese or Fujan speaking volunteers are especially encouraged.

 

Photographer / Videographer 

If you are particularly talented in photography and videography, BRC can absolutely use your help in creating a library of photos and footage to be used in future marketing endeavors. Whether portrait shots, landscapes, events or staff in action, our needs vary. We can also use someone with access to video taping and editing equipment that is capable of creating educational tools for our clients' vocational training, as well as for marketing videos for the community at large.

Creative Writing / Poetry Workshop

Are you an aspiring poet and are familiar with proper form and function in a poem? Have you wanted to read your work aloud and inspire others to do the same? Perhaps you love to write short stories and enjoy sharing your talent with others. If so, our creative writing/poetry program is the perfect volunteer position for you. In an effort to bring freeform thoughts, hopes, dreams and ideas to the written word, we encourage our clients and residents to participate in various exercises, whether through a poem, a story or even a letter home.

Conversational English Tutors

A number of our clients are seniors who, although English speaking, would like to learn proper pronunciation through social speech training. With the use of newspapers and magazines, we need volunteers who have the time to sit with one to three clients at a time in order to simply read aloud articles, encourage the clients to read aloud, and engage one another in casual conversation in English. This is a great opportunity for volunteers who are currently studying to be a teacher!

 

Computer Tutoring and Monitoring

A number of BRC programs are either directly involved in specific vocational training such as resume writing or job hunting, while others simply provide computer stations for our clients' continued edification. If you have a strong grasp of basic computer fundamentals, such as desktop manipulation, creating and saving documents, cutting and pasting and more, as well as a fair understanding of the Internet and basic Microsoft Office products such as Word and Excel, we can use your skills. Some clients do have a decent knowledge, while others are starting from scratch. Whatever the case may be, we can still use your assistance by answering their questions and showing them the technical ropes.

 

Guest Speaker - Vocational Training Workshop

Have you ever switched gears midway through your career? Have you changed your life's ambition from one career to another? If you've answered "yes" to either of these questions and you are comfortable speaking in front of small groups, we can use your help! In order to assist our clients and residents in their efforts to find employment, BRC provides varying levels and phases of vocational training. One such component involves a presentation by an individual who is currently in the workforce, especially those who have discovered a new passion or skill later in life, hence changing your goals and focus. Topics could include the challenges in keeping a job, what employers look for in individuals they hire, how to resolve work conflicts, how to deal with a difficult boss, and more. Volunteer and be an inspiration!

Individual Volunteer Opportunities

 

Special Events

From time to time, BRC will host, or have hosted for us, special events such as book signings, a fundraising gala, crafts fairs, sporting events and more throughout the year. On these occasions, we need volunteers to assist us in various capacities such as setting up in preparation of the event and break down afterwards. We also require outgoing, friendly and engaging individuals who can assist in other roles such as ticket sales, check-in, coat check, traffic control, security and more.

Gardening

Whether a back yard, a roof top or a patio, some of our programs are fortunate enough to have a space that is perfect for gardening. We can use your gardening expertise to beautify the area through planting, weeding and generally helping us keep the space neat and clean for our clients' and use.

Food Service

In order to continue to provide healthful meals and snacks for our clients, several of our residential programs and drop-in centers require additional assistance in their respective kitchens and dining areas with food preparation and service, clean-up afterwards and more. The time and needs vary by location so please get in touch if this is of particular interest to you. Note that due to space limitations, we are unable to accommodate larger groups in this particular capacity. This is also an ideal opportunity for individual volunteers.

Client Outings

When weather and staff availability allows, we try to bring our clients and residents on various outings throughout the year, whether to a museum, a ballgame, a movie or the local park. In order to do so, we need two to three very outgoing, friendly volunteers who can not only engage our clients and make certain they are enjoying themselves, but also work with our staff to insure their safety and security. Please note that the specific outings will vary by season. Staff will always participate.

Socialization & Recreation

Are you exceptionally outgoing and friendly? Are you able to jump right in and engage folks in conversation? Do you have a hobby or passion that you'd like to share, such as backgammon, chess, checkers, other board games? Perhaps you're great at arts and crafts, crochet, knitting or even embroidery? Maybe you're a huge movie buff. If so, our residents and staff can definitely use your enthusiasm! Socialization is a crucial component of our clients' therapy, allowing them to fluidly readjust to daily living, gaining the ability to communicate effectively, and allowing them the confidence to express their thoughts and ideas. You can help in this capacity simply by coordinating and implementing a Bingo night, a chess tournament, movie festival, card games, arts & crafts and more.

Small Group Volunteer Opportunities

 

Interior Painting

Our maintenance staff can use enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to donate a few hours each weekend, painting otherwise utilitarian, very institutional hallways, meeting rooms and residents' rooms. This is the perfect opportunity for corporate groups who are seeking one-off team building opportunities!

Mural Painting

If you have an artistic background or have a creative and imaginative eye, you can help spruce up a BRC program and bring a little color into our clients' and residents' lives. We are looking for individuals or small groups who can take the time and initiative to create cityscapes, cultural pictures, client portraits or more. This is the perfect opportunity for those of you seeking a creative outlet!

Large Group Volunteer Opportunities

 

Opportunities for Students & Educators:
The Impact Scholars Program

BRC – New York City’s largest nonprofit organization providing caring and effective services and housing to homeless and vulnerable New Yorkers – is seeking motivated and community-minded students to join its Impact Scholar program.

BRC’s Impact Scholar program is a full-day of service learning, where students - we call Impact Scholars - will receive a thorough introduction on homelessness, innovation, and how help build a more compassionate New York City by making an impact on the lives of people in need.

What to expect from BRC’s Impact Scholar Program:

  • Full-day or custom curriculum which can be applied to service learning requirements

  • Presentation and conversation with a member of BRC’s executive leadership to learn about the causes and impact of homelessness

  • Guided tour of BRC programs

  • Custom “BRC Volunteer” t-shirt

  • Certificate of Completion

To learn more about the BRC Impact Scholar program and how to apply, contact you Rick Akin, Director of Volunteer Services, at rakin@brc.org.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering at BRC

What kind of volunteer positions are available at BRC?

Volunteer positions vary widely, from teaching ballroom dancing, to painting hallways, teaching English as a second language or assisting our staff during meal service. Take a look at the brief descriptions below. We're confident you will find something that fits your interest and availability.

Can my group of friends, work colleagues or neighbors volunteer together?

Absolutely! A number of our programs can put small groups of volunteers to work; the actual job, however, depends on the size, the time of day and area of interest. We encourage you to contact us for further information. We would also love to conduct onsite volunteer orientations or setting up an information table on your own premises. Just give us a call and we can discuss it.

 

I'm pretty limited in my availability because I work during the day. Is there anything I can do at night or on weekends?

Rest assured, we understand the pressures a job can bring and we are very aware of limited time and availability. Because most of our programs are 24-hour operations, we do need help in the evenings and weekends. Take a look at our volunteer needs. You'll probably find something that fits your schedule.

 

I have a special skill that I would like to offer BRC but I'm not sure you need it. What should I do?

You never know what we might need, whether it's writing a newsletter, or teaching our clients crochet or needlepoint. Some jobs require specific skill-sets, but others are really up to what you can bring. So register and let us know what you can offer.

Can child(ren) volunteer?

Due to the nature of our client needs, individual volunteer positions are only appropriate for people 18 years of age or older. However, we do welcome high school volunteers as part of a structured and supervised activity. Or, if you are interested in volunteering with your children, we encourage you to contact us so that we can discuss this in more detail.

 

How can I be notified of updates or future events in which I can serve?

Once you have completed the New Volunteer Registration form and have attended an orientation, you will be added to our database and be kept abreast of new programs and needs via email. Typically these emails will be sent out on a bi-weekly basis. When something catches your interest, let us know and we'll sign you up!

I'm interested! What should I do next?

First things first, please complete the New Volunteer Registration form. Before receiving an assignment, we do require that you also attend a New Volunteer Orientation so that you may familiarize yourself with BRC, as well as learn more about the specific volunteer position you are interested in. Once we've received your registration form, we will contact you to arrange a requisite orientation.

I still have a few questions. Is there someone I can talk to or email?

Please feel free to contact Rick Akin, Director of Volunteer Services at (212) 803-5720 or send him an email at rakin@BRC.org