Where in NYC can I volunteer late on week day nights or on the weekends?
September 29, 2010 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Where in NYC can I volunteer late on week day nights or on the weekends? I need people-based organizations (so, not the ASPCA) with work that's not super stressful.

I'm applying for an MSW this spring, and while I'm interested in learning how to operate in a private practice setting, the guy at the graduate school's admissions office said that my application needed to at least look like I was interested in social work. Apparently, this particular school is very social work-oriented and likes to see applicants with a volunteering background.

I volunteer through the ASPCA by fostering dogs at my home, and have helped out many charity organizations during undergrad college, but due to working 50-60 hours a week, I don't have much time or energy left over to volunteer much anymore. I'll figure out how to volunteer on top of my crazy schedule if it means acceptance into this program (which I already think I'm a bit overqualified for, but this isn't the economy to risk it). My job itself isn't high stress, but the hours are really long. Some nights I don't get home until 10PM. However, I have a lot of free time where I can do personal stuff on the computer.

What sort of work can I do? To be honest, I'm hoping to avoid incredibly stressful volunteering because I'm just so damn tired when I finally get home. It seems terribly dangerous to trust me with, say, a suicide hotline, when I'm that fatigued.

Or should I contact the grad school admissions office and see how mandatory the volunteering aspect is on applications? I look good on paper (very high GRE score, good essay writer, strong recommendations) but yeah, no volunteering to speak of.

Thanks in advance.
posted by Viola to Work & Money (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:59 AM on September 29, 2010

You should hook up with New York Cares. They offer loads of low stress, low-commitment volunteer opportunities, and you schedule yourself online, which makes it very easy to work around your own schedule.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:04 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Try this
posted by bananafish at 12:18 PM on September 29, 2010

RAINN has an online hotline you can volunteer for and work from home. I realize this doesn't meet your low stress requirements, but I tend to think that all volunteering is stressful on some level, to be honest.
posted by micawber at 1:10 PM on September 29, 2010

Oh man, you would love volunteering at The Tank. Essentially, you watch some experimental theater or listen to a band or whatever is slated (and you can choose the shows you work) while doling out beer and taking money for the door. Their primary hours are evenings and weekends.

You just come an hour earlier and fill up the fridge, sometimes you have to do an ice run to a nearby bodega. After the show, you pick up empties and do trash. Also, you get tips. I think the only time I've felt stressed there is when I had to open new bottles of wine.
posted by spec80 at 2:45 PM on September 29, 2010

What about Housing Works?

I spent about six months volunteering in their bookstore. They also have several thrift store locations around the city, if books aren't your thing.

I believe there are also volunteer opportunities of the "directly helping needy people one on one" sort (or "directly helping needy people through working on political campaigns and development fundraising", if that's more up your alley), though I'm not sure they're as flexible in terms of time.
posted by Sara C. at 3:13 PM on September 29, 2010

The NYC Chapter of Dress for Success might be a good place. It is an organization that provides suits to disadvantaged women going to a job interview. Women are referred to DFS by various social service agencies. In addition to the suits and career-appropriate clothing, there are opportunities to help women with resume writing and career development. You'd get to work with women from all different backgrounds and frankly, I've found it incredibly rewarding. As a volunteer, there are actually a bunch of opportunities: fitting clients in their new clothes, working with professional development seminars, or sorting clothes on donation days and working a fundraising event (though these last 2 things won't necessarily involve working with clients directly).
posted by saturn25 at 6:31 AM on September 30, 2010

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