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Giving Back to the Community

February 10, 2009

In recent weeks, President Barack Obama has urged Americans to volunteer their time, in part of what he calling “a new era of responsibility.” In the local area, and elsewhere in the Bronx, many organizations are looking for a helping hand, including:

Davidson Community Center (2038 Davidson Ave.)

The center is recruiting volunteers to help with administration duties and other projects such HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy prevention, budget cuts protests, and the creating of a Business Improvement District (or BID) along Burnside Avenue. Contact Angel Caballero at (718) 731-6360.

Mount Hope Housing Company (2003-05 Walton Ave.)

Volunteers are needed to assist with administration duties and community event planning. Contact Vanessa Matthew at (718) 229-2051, ext. 23. Tutors are also needed to work with elementary, high school and non-students, ages 6 to 24.  These students need help with homework, SAT and GED preparation. Contact Estel Fonseca at (718) 466-3600, ext. 16.

The Harlem River Ecology Center (55 Richman Plaza at the Harlem River)

The self-described “urban nature center” next to the Harlem River is seeking volunteers to help with day-to-day activities at the center such as habitat care, exhibit tours, environmental stewardship, conservation support projects, clean water action events, annual eco-cruise series, waterfront festivals and community outreach. Call (718) 901-3331 or (347) 224-5687 to learn more.

The New York Botanical Garden (Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road)

Interested in horticulture? There are numerous volunteer opportunities at the Garden, many of which do not require prior experience. Past volunteers have helped with gardening, customer service, research, and event planning. Others have taught children about plants and the environment. For more information, contact Jackie Martinez at (718) 817-8564.

The 46th Precinct (2120 Ryer Ave.)

Auxiliary police officers help keep the community safe by providing foot, bicycle, and vehicle patrols. To join, there is a mandatory 46-hour training course and minimum commitment of 144 hours of service per year. The auxiliary coordinator at the 46th Precinct can be reached at (718) 817-8564.

University Woods (near Bronx Community College)

Friends of the Woods, a group of local residents working to improve conditions inside University Woods, a 3-acre woods and park near Bronx Community College, is seeking new members. They are looking for people with an interest in public speaking, relationship building, grant writing, environmental education, and/or marketing, etc. The group holds regular events, such as tours for residents, cleanups, and block parties. Members can help with these too. “There are a lot of opportunities with our group and we are open to any talent that is interested,” says founder Brandy Cochrane. For information, visit www.uniwoods.com or call (718) 228-9309.

Compiled by ARIEL ELGHANAYAN

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