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Poem in Your Pocket Day celebrates poetry and highlights its power as a creative and emotional tool to increase literacy and allow adults and children alike to express themselves. If you have a passion for poetry and want to help spark an interest in poetry in others, there are great volunteer opportunities for you. Below are some of the nonprofits in New York City which focus on poetry, literature and reading skills. These nonprofits are always looking for great tutors and mentors – sign up today and volunteer!

 

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Behind the Book
Behind the Book is a grassroots literacy nonprofit organization working with low-income students in New York City public schools. Their mission is to excite children and young adults about reading. Using personalized, curriculum-based programs, they bring authors and their books into classrooms to creatively engage students with the written word to motivate them to read more. At the same time, they bring a diversity of literature to students who might never have exposure to authors and stories that reflect their experiences, backgrounds, and communities. Behind the Book makes reading something more than schoolwork – they make reading something kids want to do.

Brooklyn Public Library
Do you want to help Brooklyn students succeed in school? Volunteer to be a Homework Helper at BPL! Help students (grades 1 through 8) with their homework in a safe and encouraging environment after school. All volunteer Homework Helpers attend training prior to starting their volunteer assignment. Homework Helpers volunteer a minimum of 2 hours per week from 3 to 6pm, Monday through Thursday for at least 6 months.

Free Arts NYC
Free Arts NYC provides underserved children and families with a unique combination of educational arts and mentoring programs that help them to foster the self confidence and resiliency needed to realize their fullest potential. Through painting, dance, drama, poetry, writing, music, sculpture, photography and other outlets of creativity, Free Arts' volunteers help children and families express emotions, gain self-confidence and develop positive methods of communication. Become a mentor and work with groups of kids and teach them about the healing power of art.

Girls for Gender Equity
The GGE, Urban Leaders After-school program is a holistic program designed to help young men and women, of Central Brooklyn, achieve academic excellence, explore career education and maintain healthy lifestyles. Students have the opportunity to express themselves through our art classes where music, creative writing and various visual arts are taught as a positive outlet. Volunteers are needed to conduct one-hour workshops about poetry or spoken word every week.

Girls Write Now (GWN)
GWN is a nonprofit volunteer mentoring organization that has been matching bright, creative teenage girls from New York City’s public high schools with professional women writers in the community since 1998. Through weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions, monthly genre-based workshops held at Teachers & Writers Collaborative, and cultural fieldtrips, college seminars, and public readings, the program provides a safe and supportive environment where girls can expand their natural writing talents, develop independent creative voices, and build confidence in making healthy choices in school, career, and life.

Literacy Partners
Interested in working with adults and helping them increase their reading and writing skills? Literacy Partners, Inc. provides free community-based adult and family literacy programs to ensure that all adults have the access to quality education needed to fully realize their potential as individuals, parents, and citizens. Volunteer tutors work once or twice weekly with 8-12 adult literacy students and a co-tutor in a learning center. Tutors plan appropriate learning activities and consult regularly with an Educational Center Coordinator. Volunteers are especially needed in the evenings at their midtown locations.

The New York Public Library
The Library's Centers for Reading and Writing provide instruction to adult new students in small groups, facilitated by volunteer tutors who are recruited, trained and supported by professional staff members.
The primary need for volunteers is to be a reading and writing tutor or a technology assisted instruction tutor. Volunteer tutors are important members of the learning community at each of our Centers. Previous teaching experience is not necessary - time and a desire to share the pleasure of reading and writing are. We encourage volunteers and students to grow and learn together. If you cannot volunteer to be a tutor, you could record books on tape, assist students in the computer room, or set up student intake and evaluation appointments and make follow-up telephone calls.

New York Scores
Do you love soccer almost as much as you love poetry? Did you ever think you could combine the two? New York SCORES offers one of the most unusual and successful approaches to youth development and literacy training for at-risk students: poetry-writing soccer teams. By learning creative writing and soccer in tandem, teams of students from East Harlem and Washington Heights, ages eight to twelve, encourage and inspire one another to achieve on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Exercise mind and body with NY Scores as a poetry coach, a soccer coach or both.

Queens Public Library
Queens Library provides opportunities for dedicated individuals to volunteer across the borough. Volunteers assist staff in many areas including tutoring, assisting with special programs and operations, and additional other tasks that facilitate daily branch operations.

Voices UnBroken
Voices UnBroken is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing under-heard members of the community with the tools and opportunity for creative self-expression. Through creative writing workshops in jails, prisons, juvenile detention centers, group homes and various other alternative and non-traditional settings, Voices UnBroken nurtures the inherent need in all people to tell their stories and be heard. It is their belief that the telling of stories and sharing of dreams leads to individual and community growth.

Interested in other volunteer opportunities? Visit www.nycservice.org and check out all the amazing ways you can get involved.