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!
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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 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.