2023 Volunteer Service Opportunity Guide
Service to others and working for the common good bring benefits to us all, by making the community a better place for each of us to live and also by providing those who serve with a sense of purpose and camaraderie through which we can gain confidence that others will be there for us in our own time of need.
To be part of an organization that values service, in its essence, is to address the needs of others. There are many organizations in our region that value service, and the 2023 Volunteer Service Opportunity Guide highlights the work of such groups and help guide people to service opportunities that might be right for them.
The Service Organizations listed here address a variety of goals and present a menu of service opportunities in the area.
A Good Dog Rescue
A Good Dog Rescue, based in Verplanck, provides free spay/neutering for dogs in underprivileged areas and places dogs in shelters that are at risk for euthanasia into loving homes.
For more information about volunteering, visit www.agooddogrescue.org/volunteer
Little Orphan Animals, Inc. in Peekskill
Little Orphan Animals is a cat rescue group serving Northern Westchester & Putnam since 1993. Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and find loving homes for homeless and abandoned cats in our community. We operate an adoption center, which can house 20-25 cats, and a thrift shop that supports our rescue efforts.
Volunteer opportunities include:
* feeding and caring for cats at our adoption center;
* working at our thrift shop – cleaning, organizing and helping customers;
* assisting in fundraising activities, including tag sales, penny socials, and mailings.
Foster homes are also needed for kittens, adult, and special needs cats.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Westchester
Founded in 1883, SPCA Westchester is an independent, no-kill animal welfare organization dedicated to saving homeless, abused, and abandoned animals and to protecting animals, through education and enforcement of humane laws against cruelty and neglect. At its facility in Briarcliff Manor, the organization supports 4,000 orphaned animals and pets each year through its many life-saving rescue and community outreach programs.
Volunteers assist with dog walking, cat care, grooming, greeting visitors, or by taking part in the Golden Outreach Pet Therapy Program. Other opportunities exist for campus beautification, administrative work, or taking in a foster animal.
For more information, visit https://spcawestchester.org
Bethany Arts Community
Established in 2015, the Bethany Arts Community is a space and environment where all forms of art can be learned and expressed. Nurturing the creative process, Bethany welcomes artists, young and old, with all levels of skill, to explore and create art that the community can engage with. Bethany fosters sharing, connection, and collaboration, in an inclusive culture where people experience the power of art to improve lives and deepen their perceptions and perspectives of the world.
For more information, visit www.bethanyarts.org/volunteer
Retake/Remake is a not-for-profit environmental arts organization whose mission is to promote the creative reuse of art materials through its arts-and-crafts thrift store and its community education programs. Since its founding in 2021, the organization has diverted over 38,000 pounds of art supplies from the waste stream.
Located in The Hat Factory at 1000 North Division Street in Peekskill, the Retake/Remake store provides yarn, fabric, jewelry supplies, markers, paper, wood, craft kits and more – all at affordable prices.
Retake/Remake volunteers help sort donations, staff weekend shopping sessions (Friday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM), maintain website and social media accounts, and teach classes.
For more information, visit www.retake-remake.org
Croton-Cortland Food Pantry
The food pantry distributes food through a drive through system on the first and third Saturdays of each month between 9:00 and 11:00 AM in the parking lot behind Holy Name of Mary Church in the Upper Village of Croton.
Volunteers collect food from donors and drop off locations, pack food in advance of the Saturday distributions and distribute bags to clients on the Saturday drive-throughs.
Harry Chapin Memorial Run Against Hunger, Croton-on-Hudson
Founded in 1981, the Harry Chapin Run seeks to increase awareness and raise funds to fight hunger locally, across the United States, and around the world. Among the organizations we support are the Croton-Cortlandt Food Pantry, Croton Caring Committee, Caring for the Hungry and Homeless of Peekskill, Hillside Food Outreach in Pleasantville, Feeding Westchester, WhyHunger (co-founded by Harry Chapin), Carolyn Belshe Orphanage in Mozambique, and Institut Montfort School for Deaf and Deaf-Blind Children in Haiti. For more information about our programs, visit www.runagainsthunger.com.
Volunteers help at our t-shirt pickup events before the race, and on race day, volunteers help in a variety of roles, including:
* helping to set up and take down tents, tables, and chairs;
* cheering on runners/walkers and pointing them in the right direction along the race courses;
* redirecting cars arriving at the high school to nearby parking lots; and
* many other tasks, as needed.
We also need videographers to record and edit footage of walkers and runners and to document other activities at our events to create a post-event recap video.
To volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your name, age, and phone number. Thank you!
The mission of Neighbors Link is to strengthen the whole community by actively enhancing the healthy integration of immigrants. We have found that having long term residents work side by side with our clients helps us attain our mission.
Adult opportunities include:
* Adelante Juntos Parent-Child Program
* ESL Tutoring Program
* Technology Tutoring program
Youth opportunities include:
* Learning Links Program
* Tuesday Evening ESL Tutoring Program
* Technology Tutoring program
* Summer Links
Ossining Food Pantry
The community-supported, all volunteer Ossining Food Pantry headquartered at Trinity Church, where it has operated since August 1988. The Pantry is a volunteer organization that provides a Choice Pantry on Wednesdays and Thursdays as well as Mobile Pantry distributions.
Current opportunities include:
*packing food bags
*mobile pantry distribution
*pantry set up
The Croton Rotary
The Rotary Club of Croton-on-Hudson is an association of local business and professional people engaged in service to others. We are a chapter of Rotary International whose philanthropic activities address the global goals of promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, fighting infant mortality, supporting education, and growing local economies.
The Croton Rotary Club is a group of about twenty who live or work in the Croton area. Many of our activities are undertaken in partnership with local non-profits, which helps us extend the reach of our work.
The Croton Lions Club
The Lions Club is an international service organization with over 1.4 million members in 206 countries worldwide. Lions serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace, and promote international understanding through their activities.
The Croton Lions Club was formed in 1939 and has continuously served our community for over eighty years. Some of our activities include providing college scholarships to local high school students, maintaining a Medical Lending Program (providing wheelchairs, walkers, etc.), supporting the Croton Caring Committee, the Croton Food Pantry and BluePath Service Dogs for autistic children. We also help the annual Harry Chapin Memorial Run Against Hunger, as well as other community based projects as the need arises. Our primary fundraising effort is the yearly Croton Lions Club Christmas Tree Sale.
Hearts & Homes for Refugees
In 2015, Hearts & Homes for Refugees began to mobilize the passion and the goodwill of Westchester communities to welcome and support refugees who have arrived in the United States as a result of danger and persecution in their home countries. The organization seeks to empower our new neighbors by directly addressing their needs for employment, housing, and health services while also imparting key life skills through language and driving instruction, education, and counseling assistance.
In addition to supporting these new neighbors, Hearts & Homes programs create cross-cultural awareness and understanding about the journeys and needs of our refugees.
Current volunteer opportunities include:
* serving as a community sponsor for new arrivals
* providing adult English language tutoring
* providing delivery and transportation services
* helping organize and staff events
Croton-Harmon School Parent Teacher Associations
Information about getting involved in the volunteer activities of Croton-Harmon Schools can be found on the School District’s web site at www.chufsd.org or by emailing individual PTAs:
* Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School at email@example.com
* Pierre Van Cortland Middle School at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Croton-Harmon High School at email@example.com
* Special Education Parent Teacher Association at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, the Croton-Harmon Education Foundation is a private, independent charitable organization that supports the school community through its grantmaking. In the past year, the Foundation has funded over $50,000 in grants to help every student across the Croton-Harmon district. For more information, visit www.crotonfoundation.org or send an email to email@example.com
Croton Historical Society
Since its founding in 1972, the Croton Historical Society has been preserving the history of our beloved village and sharing it through exhibits, books, DVDs, and newsletters. The group has assisted authors, filmmakers, genealogists, students, and local residents in researching a wide variety of topics. Our growing archival collection includes yearbooks, newspapers, maps, photographs, and one of the largest collections of material on the construction of the New Croton Dam.
For information about becoming a member of the Society, including subscription to its blog or quarterly journal, please visit www.crotonhistoricalsociety.org
Visitors are welcome at the Society’s office and archive in the Croton Municipal Building on Tuesdays between 10 AM and 3:00 PM or by appointment at 914-271-4574.
Ossining Children’s Center
Ossining Children’s Center creates a foundation for children’s life-long learning, achievement and well-being by providing high quality educational child care and by serving as a community resource and advocate for families.
As long-term partners with the Ossining Public School system, we offer an innovative, full-day universal pre-kindergarten program. We also offer a complete menu of before-and-after school and summertime enrichment programming.
For more information, visit www.ossiningchildrenscenter.org/volunteer
Ossining Public Library
For more than 150 years, the Ossining Public Library has established a legacy of service, enrichment, and inspiration to the greater Ossining community. Chartered as The Sing Sing Public Library in 1893, the library began as a collection of 700 books in the superintendent’s office before finding a permanent home on Croton Avenue in 1914.
With expansive collections and community gathering spaces, the library seeks to connect, enrich, and inspire the Ossining community with innovative programs, collections, and services. Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the library’s long-range plan is grounded in recognizing, addressing, and celebrating all members of the Ossining community.
For more information, visit www.ossininglibrary.org/support-opl/become-a-volunteer
Ossining School District
Information about getting involved in the volunteer activities of Ossining Schools can be found on the School District’s web site at www.ossiningufsd.org
Current opportunities include:
*My Brother’s Keeper Program (please note this is a mentor program for Men ONLY)
*After School Snack Drive
*Children’s Book Drive
*Children’s Clothing Drive
Holy Name of Mary Church, Croton-on-Hudson
Holy Name of Mary is a Roman Catholic community of believers, founded in 1897, dedicated to know Christ and become Christ, each one for the sake of all. As disciples, we are called to create an environment where we worship God and serve our neighbor.
Our volunteers assist in the office; do yard work and snow removal; and help set up church spaces for special events and Sunday School.
For more information visit www.holynameofmary.org or contact Debra Rago, Parish Administrator, at 914-271-4797 Ext 30.
Croton Emergency Medical Services, Inc.
Croton EMS was founded in 2008 to provide the best level of emergency pre-hospital medical care with the shortest possible response time to residents and visitors of our Service District (Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the Mt. Airy and Quaker Bridge Fire Protection Districts of the Town of Cortlandt) and to safely and quickly transport patients to the hospital via ambulance.
We are always looking for dedicated volunteers to join our organization. No prior experience is required. All you need is a desire to help make a positive impact in the community. We provide all training and equipment for the three roles in our organization:
* Emergency Medical Technician (“EMT”) – responsible for patient care, including the use of all medical equipment and supplies; can also be qualified as a Driver;
* Driver – responsible for the ambulance and its occupants though not for their medical care; assists the EMT; can also be qualified as an EMT;
* Attendant/Aider – assists the EMT and Driver.
Our volunteers also provide stand-by services at various community events, such as street festivals, graduation ceremonies, and sporting events and participate in community education activities by leading demonstrations for local private groups and at public events, such as Fire Fair and the Summerfest street festival.
Croton Fire Department
Croton-on-Hudson’s Fire Department is an entirely volunteer organization that provides fire and rescue services to the Village, as well as the Mount Airy and Quaker Bridge Fire Protection Districts in the Town of Cortlandt. Every year, nearly 150 people, all of whom volunteer their time, respond to over 400 calls to the five fire companies that comprise the Department.
The Department also sponsors an Explorer Post, made up of young adults ages 14 to 17, that provides support services such as gathering and maintaining equipment at fire scenes.
No prior firefighting experience is necessary to join the Department. Training and equipment are provided for free.
Buchanan Fire Department
The Buchanan Engine Company #1 is a fully volunteer, independent fire company whose service area covers 1.5 square miles within the boundaries of the Village of Buchanan. We are always looking for new members!
Active Members must be at least 16 years old and legal resident of the Village of Buchanan or the Hamlets of Montrose and Verplanck, live within 5 miles of the Village of Buchanan, or work full time in the Village of Buchanan.
Students between the ages of 14 and 16 who reside in the Hendrick Hudson School District can join the company’s Explorer Post that is run in conjunction with the Fire Department and the organization Learning for Life. This program provides an excellent opportunity to explore a career in the fire service. Explorer Post members receive a full set of firefighting gear and participate in fire department training and hands-on activities.
For more information, visit www.buchananfire.com, call 914-737-0334 or stop by the Fire Station (3159 Albany Post Road) on Monday nights between 7:00 and 9:00 PM.
Cortlandt Volunteer Ambulance Corps
Cortlandt Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps is a community-based EMS agency whose programs are run by volunteers who love their community and are passionate about giving back to society. In addition to emergency ambulance service, the Corps provides standby ambulance service at community events and through its community outreach program, prepares the community for emergency health situations through free CPR and first aid training. The Ambulance Corp also offers a youth program. You must be at least 16 years old to join.
For more information, visit www.cortlandtems.com
Montrose Fire Department
The Montrose Fire District is an all volunteer Fire Department that covers the Hamlet of Montrose and other areas of the Town of Cortlandt. You must be at least 16 years old to join.
For more information, visit www.montrosefire.com
Verplanck Fire Department
The Verplanck Fire Department is a volunteer fire department and EMS agency providing fire protection and Basic Life Support Emergency Medical Services to the hamlet of Verplanck including the Indian Point Energy Center and the Continental Gypsum Plant located in the neighboring Village of Buchanan.
The Verplanck Fire Department is always looking for New Active Firefighters and EMS Members. Firefighters can join starting at the age of 16 and will be able to ride both Fire & EMS Calls. EMS Only Members can Join starting at age 18 after taking a New York State Basic EMT Course.
Village of Croton-on-Hudson
Croton-on-Hudson Village government offers numerous opportunities to make a difference. Croton is a full service local government, but the Village’s full-time professional staff is relatively small, relying on a small army of volunteers to help make Croton a community we can all take pride in.
Many of the initiatives and projects which make Croton a wonderful place to live were born in the citizen committees that advise Village Trustees and Departments on various areas of municipal concern. These boards and commissions allow residents to contribute ideas and help develop new proposals to improve our civic life. Nearly one hundred Croton citizens volunteer their time and expertise on fifteen Village boards and commissions, some of which play an official role in the decision making process of Village government. Here is the list:
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Arts & Humanities Advisory Council
Comprehensive Plan Committee
Conservation Advisory Council
Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Housing Task Force
Police Advisory Committee
Recreation Advisory Committee
Water Control Commission
Waterfront Advisory Committee
Zoning Board of Appeals
Details about the activities and responsibilities of these citizen panels can be found on the Village website. Appointments are made by Mayor Brian Pugh, so if you are interested in volunteering for any of those, send the Mayor an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAMI Westchester is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We are a grassroots organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals and families whose lives are affected by mental illness and co-occurring disorders. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, support, and research.
For more information on volunteer and advocacy opportunities visit, www.namiwestchester.org/get-involved/volunteer/ or call 914-592-5458.
Open Door Medical
Open Door was founded by a group of volunteers in 1972, and volunteers remain a vital part of the Open Door culture today. Open Door Volunteers consistently demonstrate that when you help one person, you can strengthen an entire community.
Open Door offers long-term opportunities to volunteer as well as one-day events. We value the important partnerships of non-profits, businesses, schools, community groups and faith-based organizations. Volunteers must be over the age of 16 unless accompanied by an adult.
Volunteer opportunities include:
* food distribution programs
* medical practice
* baby bundle program
* reach out and read
* office support
Croton100 is an all-volunteer community-based organization, founded in 2019, that seeks to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions in Croton-on-Hudson to net zero by 2040, achieving a 5% reduction per year through a combination of advocacy, education, and decarbonization campaigns.
Our mission begins with carbon literacy: establishing a baseline household carbon inventory and promoting our Carbon Tracker software. Campaigns include promoting electric vehicles, heat pumps, renewable electricity, and home energy efficiency improvements as well as embracing personal carbon reduction through plant based diets, waste reduction, composting, and gardening.
Croton100 welcomes volunteers to help with all aspects of our mission. We are an education and advocacy organization and we need volunteers to lead decarbonizing campaigns, administer social media, write blogs and letters to the editor, contribute to and manage a monthly newsletter, work with public facilities and businesses, organize community engagement activities, and help with grant writing and fundraising. We especially welcome youth who can help lead education and advocacy about the climate stability they want.
In 1982, Ferry Sloops, Inc. was organized, in the tradition of activism pioneered by Pete Seeger, to offer free sails at riverside festivals that introduced guests to the Hudson’s ecology and encouraged them to become “advocates for the river.” Now located at the Shattemuc Yacht Club in Ossining, the group offers excursions for small groups throughout the sailing season.
Members of the group are eligible to be trained in sailing basics and can then serve as volunteer crew members for Ferry Sloop excursions.
Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center, Yorktown Heights
Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center, founded in 2010, is dedicated to the development and advancement of sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship, community education, and accessible food systems for all. A minimum 10% of produce grown is donated to food pantries and soup kitchens.
Volunteers are the backbone of our organization and increase our impact on our community. We offer a range of fun, hands-on volunteer opportunities to suit your interests and your schedules. Donating to local food pantries is an important part of our mission and we are looking for volunteers to help harvest for this program on Monday mornings for a few hours throughout the fall. Volunteers are also needed Tuesday – Thursday to help harvest, clean and pack produce. Volunteers can also help out at one of our many fun public events or assist in the office.
Hudson River Clearwater
In 1969, Hudson River Clearwater, Inc. launched the sloop Clearwater, a 106 foot replica of the ships that sailed on the Hudson in the 18th and 19th Centuries, to conduct science-based environmental education. Founded by folk singer and activist Pete Seeger (1919 to 2014), the Clearwater has carried more than half a million people on voyages up and down the river to explore the river’s ecosystem and become advocates for its protection.
Clearwater volunteer opportunities include:
* serving as an onboard small group activity leader, living aboard the ship, sailing and teaching young people about the river;
* staffing information tables at colleges, conferences, farmers markets and other high-traffic locations;
* helping organize the Clearwater Great Hudson River Festival which takes place at Croton Point Park.
Riverkeeper was founded in 1966 at the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association to address severe pollution and neglect affecting the Hudson. Today, its volunteer citizen scientists and activists work to insure that over nine million New Yorkers have clean, safe drinking water.
Riverkeeper volunteer activities include:
* participating in the Riverkeeper Sweep, an annual day of service for the Hudson River, when thousands of volunteers remove tons of trash and invasive species from the river;
* hosting a screening of short documentary films to educate friends and community members about threats to the Health of the Hudson and how to address them
* staffing outreach tables at farmers markets, festivals, and fairs.
To explore Riverkeeper volunteer activities, visit the groups website at www.riverkeeper.org; membership inquiries may be directed to Monica Dietrich at 914-478-4501 or by emailing email@example.com
Saw Mill River Audubon
Founded in 1953, the Saw Mill Audubon (SMRA) connects people with nature through free education programs and field trips and advocates for healthy habitats for birds, other wildlife, and people. SMRA owns and maintains eight wildlife sanctuaries in Westchester County, two in the Croton area: Brinton Brook Sanctuary and Graff Sanctuary.
Saw Mill River Audubon has volunteer opportunities in our three areas of focus:
* education, including public programs and field trips for all ages;
* advocacy, including monitoring local issues; and
* caring for our sanctuaries, including volunteer trail walkers and sanctuary work days.
Teatown Lake Reservation, 1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining
Since its founding in 1963, Teatown’s mission has been to inspire our community to lifelong environmental stewardship.
Teatown offers volunteer opportunities for teens ages 14+, adults, scouts, corporate groups, school groups, and more. We rely on 600+ volunteers each year to help maintain our 1,000-acre preserve, assist with special events, and teach programs. Volunteer groups enjoy recurring volunteer activities, ongoing learning opportunities, and meeting like-minded people.
Teens in Teatown (TNT) offers ongoing volunteer opportunities for local teenagers interested in nature. Projects include animal care, education, stewardship, and special events. We also offer opportunities for older teens and young adults to intern within the education and stewardship departments.
Adult volunteers can become Nature Guides, Wildflower Island Guides, Trail Maintainers, or become part of the Stewardship Crew. Both teens and adults are welcome to volunteer during our annual special events, including EagleFest in February and PlantFest in May.
Croton Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness. The Boy Scouting program is outdoor-oriented with emphasis on camping, wood lore, and swimming. A main directive of the program is community service.
Boy Scout Troop 28 and Cub Scout Troop 28 are chartered by Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Croton.
For more information about Cub Scouts, visit www.crotoncubs.org or call 914-419-1785
Croton Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts provides a safe, inclusive environment where girls of all ages from diverse backgrounds develop the courage, confidence, and character to become leaders and make the world a better place.
The Croton Girl Scout Community serves troops within the Croton on Hudson, NY area and delivers the Girl Scout Leadership Experience Program to girls in the Croton-Harmon School District.
We are made up of dedicated volunteers that lead troops ranging from Daisies (Kindergarten through 1st grade), Brownies (2nd grade through 3rd grade), Juniors (4th grade through 5th grade), Cadettes (6th grade through 8th grade), Seniors (9th and 10th grade) and Ambassadors (11th and 12th grade).
A Girl Scout volunteer serves as a cheerleader, guide, and mentor. You will help the scouts develop skills and confidence that will last a lifetime. As a leader, you will partner with one or more volunteers and co-lead a troop together.
Croton Caring, Croton on Hudson
Founded in 1981, Croton Caring’s mission is to enlist the resources of the community to help the frail, elderly, and homebound and to serve families in need of temporary assistance, enabling them to maintain their independence and dignity.
Croton Caring is committed to providing year-round volunteer opportunities for community members of all ages. We provide opportunities that are flexible and fit any volunteer’s schedule and availability. Youth and Adult opportunities include:
* serving and interacting with Croton seniors at monthly gatherings;
* assembly and packing of food boxes to be delivered to food insecure neighbors;
* participation in intergenerational and other community-focused events;
* and adopting students and families in connection with our August Backpack and School Supply Program and our December Adopt-a-Family Program.
Additional adult opportunities include Medical Transportation (which provides roundtrip transportation to/from medical appointments within a 15-mile radius of Croton to homebound neighbors), Grocery Shopping Assistance and the delivery of items to neighbors in need as part of our Food Basket and School Supplies Programs.
We continue to think about ways to engage the community and are continually evolving our volunteer offerings.
Ride Connect is a not-for-profit program of Family Services of Westchester dedicated to finding the fastest and most cost-effective transportation options to meet the needs of older adults, age 60 and over, in southern Putnam and Westchester Counties.
If you have a reliable vehicle, a valid driver’s license, a good driving record, and a bit of time and flexibility, you’re a perfect fit. Join us and help older residents who can’t drive get to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, faith services, and other essential services.