It’s that time of year again. Kicked off by the inevitable pumpkin craze in October, the holiday season fills the last three months of the year with joy and celebration. However, for some people, the holiday season can bring some challenges. Mayo Clinic explains “The holiday season often brings unwanted guests - stress and depression. And it’s no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands…”1
Holiday burnout, heightened job stresses, and difficulties with family are just a few reasons fellow New Yorkers may be struggling through these celebratory months. Volunteering with a local organization can help your fellow New Yorkers feel less stressed and appreciated during the holiday season. Spread some holiday cheer by giving back with these holiday volunteer opportunities in NYC.
Explore Holiday Volunteer Opportunities in NYC
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The 10th leading cause of death for Americans, suicide, is a major health problem in our country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the idea that suicides are more frequent during the winter holidays is actually a myth. However, a noticeable peak in the fall months is evident.2 Going into the holidays, many families are struggling with the loss of loved ones and could use additional support.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) exists to raise awareness of suicidal behavior, offer a safe space for those considering suicide to seek help, and fund research to end the epidemic. Throughout the year, the AFSP hosts a variety of community events. On November 23, International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day brings together thousands of individuals who are grieving the loss of a loved one because of suicide to hear a message of growth, resilience, and hope.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City
The holiday season means schools are out. For some kids, this can be a lonely time, especially if parents or guardians have to work. During less structured times of the years, the opportunities for misbehavior increase. Without a positive role model in their life, impressionable youth may find themselves in difficult circumstances due to peer pressure. In a five-year study sponsored by Big Brother Big Sisters Canada, they discovered that children with mentors had fewer behavioral issues, increased confidence, and less susceptible to peer pressure, among other positive traits.3
Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC seeks to provide consistent mentoring to local youth seeking adversity. In New York alone, BBBS connects more than 5,000 youth with adult mentors, or Bigs, every year. Each Big volunteers their time at least twice a month to ensure youth have a positive role model to look up to - all year round.
Reading stories are a fundamental part of holiday culture. Regardless of which holiday you observe, our celebrations are rooted in stories. When someone thinks of the holiday season, they might envision memories of family, friends, and loved ones sitting around a fireplace or a dining room table sharing riveting tales of years past, or maybe even reading a traditional holiday story.
Reading Partners mobilizes volunteers to tutor and mentor students in underserved schools and communities to help them build confidence, literacy skills, and a love of learning. Volunteers commit to just one hour a week and are provided with a proven, structured curriculum to help students learn the skills they need to become proficient readers.
Figure Skating in Harlem
Harvard Health Publishing states that keeping children active is a positive way to manage your child’s anxiety during the holiday season.4 While true all-year-round, especially when schools are on break, finding a consistent, physical activity to focus energy on throughout the year.
Founded in 1997, Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) combines the power of education with the artistic disciplines of figure skating to empower young girls of color with the skills and foundations to transform their lives and grow in confidence. In addition to tutors and skating instructors, FSH is always looking for volunteers to host informational workshops in careers, financial literacy, fitness and nutrition, study skills, and more.
The holiday season should be a time of celebration. For some, that joy-filled spirit is suppressed under the weight of loss, loneliness, and stress. Help make a fellow New Yorker’s holiday season that much better by getting involved with one of these holiday volunteer opportunities in NYC.
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