So many people say they want to volunteer in Bushwick. So if that’s the case, why are so many organizations still desperately lacking them? I’m going to be an optimist and say it’s simply a lack of clear communication. 

That’s the point of this article – to provide you, a person wanting to volunteer, with the tools and information you need to get up and volunteer in your community. 

This is an ever-evolving list. Want to submit your organization for consideration? Email Schroeder at Bushwick Daily dot com. 


Clean Bushwick Initiative

Clean Bushwick Initiative volunteers restoring a tree bed.
Image: Clean Bushwick Initiative

Clean Bushwick Initiative (CBI) started over 5 years ago to address the litter issues in Bushwick, which co-founder Nicole De Santis says are “abundant and complicated.” Since then, CBI has gone in a number of different directions, including partnering with other community groups, local politicians, residents and business owners to educate the community on issues related to sustainability, recycling, tree and rain garden care, litter mitigation and the value of community work.

What do volunteers do?

Volunteers do everything from cleaning up parks and sidewalks to tree care and rain garden planting and maintenance. The group regularly hosts events with businesses and city agencies to do cleanups, training and maintenance. 

How to get involved

The best place to stay up-to-date with volunteer opportunities is by following CBI on Instagram. The group also posts most of its event on its website


Bushwick Ayuda Mutua

Bushwick Ayuda Mutua volunteer packing eggs to deliver to community members in need.
Image: @gabriel.himself

Bushwick Ayuda Mutua (BAM) is a local mutual aid group that was born at the beginning of the pandemic to provide food and other resources and supplies to those in the community. BAM’s modo is “neighbors supporting neighbors.” It is 100 percent volunteer run and community funded. 

What do volunteers do?

BAM volunteers can do a wide variety of work, including phone banking, social media outreach, accounting, tech support, food delivery and more. 

How to get involved

The best way to stay up-to-date with BAM’s volunteering opportunities is by following BAM’s Instagram. But BAM is always in need of volunteers. To apply, those interested should fill out this form


Make the Road New York

Make the road volunteers leading the Exluded Workers Rally in Bushwick.
Make the Road helped lead the Excluded Workers Rally in Bushwick. Image: Allie Herrera

Make the Road New York provides legal and educational services for working class immigrants and their families. The organization also engages in community organizing and policy innovation with the goal to achieve dignity and justice for the immigrant community. 

What work do volunteers do?

Volunteer shifts and opportunities vary throughout the year. Some volunteers make phone calls or help prepare meals. Others support adult literacy students to develop English skills or pass their citizenship exams, and others provide key support with administrative work, outreach, community education or civic engagement activities.

How to get involved

Make the Road has a volunteer sign-up form, found here. Once signed up, volunteers will receive notifications via email with available shifts. 

Paid internship opportunities are also available, which can be found here. 


North Brooklyn Coalition

The director of North Brooklyn Coalition tabling.
Image: North Brooklyn Coalition

North Brooklyn Coalition is a local organization that seeks to empower survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by providing support services and education.

What do volunteers do? 

Volunteers are trained to provide crisis counseling, emotional support, knowledge of treatments and advocacy of services to survivors of sexual assault in the emergency department at Woodhull Hospital at 760 Broadway Avenue.  

How to get involved

Volunteers have to attend a comprehensive 40-hour volunteer advocate training and make a one-year commitment to the program. Those interested can apply here


El Puente Leadership Center at Bushwick

Exterior of the El Puente Bushwick Leadership Center building.
Image: El Puente Bushwick Leadership Center

The El Puente Leadership Center at Bushwick is an after school youth and development program that focuses on leadership development, arts for social change and academic enrichment for youth ages 13-21.

What do volunteers do?

What volunteers do depends on the time of year and their specific skills and experiences. For example, in the summer, volunteers may help out at the Grove Street Garden, which the organization uses to host a variety of events, from book fairs to halloween events and thanksgiving giveaways. If volunteers have some sort of arts background, El Puente can offer its space and supplies to host a workshop for the community, for example.  

How to get involved.

The best way for people to get involved is to follow El Puente Bushwick Leadership Center on Instagram, sign up for its mailing list and email [email protected] or the program director Luis Minuve at [email protected]


Mayday Space

MayDay Space Volunteers training on direct action for climate justice.
Image: Mayday Space

Mayday Space is an organizing center and social hub that works in tandem with Starr Bar, its “sister space.” Mayday is a progressive neighborhood resource center for events, classes and performances. It serves as an organizing center and events space for grassroots organizations to host their fundraisers, leadership retreats and more. Mayday describes itself as a “gathering place for people and movements to work, learn, celebrate and build together.”

What work do volunteers do? 

The most common tasks for volunteers involve helping Mayday plan and run its programs, events and space. It also “heavily encourages” volunteers to get involved with the mutual aid, anti-pipeline and anti-gentrification groups that use its space to organize.  

How to get involved.

Mayday mostly uses Instagram, as well as Facebook, to initiate calls and inform the community about events and volunteer opportunities. The best way to stay up to date is by following Mayday on social media. 

Mayday also holds orientations and planning meetings on the first Wednesday of every month, which help volunteers and staff get to know each other and build working relationships. More information can be found here


Arts In Bushwick 

Arts in Bushwick Vendors selling at the Bushwick Vendors Market.
Image: Arts in Bushwick

Arts in Bushwick is a visual and performing arts platform focused on providing visibility, resources and support to Bushwick artists and Brooklyn-native artists of color from all mediums of visual art, music and performing arts.

What do volunteers do?

Every year, Arts in Bushwick holds its Bushwick Open Studios event, which gives local artists, musicians, filmmakers and performers the opportunity to showcase their work. To effectively run the event, Arts in Bushwick relies on volunteers who do everything from cleaning up after the event, watching the door and hanging art before the opening to managing tables and documenting the event through photography and videography. 

How to get involved

To get involved, those interested must fill out this form.


Brooklyn Community Board 4

Brooklyn Community Board 4 Chairperson Robert Camacho speaking at Bushwick Daily's July 31 event at DorDor Gallery.
CB4 Chairperson Robert Camacho speaking at Bushwick Daily’s July 31 event at DorDor Gallery.

Brooklyn Community Board 4 (CB4) represents Bushwick, with boundaries extending from Flushing Avenue on the north, Broadway on the southwest, the border with Queens to the northeast, and the Cemetery of the Evergreens on the southeast. It overarching mission is to advise elected officials and government agencies on matters affecting the welfare of the district. 

What do volunteers do? 

CB4 is always looking for volunteers to help with various board activities, such as assisting with and attending events, helping spread the word about board meetings and amplifying advocacy projects. All CB4 members are volunteers who apply to join via the borough president’s website and are appointed by the borough president with a portion of appointments based on the recommendations from local council members. 

CB4’s office is also always looking for volunteers. Because it is short-staffed, the office often puts out calls for local urban planners, software developers, graphic designers social media managers and more. 

How to get involved

Those interested in becoming CB4 members can submit a CB4 Committee Membership Request Form or join a working group.

Those interested in volunteering for the office can reach out to [email protected] with a brief bio, resume, and links to any online profiles or content.


Senator Julia Salazar’s Office

Senator Julia Salazar endorsing Maya Wiley for mayor at Pine Box Rock Shop.
Sen. Salazar endorsing Maya Wiley for mayor. Image: @alec.meeker

Sen. Julia Salazar is the state senator for District 18, which covers North Brooklyn and is centered in Bushwick. Her office sits at 212 Evergreen Ave. 

What do volunteers do? 

Sen. Salazar’s office offers a lot of different options for volunteers. The office has options to help with weekly food distributions, PPE distributions at NYCHA developments throughout North Brooklyn and administrative work in the district office. Also, the office has remote work, mainly data entry, for those who might be too far away or still taking precautions due to COVID. 

How to get involved 

The best way to get involved is by filling out this volunteer form.


Wellfare

Wellfare volunteers preparing to deliver food.
Image: Wellfare

Wellfare is a a new direct-to-consumer food pantry delivering free food and beverages to families in public housing developments in Bushwick, Bed-Stuy and Williamsburg. 

What do volunteers do?

Currently, Wellfare offers volunteers two ways to get involved. The first is packing. Every other Saturday at its warehouse in Long Island City, volunteers help pack pantry boxes filled with healthy snacks, drinks and pantry goods. The second is delivering. Every other Saturday around Bushwick, volunteers help deliver Wellfare boxes to subscribers. Volunteers are paired in teams of two, given a dolly full of boxes and sent out to deliver goods. 

How to get involved

Those interested can signup for Wellfare’s listserv here.


Top image: @erikkantar

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Editor’s note: This article was updated on August 30 to more accurately reflect what volunteers do at North Brooklyn Coalition.


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