All posts tagged: Volunteer

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Why I Took a Trip to Greece to Help Syrian Refugees

Only once — when an overcrowded night ferry backed into Gate E7 at Athens’ Port of Piraeus — did my emotions consume me. My breath grew fast and shallow. I squinted through my tears and stammered, “There are so many of them. There are just so many.” There were more than 2,000 refugees on that ferry alone, 35 percent of them children. As a volunteer with the nonprofit Carry the Future, my job was to approach arriving families with babies and toddlers and offer them free baby carriers to ease their journey along the Balkan Route to Western Europe. The families I met were primarily Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans bound for Germany — as long as the borders stayed open. Over the course of their journey, they would cover 1,000 miles on buses, trains and foot. A structured backpack-style carrier or a cozy infant pouch would make an enormous difference to those toting children along with garbage bags and duffels of their belongings. There are just so many. “One baby at a time. That’s all …

Music Collage

The TueDo List: Turkey Trotting, Lost in Music and Getting (and Giving) Help

Clockwise from top left: Wilco, One Direction and Jason Isbell This weekend will be frenetic for most of the United States, with Thanksgiving travel plans and Black Friday looming on the horizon. And if you’re like me, you’re settling into that time-honored tradition of complaining about the cold. As an alternative, let’s look at some of the fun things this weekend has in store. Lost in Music Shh, don’t tell — I actually like One Direction, so let’s just call that an homage to my lost childhood. The boys have a new album out, which is named Four because it’s their fourth release. I’m also into Wilco’s four-disc Alpha Mike Foxtrot set. It’s a collection of rare and non-LP recordings that would make a great a holiday gift for a fan on your list. My favorite music news of the week was the bizarre invitation sent to former Drive By Trucker’s frontman Jason Isbell to audition for The Voice. He was a good sport and accepted, promising to wear a bikini while he performs. I’m on my umpteenth listen to his 2013 solo release Southeastern.  Losing Thanksgiving Calories The fondly …

The Scandalous Misadventures of a Highschool Candystriper

In general, I’d like to think I’m a pretty helpful person. I volunteer. I give money to BAM. I’m happy to help you move a few boxes. But due to my occasionally contrarian personality, when I hear the word help, I instantly recall a time when I was anything but. In fact, I think about the time when was a downright jerk. TueNight contributor and Reuters Money editor Lauren sent a request out on Twitter: “Calling all humanitarians! Tell us about your first volunteer gig using #firstjob hashtag”  Tossed back in time, I immediately conjured a red and white-striped 1940s looking smock, the overwhelming stench of salty soup, a long, white corridor of doors and the occasional moan. Yes, I was a candy striper. And while that sounds like a benevolent “helpful” job, my motivations for doing it are hazy and suspicious: My cousin was a candy striper? A girl at my new school did it and she was super popular? My mom made me? I wanted to give back? Ehhh… Lets be honest. At 14, I was more …

How Working on a 100-Year-Old Boat Gave Me New Life

(Photo Credit: Kristy Krivitsky) If you’ve ever driven on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway between the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the Gowanus Canal you know that construction is an ever-present reality. The deck of this elevated section of roadway is being replaced with new reinforcement bars, concrete, wooden timbers and metal sheeting because it’s basically falling apart. I know this not because I’m an engineer or a construction worker, but because I collected piles and piles of scrap wood from the site as part of a volunteer job I had for five months. After being unemployed for the better part of a year, I was desperate to work and engage with people again. Searching through New York City’s government volunteer website I found a museum on a barge docked in Red Hook, Brooklyn that was looking for a museum docent. As a lover of that neighborhood and boats, it felt potentially like the perfect place to be. On top of that, I had recently been raped and needed to normalize my life. The water felt like a natural …

11 Systems to Help Victims of Sandy

[photo: Aly left, aka @alywalansky and Allie aka @dearstormer during Aly’s Park Slope Beauty Bounty stoop sale] It’s 8 a.m., the hour formerly known 9 a.m., and I’m catching a taxi to Target to get blankets, batteries, flashlights. I’m attempting to meet Congregation Beth Elohim‘s  deadline of 10 a.m. – that’s when volunteers are loading up and driving out to the Rockaways, Staten Island, and other coastal spots devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The taxi driver, who seems particularly conversational, asks me what I’m up to today. I tell him that I’m shopping for supplies for folks in the Rockaways. He looks back at me, “I live in the Rockaways…” He says, “Thank you so much… “ “How are you doing?” I ask. “I haven’t been able to work until today. We haven’t seen any of the news. Our house was flooded and…” He doesn’t finish and I don’t want to press him further. I’m not a congregant at Beth Elohim, but it’s only a few blocks away in Park Slope and it’s a very organized, concerted effort. …