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Giving back to your community is a great way to help those that are less fortunate than you. Artists, in particular, should consider volunteering. Teaching others how to act, sing, dance, etc. is a fantastic gift to share with others. Learning a new skill is difficult, and it’s especially difficult for certain populations—like people who live in poverty or have learning disabilities. Below are two NYC organizations that focus on giving back to the community through art.

Free Arts NYC

The mission of Free Arts NYC is to provide children with educational arts and mentoring. Children that participate in the program come from disadvantaged backgrounds. By participating in the program, children gain self-confidence and learn how to express themselves. Free Arts NYC builds confidence in its participants by stressing the importance of self-determination and encouraging questions. The organization endeavors to maintain a 1:3 coach-to-family ratio in order to have the most success.

On their website, Free Arts highlights the fact that 1 in 3 children in New York City lives in poverty. These children are less likely to be exposed to the arts or have an opportunity to practice them. Learning about art isn’t the only knowledge that a child will gain while participating in the program. Volunteers help participants learn about communication, respect, and problem-solving. After a year has passed, the children and families are surveyed in order to learn whether they have grown in the areas mentioned above.

Visit this link if you want to become a volunteer at Free Arts NYC.

Art Start

Art Start, which was founded in 1991, is another popular NYC organization devoted to teaching art to at-risk youth. The organization has won numerous awards and has been featured on various television shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show. Art Start partners with organizations throughout the city in order to connect with homeless youth. Workshops focus on a number of activities such as bucket drumming, painting, and songwriting. Art Start’s goal is the same as that of Free Arts NYC: increase confidence in participants and expose them to experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t get to enjoy.

If you want to be a Workshop Volunteer, make sure that you have the time to commit. You will have to attend an interview and a volunteer orientation. Most workshops last for an hour and a half and take place during the week in the evening hours (4:00-9:00). Art Start offers many different workshops, so you should pick one that aligns with your interests.

To learn more about all of Art Start’s available opportunities, visit this link.

While this post focused on just two NYC volunteer organizations, there are many others out there that focus on art. The NYC-Arts website is a good resource for volunteer opportunities and ideas. If you have a skill and you want to share it, you don’t always need an organization. In fact, if you’re ambitious you can consider starting your own organization. Or you can keep it simple by organizing a one-time event in your own neighborhood. Sharing your skills and knowledge with others—however you choose to do it—is a great way to give back to society.