Children's Causes

The After-School Corporation
Partially funded by George Soros's Open Society Institute, TASC works to implement and improve after-school programs around New York City and State.

Artistic license: Kids get a head start on creativity with Art Start.
All Stars Project, Inc This performing arts organization for underprivileged youth holds frequent talent shows and productions. Volunteers can help recruit kids ages 5-25 from Harlem, Coney Island, Bedford-Stuyvesant and the South Bronx for auditions or help man the light and sound boards at the theater.

Art Start

Featuring hip-hop, graphic-design, and fine-arts programs, Art Start targets low-income and homeless youth. Volunteers, many of whom are professional artists, lead classes in their area of expertise, from drumming to short-story writing.

Association to Benefit Children
Among ABC's programs: Baked in the 'Hood, which " has created a thriving industry in East Harlem by producing, merchandising and delivering elegantly packaged baked goods as corporate and individual gifts."

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Nearly a century old, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC provides long-term one-on-one mentoring for 7- to 17-year-old kids from single-parent families and underserved communities. Donations go toward matching kids with volunteers, who mentor children in schools and the juvenile-justice system or are assigned "littles" to take on cultural, educational, and recreational outings.

Camp Vacamas

Located in the foothills of New Jersey's Ramapo mountains less than an hour from Manhattan, the camp offers an escape for kids from low- to moderate-income families, with fees based according to need.

Children's Aid Society

The Children's Aid Society strives to improve the lives of the 120,000 families it serves annually with recreation programs, academic tutoring, and medical resources.

Computers for Youth
Every two weeks, devote half your Saturday to teaching computer basics to students and parents of low-income, public middle schools in Canarsy and East Harlem (in December).

Fresh Youth Initiatives

A Washington Heights-based initiative to foster the community service spirit through programs with neighborhood kids.

More than playing ball: New York Yankees centerfielder Bernie Williams reads to children in Harlem RBI's REAL (Reading and Enrichment Academy for Learning) Program.
Harlem RBI
Play ball: the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities project gives a uniform, a glove and a baseball or softball education to 350 boys and girls aged 7-18. The Web site notes that the Grays, the flagship team of the boys baseball program, have even appeared on a General Mills “Team Cheerios” cereal box.

Learning Leaders

Join this educational group’s Core Program and conduct one-on-one or small-group in-school tutorials (a minimum of two hours a week during the academic year is required) for academically underperforming kids, grades kindergarten through 12, at one of 850 participating public schools. Or opt for the Art Works program—volunteers take third-graders to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lower Eastside Girls Club

The club fosters all kinds of activities for girls 8-18, including photography, book groups, and baking.

Make-a-Wish Foundation
Make-a-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. The program was founded 22 years ago after a terminally ill boy in Arizona -- who dreamed of being a state trooper -- inspired his community to get him a motorcycle and a tiny uniform and arrange for him to spend one day on patrol.

Mentoring USA

From playing with younger kids to helping older kids shape their goals, this organization helps put role models in touch with youth. Read more.

New Yorkers for Children
The nonprofit arm of the city's Administration for Children's Services accepts financial donations to help foster children get through tough transitions.

Established in 1995, PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning) is an educational nonprofit that encourages the private sector to get involved in the city's public schools. Their Principal for a Day program invites celebs and CEOs to visit schools and create partnerships with them, like providing management advice or starting scholarship funds. All proceeds target specific school needs, ranging from library books to refurbished playgrounds.

Project Reach Youth
Serving neighborhoods in Brooklyn, PRY provides education, counseling, and youth leadership development programs to help low-income children and youth.

Safe Space
The former Center For Children + Families works to serve kids in neighborhoods with the highest rates of abuse, poverty, and other threats to young people.

Seeds of Peace
Donate $2,500 and send a teenager to the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine, where regular camp-like activities are supplemented by non-violent conflict resolution workshops. Foreign campers from regions of conflict join their American hosts. Smaller donations welcome as well.

Volunteers spend one afternoon a week at the Harvard Club or Columbia University teaching reading, math, and the like to Harlem middle-school and high-school students, followed by an hour of squash. (Volunteers can help academically, athletically, or both.)

Student Sponsor Partners
SSP selects students from low-income families and transfers them from high schools with low graduation rates to schools with high ones (nineteen of the twenty participating institutions are Catholic). Sponsors pay an average of $2,200 toward the typical yearly tuition of $4,200 per child and spend time with the students four to six times a year. So-called Time Sponsors can donate $250 and meet with a child regularly.

Variety—the Children's Charity
Kids' charities may not be able to create a carefree childhood, but they can supply necessary aid and programs for the city's children in need. Variety — the Children's Charity funds pediatric services in inner-city hospitals, special-education programs, and after-school activities.