Volunteers wanted to spruce up public areas

After a harsh winter, New York Cares is seeking individuals ages 12 and up to participate in their citywide spring volunteer event, the 17th Annual Hands on New York Day.

Thousands of volunteers will help revitalize 75 parks, gardens, playgrounds, community centers and schools. The event is a serve-a-thon where participants fundraise and ask others to donate money on behalf of the time they spend volunteering.

Those involved will work on a number of green projects such as gardening, removing winter debris and painting. Volunteers will help make spaces of relaxation and community growth cleaner and ready for summer. Money raised will help support the cost of the event and New York Cares’ 11,000 year-round volunteer programs.

The event, run by the city’s largest volunteer organization, New York Cares, occurs every April with each year mobilizing 53,000 volunteers to help 400,000 New Yorkers in need. The event is also sponsored by HSBC Bank, USA, NA.

For every dollar donated, New York Cares donates $6 in service to the community through their various volunteer programs. Donations help serve meals to hungry and homebound New Yorkers, provide adult immigrants study material to prepare for the U.S. citizenship exam and provide books and supplies to children in an Early Morning Reading Program.

As incentives for fundraising, individuals who raise the most money overall, at least $4,000 for the grand prize and a minimum of $2,000 for the 2nd prize, could win either one or two round-trip airline tickets courtesy of JetBlue Airways. Other prizes include an iPod Nano with Multi-Touch and those who raise at least $150 by May 6, will be entered in a raffle to win a JetBlue Airways round-trip ticket.

The event will take place Saturday, April 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning with orientation and project assignments and stopping midday for lunch. The registration fee is $20 per person and a parent or guardian must accompany volunteers under 18.

Volunteers can register as individual participants, create a group with others or join over 40 existing groups. Once registered, participants will be assigned a location in the five boroughs where site leaders will be in charge of assigning tasks.

For more information about the event, how to donate and to register as a volunteer, visit www.handsonnewyorkday.org.

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