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Gay Pride in NYC means a colorful pageant down Fifth Avenue
Gay Pride in NYC means a colorful pageant down Fifth Avenue

Where to volunteer: LGBTQ



RECOMMENDED: Where to volunteer in NYC

Heritage of Pride
Heritage of Pride, the official organizer of the city’s LGBT Pride events, is another entirely volunteer-run agency. The group relies on free assistance to produce the massive march, rally, dances and street fair. You can sign up to staff the events by ushering, picking up trash, collecting tickets and even guiding floats at the end of the march. Alternately, help out in advance with everything from community relations to strategic planning. All event volunteers are required to attend a training session before Pride season gets under way at the NYC Pride Rally (June 16). But the fun doesn’t stop when the season ends—in late July, you’ll be invited to the NYC Pride Thank You Party. (212-807-7433,

Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders
Spend time with older members of the LGBT community with SAGE’s Friendly Visiting program: Volunteers who are 21 or older commit to one year of weekly visits with a gay or lesbian senior—many are homebound, have minimal contact with other gay individuals and have little or no family to care for them. You’ll provide much-needed companionship during one-to-two-hour visits and phone calls in between. A support group held every other month helps Friendly Visitors process their experiences. After an initial screening, potential volunteers are invited to a daylong training session. For those who want to learn more about the program and other opportunities with SAGE, head to an orientation, held once a month, typically on the second Wednesday; the next one is May 9 at 7pm.

Hetrick-Martin Institute
This organization is dedicated to supporting NYC’s LGBT youth through after-school programs and internships. Currently, HMI is looking for help from public-relations, graphic-design and IT experts who are willing to donate their time to producing materials and keeping the HM Institute running smoothly. Those who want to interact with LGBT youth directly can volunteer for shifts as a kitchen assistant or as a front-desk greeter at the organization’s after-school program; occasionally, there are openings for tutors and instructors as well. But bear in mind that the acceptance process is lengthy and detailed, taking up to four weeks: Youth volunteer positions require fingerprinting and background checks, plus three recommendations.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project
SRLP relies on volunteers to carry out a big part of its mission: advocating for people of color who are trans or otherwise gender-nonconforming, in addition to low-income individuals. If you’re a lawyer, you can join the organization’s Allied Attourney Network, whcih provides legal services to more than 250 clients that SRLP assists each year. But there are also many ways for nonprofessionals to lend a hand, including helping with office work, pen pal programs, event planning and even baking. All volunteers are required to fill out an application and complete a one-hour training. Stop by an orientations on the second Monday of every month; the next one is May 14 at 6pm.

The New York Anti-Violence Project (AVP)
The Anti-Violence Project gives you the opportunity to help others in the middle of the night, without even having to leave your apartment. During weekend and overnight shifts, hotline volunteers are tasked with taking phone calls from LGBT and HIV-affected people who are  in crisis or experiencing violence. A 40-hour on-site training period (the next one starts on April 26) covers everything from how to handle a suicidal caller to understanding the vocabulary of BDSM. After that, as a certified New York State Rape Crisis Counselor, you can take the calls from your cell phone—working as little as one shift per month. Even if you’re not a night owl, you can still staff the hotline at AVP’s front desk during business hours. Volunteer orientation meetings are held the third Thursday of every month; the next one is on April 19.

Meet the cochairs of the Trevor Project’s NextGen, a young-adult group committed to fund-raising and communications efforts for teens in the LGBTQ community

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