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RECOMMENDED: Where to volunteer in NYC
Manhattan Young Democrats
Last year, this entirely volunteer-run group (and the official youth sector of the Dem party in New York) helped 100 young progressives fill vacant spots on the Democratic County Committee, which works to get liberal candidates elected to both New York state and city offices. Prospective volunteers can attend a monthly general meeting and social, while those with a more focused interest can join an issue-oriented committee, where you can tackle topics like social justice and environmental concerns such as fracking. To raise awareness of that process’s potentially negative effects on local water, MYD and Brooklyn Brewery are teaming up for a Save Our Beer event on April 30. gomyd.com
New York Young Republican Club
Recognized as the city’s main organization for 18-to-40-year-old conservatives, this association promotes the party’s tenets of small federal government, decreased spending and minimal taxation. In addition to networking opportunities—alums include former governors, Supreme Court justices and elected officials—the group encourages its members to support their own Young Republican candidates. Members and nonmembers are invited to attend gratis monthly socials (first Wednesday of each month) or more formal meetings (third Thursday of each month), where visiting scholars and congressional candidates are often asked to speak on current affairs. nyyrc.com
After young voters failed to turn out in large numbers for the 2000 presidential election, a group of music-industry pros and fans banded together to form this not-for-profit in 2004. With the goal of increasing the amount of registered voters in the key demographic, the grassroots group attends concerts year-round, engaging with audiophiles about why they should sign up. You can work for as many shows as fit your calendar, but regardless of how frequently you pitch in, you’ll be expected to follow the group’s nonpartisan and sobriety policies. Leadership volunteer positions are also open, but require a bigger commitment. headcount.org
Sometimes the hardest obstacle to affecting change is getting past legal and bureaucratic hassles. This nonprofit aims to cut through the governmental rigmarole and tweak regulatory practices as a way to rebuild legal structures and bring fairness back to our society. You can take up the cause by calling in to radio talk shows, attending town hall meetings and speaking to legislators in other public forums to prompt discussions about reform initiatives. The group’s focus this year is Start Over, a movement it kicked off last year to organize support for overhauling the country’s authority structure. commongood.org