Best of NYC

By Leslie Rice Hart

This is the time of year we make an effort to follow the philosophy of ’tis better to give than to receive. There are many organizations that need volunteers during the holidays. Many volunteers unselfishly open up their hearts and spend time serving hot meals at soup kitchens to the homeless. Others deliver meals to those who are less fortunate. They have no holiday meal with family or are unable to cook for themselves.

It is indeed wonderful to lend a hand during the holiday season, but why not extend that goodwill all year round? There are so many wonderful organizations that greatly need our help. I am fortunate enough to volunteer for two incredible organizations.

The JCC is an organization that works with the community to spread their help, kindness and expertise. I volunteer for their Gift of Literacy Program. I tutor second graders in reading and literacy. It is fun and rewarding. It is wonderful to give of myself and see the progress of the children. These children benefit greatly from the program. Their reading and comprehension skills improve, and the rewards are invaluable.

For information on how to volunteer for the Gift of Literacy Program please contact: Judy Gross, Coordinator of Literacy Programs – via email or at the following address and phone number:

The JCC in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10023

I also serve as a mentor for BNW-Builders of the New World through the Actor’s Theatre Workshop. This is an extraordinary and rewarding mentoring program.

Builders of the New World is an education and theater program that brings together professional artists and business professionals to provide an educationally enriching experience for 8-12 year old children who live in transitional housing residences for homeless families. A family-style meal is provided by top New York restaurants at every program session, followed by a class with creative training and reading, writing, art and presentation projects. Thurman E. Scott, Artistic Director of The Actors Theatre Workshop (“ATW”) and an accomplished actor, director and writer, teaches this award-winning program, which is now in its eleventh year. ATW provides mentor training and welcomes individuals and team mentors; individuals are asked to mentor in at least four sessions. BNW meets on Tuesdays from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm at ATW’s Chelsea theater facility. The Winter 2005 Term will run from January 18th through March 15th, and the Spring Term will run from April 12th through June 21st. Training sessions begin in early January.

For more information, and to fill out a mentorship application, please contact the person who provided you with this information, visit our website at, or call Diana Windhorst at (212) 947-1386 ext 0.

Originally published December 2004
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