Too many organizations find themselves in a catch-22: They desperately need volunteers but lack the resources necessary to recruit them and put them to work. Last spring, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Engr ’64, launched the NYC Civic Corps to tackle that problem. The Corps dispatches trained AmeriCorps members to a nonprofit organization or city agency for a one-year term. Each is tasked with developing organizational capacity and a sustainable volunteer program within his or her organization.
“The program is the centerpiece initiative of the mayor’s NYC Service Program, which aims to increase the number of volunteers in the city and target them toward our greatest challenges,” says Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for the mayor.
Eight of this year’s Civic Corps members are recent Johns Hopkins graduates. Each assigned to a different organization, they are working with a range of groups, including Planned Parenthood, Catholic Charities, and MillionTreesNYC, a tree-planting project. Alessandra Szulc, A&S ’09, was matched with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, where she is piloting a running program for high school kids who don’t have enough gym credits to graduate. Szulc hopes to create a model that will live on after she’s gone off to medical school next year.
“It sounded like an amazing opportunity, the kind to grab when you are young and idealistic and feel you can change the world,” she says.
Photo: Office of the Mayor