Ann Corry, Deputy Executive Director of Fundraising, New York Cares says fees help to support costs of managing volunteers. Photo by Rakeesha Wrigley

by Rakeesha Wrigley

Volunteering on their own dime was just fine for 4,000 volunteers working on education, recreation and painting projects throughout the city yesterday. During its 23rd annual fundraising event, New York Cares charged volunteers $25 to participate in New York Cares Day Fall which marked the start of the organization’s annual education programs.

New York Cares was created in 1987 for people wanted to give back to the city after regular business hours, but lacked volunteer opportunities. They provide flexible volunteering that caters to the volunteer’s interests, skills and schedules.

“I get gratification, happiness and camaraderie, networking with others and working with young people,” said Alero Tetevi. “It feels really good to give back.”

Tetevi is a Title Proofreader at Ernest and Young. She has been volunteering for over 20 years.

Anne Corry, Deputy Executive Director of Fundraising, said the fee they charge helps to support the costs of holding these events.

“Getting out and seeing it (the work the volunteers do) makes you proud and reminds you of why you do what you do,” Corry said.

New York Cares charges volunteers a $25 fee at four annual events. But not every opportunity to volunteer comes with a cost; opportunities are available multiple times per day, year around. A very small amount of the organizations operating funds come from events like yesterdays.

Volunteers were placed at over 70 locations on multiple projects in New York City yesterday. The volunteers at PS 196 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, were tasked with painting murals.

“Please do a good job painting,” Jennie Colon, the principal of PS 196, said jokingly while addressing the volunteers. “I will be going around inspecting. If it’s not done right you will do it again.”

New York Cares has been responsible for painting almost every hallway and corridor in the school.

“Painting is important to our school because the building is old and always needs to be brightened up,” Colon said. “The kids definitely notice.”

During a welcome speech Colon praised the work New York Cares, it’s partners and volunteers have done for her school.

“This is our 5th year of partnership with New York Cares and Ernst and Young,” Colon said. “We are never breaking up with you. We’ve had so many unbelievable experiences.”

Bryant Wang, 24, has been a consultant at Ernst and Young and volunteering for New York Cares for four years. The first project he worked on was a Brooklyn Bridge Mural at PS 196.

“You make a lot of memories with the people that you work with and people that you are doing the work for,” Wang said. “That makes it all worthwhile.”