Volunteer: Make a Difference While Having Fun
Volunteers are a vital part of achieving our mission to help young people to maximize their full potential by providing residential, educational, clinical and recreational services that create and nurture connections to the community and the natural world.
We have a variety of volunteer opportunities to match your interests, passions and expertise. Whether you want to help take care of our farm animals or wildlife, tend to our farm and gardens or spend time with a child with special needs, we have an opportunity for you.
All that we ask is that you give us a long-term commitment (usually a minimum of weekly for six months) and are willing and excited to learn and help. Previous experience is not necessary and all training is provided. Please note that we require volunteers be at least 21 years old.
We hope your volunteer experience is rewarding and that you leave each day knowing you’ve made a difference. Whether it is helping with our children and animals, or helping our gardens grow, volunteers are a vital part of the Green Chimneys community.
Volunteers Match Their Skills to the Needs at Green Chimneys
Explore the possibilities within the following three categories:
- Mentoring students: Make a difference in the life of a child with special needs. Spend a weekday afternoon or a couple of hours on a weekend with our residential students – play games, help with homework and farm tasks, share your hobbies and interests and watch as your presence becomes a valued part of their day and has an impact that can last a lifetime.
- Tutoring students: Help our students overcome academic challenges by sharing your knowledge, expertise and patience. Work with teachers to create a plan to complement the student’s classes and provide extra help and guidance where needed.
- Recreation: Do you have a passion for the outdoors, leisure skill or a hobby that you would like to share with our children? Do you have expertise in boating, climbing or have experience on a high ropes course? Share your interests and knowledge with our students and help them to have fun while developing a passion for the outdoors and acquiring skills that can lead to future success.
- Community-Based Services: Located in the Village of Brewster, our Community Outreach Center is the primary location for activities and support for local youth. The Center offers free after-school, evening and weekend activities; intervention and prevention programs; and counseling services. Intervention and crisis services for teens, particularly at risk, include street outreach and a temporary youth shelter. Volunteers are needed at the Outreach Center to spend time with the kids, help with homework, play games and serve as a much-needed positive role model.
- Nature’s Nursery Preschool: Volunteers at our community preschool spend their time assisting preschool classes throughout the day by leading art projects, playing a sport, reading stories or leading the children on a walk around the farm. Volunteers should have a desire and willingness, as well as the physical capability, to spend time with 3-4 year olds. Volunteers are needed throughout the day, with the greatest need from 2:30-4:30pm.
- Farm & Wildlife: With over 300 animals requiring daily care, the Sam and Myra Ross Farm & Wildlife Center provides numerous volunteer opportunities. Assist our students in caring for sheep, goats, camels and other farm animals under the supervision of Green Chimneys’ staff. Or learn to care for hawks, eagles, owls and other birds of prey and wildlife – help with feeding, training and general maintenance and care. Choose between our Teaching Barn (farm animals), the Wildlife Center (birds of prey and other wildlife) or weekend positions as guides on farm tours for the public.
- Equine Program: Volunteers in the Green Chimneys Horse Barn help care for our horses, including feeding and turnout and assisting instructors and students during riding, driving and vocational services. More info
- Horticulture, Farm & Garden: Lovers of plants and gardening are a perfect fit for our Educational School Garden and Boni-Bel Farm, with acres of vegetable and flower gardens, two greenhouses and more. Help with seasonal chores and training classes, assist our students in caring for plants and gardens, learn how to make honey and maple syrup and become an expert in sustainable and organic farming.
- Model Forest Program: The Clearpool Model Forest is a growing hub for sustainable land management and water quality protection located on our 350-acre campus in Carmel, NY. Programs focus on both traditional land management practices, such as habitat restoration and invasive management, and conservation science like wildlife monitoring and chestnut revival. Volunteer opportunities are available in stewardship, management and research in the forest and provide a great way to gain valuable skills working in the conservation field.
In addition, we offer the following single day and short term volunteer opportunities:
- Family Volunteer Days: Families and youth are invited for full days at Green Chimneys to volunteer, lend their expertise and energy, and have a good time. Families, neighbors, school, youth and religious groups, and those looking to take on community service projects are all welcomed. This is a great opportunity for those under 21 years old to volunteer, have fun and show their support. The next Family Volunteer Day will take place at our Brewster Campus this fall!
- Corporate and Group Volunteer opportunities: Is your work, office or school group looking to give back and volunteer in the community? Are you looking for a new community service project to do with colleagues and friends? Green Chimneys welcomes groups from corporations, businesses, religious organizations and schools for half- and full-day volunteer projects, such as painting, farming, gardening, general maintenance, working with our students and assisting with animal care.
- Special Events: Green Chimneys plans a variety of special events throughout the year and provide numerous opportunities for volunteers to get involved and assist staff in the planning and execution of these events. These events include:
– Annual Gala (May) – Join the event committee
– Birds of Prey Day (June)
– Golf Tournament (August) – Join the event committee
– Thanksgiving Luncheon (November)
– Christmas Tree Sales at Boni-Bel Farm (November – December)
Get Started as a Volunteer!
Have questions about becoming a volunteer?
Contact Josh Lipshitz at [email protected]
or call 845.279.2995 x286