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Volunteer opportunity description

Organization Profile:

Jacob A. Riis was the founder of the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House. He was a native of Ribe, Denmark, and came to New York City in 1870. Riis's book, "How the Other Half Lives" exposed conditions previously thought not to exist in America. He used photography to bring unprecedented public awareness to pressing social problems through a relatively new medium.

In 1888, Jacob A. Riis collaborated with The King's Daughters, an organization of Episcopalian church women, to establish a Settlement House to help newly arrived immigrants. In the 1940's and 50's, Riis Settlement began to offer programs for residents of public housing developments in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. At the same time, the original Settlement House building in the Lower East Side was sold; in 1950, Jacob A. Riis Settlement House moved all of its activities to the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, Queens.


Mentors will work with The Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), a comprehensive public-private partnership to direct innovative city programs and services designed to address disparities between young Black and Latino youth and their peers. YMI relies on a strong volunteer backing to mentor these young people. Creating positive and strong connections to volunteer mentors can create positive change for the young mentees across various areas.

Through enriching programming, educational trips, and quality time with optimistic mentors, we expect mentees to benefit in the areas of education, health and employment. Programs goals include: promote positive change in youths’ attitudes towards themselves, others, and their futures; assist youth in exploring college and careers; support school transitions and/or new school environments; help youth cultivate an ethic of service to their communities; equip youth with leadership skills.

Type(s) of Mentoring:

One on one; group 


Required Skills and Abilities:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age or older;
  • Sincere desire to be personally involved with young people to help them achieve personal, career, and educational goals;
  • Ability to communicate with high school students openly and non-judgmentally;
  • Strong listening skills;
  • Ability to establish a relationship based on equal responsibility and respect;
  • Practical problem-solving skills and ability to suggest options and alternatives; and
  • Sensitivity to various people of educational, economic, cultural or racial backgrounds.
  • Make a minimum of a one year commitment to developing and maintaining a mentor relationship with a young person;
  • Attend a mentor orientation and training;
  •  Attend ongoing mentor training and support sessions;
  • Keep time logs and other information as requested by mentor coordinator.

Our volunteer needs

We need volunteers who are free at these times


About the organization

Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House

Volunteer Coordinator
Volunteer Coordinator
(718) 784-7447 ext: 133
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