Mayor de Blasio Celebrates 10 Years Of Civic Innovation By NYC Service From Harlem To Hollis

June 18, 2019

The de Blasio Administration, Ruth Rathblott, Executive Director of Harlem Educational Activities Fund and others celebrated today the 10-year anniversary of NYC Service.

NYC Service is a division of the Mayor’s Office that partners with private and public organizations to engage residents as volunteers and national service members to address community and city priorities from Harlem to Hollis, Queens. NYC Service marks a decade of connecting New Yorkers to service opportunities across the five boroughs, and fostering resident-led community change and building long-term civic engagement in neighborhoods. NYC Service has found that, on average, over 1 million residents serve their communities as volunteers every year.

The work of NYC Service is felt in over a thousand community-based organizations, 1,550 schools, 230 businesses, and two dozen city offices. These partnerships deepen and expand civic engagement across the five boroughs, creating more opportunities for New Yorkers to serve and make a change in their communities.

“A decade ago, our city made a commitment to help more New Yorkers get involved with public service and today I’m proud to say that through NYC Service we’ve had 1 million volunteers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our volunteers help clean up our parks, mentor our public school children and provide company to the elderly. I’m inspired daily by their generosity and thank them for all they do to help us build a stronger city.”

NYC Service has inspired people of all backgrounds to contribute their time, talents and energy to help others and make our city a better place,” said First Lady of NYC, Chirlane McCray. “I am moved by the generosity of New Yorkers and their commitment to making this a healthier and more equitable city. There is no challenge we cannot overcome together through the power of service.”

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“Volunteerism and service are fundamental to strengthening civic engagement in our communities,” said NYC Chief Service Officer Patricia Eng. “We are thankful to our partners for joining us in our mission to center residents’ needs, and to residents for their contributions that make our City a better place. We celebrate the service that has united New Yorkers over the last 10 years, and we look to a future of service that will be pivotal in galvanizing our inclusive, equitable, and vibrant democracy.”

NYC Service launched in 2009, making New York City the first in the nation to have such an office, appointing the first Municipal Chief Service Officer, and influencing a nation of cities to adopt a service model as a strategy to meet community needs. NYC Service began as an experiment in civic innovation, turning to the power of service after a national call to action from President Barack Obama. The citywide strategy advances long-term civic engagement by building partnerships between public or private organizations and residents to create sustainable change for our city’s greatest needs.

Over the last ten years, NYC Service has focused on building a culture of service through community-based volunteer capacity building and national service through AmeriCorps programming. Looking ahead, the division will continue uniting New Yorkers in service to advance lifelong civic engagement for a more equitable and inclusive city.

Under the de Blasio Administration, NYC Service expanded its work, recognizing diverse forms of volunteerism to support the power of communities through the Mayoral Service Recognition Program and NYC Volunteers Count report. The division strengthens the capacity of businesses to drive employee volunteers to support high school youth and college-bound seniors experiencing homelessness through mentorship and in-kind donations.

In addition, NYC Service provides nonprofits and city agencies with free specialized volunteer trainings and resources that prepare them to manage volunteers and fortify organizational systems. By investing in generations of New Yorkers through national service networks and youth leadership councils, the de Blasio administration remains at the forefront of civic engagement innovation and accomplishes a new era of public service.

“Our volunteers are critical to the work we do in schools each and every day, and we’re immensely grateful for their continued support and dedication,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “From painting hallways to the Youth Mentoring Initiative to weekend workshops for students and families, volunteers are everyday heroes, supporting our school communities to achieve equity and excellence for all.”

“We would like to congratulate NYC Service, and all New Yorkers for 10 years of dedication to volunteerism,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “NYC Service has acted as an impressive catalyst for civic engagement, and we thank them for the hard work they have contributed to bettering our parks.”

“Residents are our best partners in keeping New York City healthy and clean, and who better to know how city neighborhoods can be transformed than residents,” said Sanitation Acting Commissioner Steven Costas. “NYC Service empowers residents by providing them with the opportunities and resources to volunteer, initiate progress, and take pride in their communities. We thank NYC Service and all New Yorkers who have volunteered in the last 10 years and have helped keep New York City healthy and vibrant.”

“Congratulations to NYC Service on ten years of engaging New Yorkers in service to their communities,” said Cities of Service Executive Director Myung Lee. “Cities of Service grew out of NYC Service 10 years ago and we are proud that the work is still going strong in its original home.”

New York City has been Citi’s hometown since its founding in 1812, and we are committed to investing in innovative local ideas and solutions to help address the complex social, economic and environmental challenges facing our communities,” said Florencia Spangaro, Director of Programs at the Citi Foundation. “Citi and the Citi Foundation’s long-standing partnership with NYC Service has helped bring this commitment to life, and we join in celebrating NYC Service for the critical role it has played in advancing civic engagement across the city.”

“We have been truly grateful for our long partnership with NYC Service and most recently completed our Service Enterprise Certification. Volunteers support our goals by exposing HEAF students to caring, professional role models, exciting career and mentorship opportunities, and ensuring our students are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their college and career goals. Without volunteers, HEAF would not be able to achieve our mission and successfully support our students through graduation,” said Ruth Rathblott, Executive Director of Harlem Educational Activities Fund.

“When underserved college students receive support and encouragement to make a difference in ways they never thought possible, their lives can be forever changed,” said Amanda Dubois-Mwake Director, Community Engagement at Lehman College, City University of New York. “That is what NYC Service has done for the student volunteers at Lehman College, City University of New York.”

“Through NYC Service I was able to be in the trenches and serve my city at a greater capacity,” said City Service Corps Member, Anthony Deng. As a City Service Corps Member, this past year has taught me that service is more than volunteerism, but love made visible. I hope my work will inspire others to serve and volunteer more in NYC.”

“Throughout my service year, I was given the opportunity to make a positive impact for youth in New York City and I have gained more than I could have imagined,” said NYC VISTA Member Tiffany Sierra. “Being a VISTA member is a blessing.”

“The power of service is the power to make a person smile, make a place beautiful, help those in need or leave an everlasting impression on a stranger,” said NYC Civic Corps Member, Jorge Villatoro. “Because the time we spend using that power, is the best time we will ever use to make our City and earth a great place.”

“My Youth Leadership Council experience has been overall unforgettable, said Brianna Gutierrez, a teen from an NYCHA Bronx Youth Leadership Council. “I love the fact that I’ve worked on and carried out our council’s annual volunteer Green Day. We were able to put together a beautification event that brought the community together to raise awareness on anti-violence across the South Bronx.”

“Volunteerism has had a huge impact on my life, making me more aware of the everyday problems people around me face,” said Matthew Bilik, a teen from the NYC Open Data Youth Leadership Council. “The NYC Youth Leadership Program has been absolutely instrumental in allowing me to connect to my community and find ways to solve these problems.”

“For 10 years, NYC Service has been fostering volunteerism and facilitating partnerships to promote local civic engagement in communities across New York City. On behalf of the Bronx, I thank them for everything they have done for our community over the years and their continued commitment to finding solutions to local challenges. I look forward to collaborating with them in the future to build a stronger and more inclusive Bronx,” said Congressman José E. Serrano.

“Volunteers offer an invaluable service to our communities. With their support, we are able to provide more assistance to constituents, cover important events, and have better eyes and ears when they are working. Their heart and dedication help make New York great,” said Assistant Speaker of the New York State Assembly Félix W. Ortiz.

“I congratulate NYC Service on their decade of promoting volunteerism and by engaging New Yorkers in meaningful service to our community,” said New York State Assemblyman Peter Abbate. “NYC Service has been a catalyst and builder by working with a myriad of nonprofits, businesses and city agencies to enhance and strengthen civic engagement and organization and having a positive impact on those being served and those serving others.”

“Service, volunteerism, and civic duty are key tenants at the core of a thriving city and a strong democracy,” said NYC Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo. “Since joining the NYC Council, I have worked with colleagues to engage our fellow citizens on matters that would get them involved in the local community. I want to give a strong congratulations to NYC Service for its commitment to empowering New Yorkers through service. These efforts have given New Yorkers of all ages a sense of duty, and lifted up communities. Cheers to another decade of success!”

“For 10 years, NYC Service has worked to foster the spirit of civic engagement and volunteerism here in New York City,” said City Council Member Stephen Levin. “This engagement at the local level strengthens both our communities and the people who serve. I look forward to another decade of successful outreach and programming.”

NYC Service is a division of the Office of the Mayor that builds partnerships to deepen and expand civic engagement through volunteer and service programs, creating sustainable change for our city’s greatest needs. We unite New Yorkers in service to advance lifelong civic engagement for a more equitable and inclusive city. To learn more about NYC Service and connect to volunteer opportunities, visit

Photo credit: Mayor Bill de Blasio and Ruth Rathblott.

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