May 2020

Please know that I am thinking of you all during this extraordinary time, and I can’t say enough how much I hope that you and your loved ones have been healthy and safe and continue to be so.

This update about some of our Yale Community Connect partners just might brighten your day:
DOROT Caring Calls (NYC & Virtual) — They have been so overwhelmed with volunteers that they now have a waitlist. You can still sign up to make phone calls to isolated seniors, but you may have to wait for the gratification of a conversation. In the meantime, people of all ages can make Caring Cards and send them to DOROT. Thank you to Sam Rubin ‘95 who has been instrumental in bringing Yale Community Connect volunteers together with DOROT.

MS54 6th Grade Academy Online (“6GAO”) (NYC) — We are proud to report that the 6GAO after-school program has taken off and has been functioning for the past several weeks. This unique program offers high quality one-on-one curriculum-driven, teacher-supervised online tutoring sessions to 20 academically struggling middle-school NYC students twice per week. YC Connect worked closely with the incredibly dedicated teacher, Elisabeth Cohen, who designed and runs the program, to obtain supplies, troubleshoot obstacles, identify volunteers, and strategize through apparent dead-ends until we hit the open road. Despite devastating budget cuts, this program is persisting with the approval of the NYC Department of Education.

God's Love We Deliver (“GLWD”) (NYC) — Volunteer preparation and delivery of medically-informed, nutritious meals are two of the activities that help GLWD reach thousands of homebound people with personal touches. While many volunteer slots have filled, some are still available. We are proud of GLWD Director of Policy and Planning Alissa Wassung, who is also a YANA member. For further information, please contact YANA member Victoria Ordin ‘95, who volunteers with GLWD and is happy to answer any questions.

Harlem Children’s Zone (“HCZ”) Writing/Tutoring program (NYC) — YANA member Tom Doremus ARCH ‘73 originally connected with HCZ through a Yale Community Connect introduction. After a conversation we had with HCZ leadership, Tom decided to fund through the foundation he manages, the Casement Fund, a writing program, co-created with HCZ, for high school students. Tom recently learned that one of HCZ's high school seniors recently won the gold key award from the 2020 Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. There were 12,000 submissions for 29 categories of art and writing; the HCZ winner had three pieces selected – one for the gold key and two for the silver key.  Click here to read the winning poem. HCZ has expressed an interest in creating panels of Yale alumni for the HCZ community. Until the Covid-19 shut-down, Yale Community Connect volunteer Darian Marcel Parker PhD ‘13 had tutored HCZ high school students in the college application process.

Mandi Schwartz (Virtual) Marrow Donor Registration Drive (New Haven) — Thank you, Sam Rubin ‘95, for sharing this opportunity, which is a partnership between Yale Athletics and Be The Match. Sam is a board member of the Mandi Schwartz Foundation and a YANA member. We hope this virtual drive -- an easy swabbing and mailing procedure -- attracts many potential donors for patients in need of a match!

Self-Care Department (a new feature of Yale Community Connect!) — Last but not least for now, here is a heartwarming video clip (under 7 minutes — worth watching all of it) from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Director Marc Brackett and Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School Principal Dawn Brooks-DeCosta that offers simple, powerful ideas to help individuals and families get their uncertain days off to a better start. (I've had the pleasure of partnering professionally with both Marc and Dawn, and they are doing magnificent work.)
We hope you can join us on May 9 for the Yale Day of Service webinar on digital volunteer opportunities. We're very excited to share the inspiration for Yale Community Connect and showcase the digital and almost-in-person current efforts that we champion. We expect to learn a lot from fellow participants and connect with Yalies across the globe who would like to volunteer their time and talent to build healthier communities everywhere.

You can find additional opportunities listed below my signature.
Wishing you all ample self-compassion as we dig deep for our "best selves" in this troubled time.


Alison Gardy '88
Director, Yale Community Connect
The Yale “Day of Service” was always meant to encourage and celebrate a year-round commitment to service, so 2020 is recast as the Yale Year of Service, with new virtual sites added daily.

Opportunities with DOROT

DOROT addresses the challenges of an aging population and enhances the lives of older adults through diverse, intergenerational programs and services.

Caring Calls Program

Birthday & Holiday Cardmarking

Doing Good Together

Supporting Families

Jewish Community Council of Coney Island (NY)

Friendly Virtual Visits with Seniors

  • Seeking volunteers to call seniors to check on them & provide company over the phone.
  • Call 718-449-5000 ext. 2212 or visit this site to see how you can help

Food & Emergency Package Delivery

Masbia runs food pantries and restaurants with volunteer waiters and menus in four languages in Brooklyn and Queens.

  • Seeking volunteers to deliver emergency care packages with a higher volume of food to those who are hungry in Brooklyn and Queens.

Repair the World

Jewish social justice organization that serves everyone & offers a number of virtual volunteer activities during this COVID-19 era

Addresses various needs of 20,000 vulnerable older New Yorkers. Seeking volunteers for:

  • Friendly Visiting & Telephone Reassurance Program
  • Virtual Senior Center (VSC) Class Facilitators

God's Love We Deliver

Deliver Meals & Emergency Kits

Sign Up for Volunteer Shift: Meal Kit Assembly; Delivery; Kitchen Prep

The West Side Campaign Against Hunger

Virtual Food Drive: April 23-30

#FillOurPantryShelves: Seeking help & donations for virtual food drive in the form of a Virtual Food Drive to help WSCAH meet the increased demand for healthy food and feed more New Yorkers in need.

Goal: an extra 50,000 lbs of food to help communities who need access to healthy food, including those who are newly facing food insecurity as a result of COVID-19
The West Side Federation of Senior & Supportive Housing (NYC)

WSFSSH is working to support isolated residents, most of whom live alone and are unable to go out to secure necessary food, medication and supplies. They are seeking assistance providing food (non-perishable) and essential personal hygiene items for our seniors in isolation as well as necessary supplies for both staff and residents.
Goddard-Riverside Community Center (NYC)

Call or write to isolated adult residents. Some projects require proficiency in certain languages

Volunteer Opportunities through Yale Community Connect
Yale Community Connect is an exciting initiative to connect Yale alumni and friends with ongoing opportunities to volunteer and make a difference in community organizations throughout your area.
7-Time Consecutive Winner of the Yale Board of Governors Excellence Award 
  Working Together, Giving Back, Changing Lives