NYC Volunteers to Know: Men and Teen Boys Giving Back to Our City

NYC’s rich soup of entertainment and eating options “goes for volunteering as well: There are activities to pique anyone’s interest,” observed AJ Reisman, 29, who was a “Big Brother” to a boy through the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services for five years until the boy and his mom left the city last year. Reisman is a junior board member and event coordinator for the organization, and also the treasurer for his employer’s giving and volunteering committee. And he coaches soccer every Saturday for South Bronx United.

In the Jewish tradition, “tzedakah,” or charitable giving, is a moral obligation, Reisman explained. “I live on the Upper East Side. You walk just a few blocks north and there’s a big contrast. . . . It’s kind of shocking” to see such vast disparities of wealth. Raised with advantages, he feels a responsibility to help everyone have a crack at “the American ideal — that everyone has the opportunity to climb the ladder of success. Recently, that path has become more challenging. Anything I can do to mitigate that, I’ll do.”

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