The Neighbor Network strengthens NYC communities by empowering volunteers to support older adults. Our organization is based on the fundamental belief that every New Yorker has the ability to help others and that when we do so, our larger community is healthier, happier and more resilient.
Created in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, the Neighbor Network focuses on matching volunteers with seniors across the city to fight social isolation and to connect them with critical resources like food, transportation, COVID vaccines, medication and access to healthcare. The social bonds created by the Neighbor Network help make our communities stronger and more connected, building relationships that bring joy and comfort to seniors and volunteers alike.
The Neighbor Network was formed via an original partnership with the following four organizations: Greenwich House, Heights & Hills, the New York Civic Engagement Table and the Office of New York City Council Member Brad Lander. Since our creation, we have continued to add partners from across the city, each providing exciting new opportunities to expand our reach and support an ever growing number of seniors.
In times of crisis, New Yorkers look out for each other. As coronavirus keeps older adults home-bound for months on end, regular calls through the neighbor network help to connect people to support, to prevent social isolation from gnawing deeper, to build relationships that sustain us through this challenging time, and to bring a little joy into lonely days on both sides of the phone line.
For over 100 years Greenwich House has advanced a mission of building and supporting community to address the needs of our time, whatever they may be. Our legacy spans two world wars, the world’s last global flu pandemic, the Aids crisis of the 1980s, economic calamity and more, and we’re proud to join this great group of partners to support our neighbors in need during this global and local health crisis.
What We Do
The Neighbor Network runs several programs in partnership with service providers in different parts of the city. For information about how to join one of these programs as either a volunteer or an individual receiving calls, click here.
Friendly Calls in partnership with Greenwich House
Our Friendly Calls program aims to fight social isolation by matching volunteers with older New Yorkers for regular conversations over the phone, with the goal of building a friendship and providing social connection. Seniors are enrolled in the program through outreach calls, by signing themselves up, or through referral from a partner or other Neighbor Network program. Whenever possible, the volunteer-senior pairs are matched based on their availability and what they would like to chat about during their calls.
Wellness Calls in partnership with Heights and Hills and Sunnyside Community Services
Since the start of the pandemic, waitlists for case management services at senior centers have increased across the city. Neighbor Network volunteers assist social workers at our partner organizations by calling waitlisted older adults regularly to check in and record their needs, which are saved in our tracking system. Thanks to these notes, our partner organizations are able to identify and follow up on the most urgent cases and connect older adults to critical resources, such as food, transportation, medication and more.
We launched our Vaccine Program in February 2021 to assist with the continued challenges facing older New Yorkers as they try to secure COVID vaccinations. Our trained volunteer “navigators” assist older adults with booking vaccine appointments, accessing transportation to vaccine sites and navigating other access issues, as well as emotionally supporting them through the process. As the vaccine landscape has shifted, we have pivoted to focus more on outreach, both remote and in-person, and sharing information about walk-in and mobile vaccine sites.
Phone Bank Outreach
Through our partnership with the New York Civic Engagement Table, we engage volunteers in making phone banking calls to older New Yorkers through the voter file. By conducting this outreach, we are able to reach seniors in need who are not yet connected to resources or community organizations. These calls connect older adults to our Friendly Calls program, our Vaccine Support program, and support from social workers at our partner organizations.
How do I get involved?
Do you want to volunteer? Sign up for a training!
Do you want to partner with us to provide a service opportunity for your organization? Do you want to publicize this volunteer opportunity in your community? Email our Volunteer Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you work for an organization serving seniors? Are you interested in partnering with us to provide this service to your organization or members of your community? Email email@example.com.
And if you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us and leave a voicemail at (646) 450-1914.
Can I donate to Neighbor Network?
Yes! You can support our work with a donation here. Thank you so much for your support.
Learn about the tech behind Neighbor Network
The Neighbor Network uses a program called Airtable to track all our volunteers, seniors, calls between them, and other data, as well as to automate many aspects of volunteer management. Over the course of the pandemic, we have developed and tweaked the system, and we’ve found it hugely helpful. We put together this template, which synthesizes what we learned, to help other programs or volunteer groups learn about how we set it up. You can also check out a guide to the template here.