On This Mayor's Day of Recognition for National Service, A Call to Action

04/07/2015 09:39 am ET | Updated Jun 07, 2015
Shutterstock / Songquan Deng

You may not be aware of it, but you are already a volunteer.

All of us volunteer every day, when we help a colleague at work, give advice to a friend, or donate our time to a neighbor.

Volunteerism is taking that humble everyday action and turning it into something more powerful. It's about building our communities -- together and from the ground up -- to reach our vision of a more inclusive society.

On this Mayor's Day of Recognition for National Service, I want to thank the nearly 10,000 AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Senior Corps members who are providing direct services to our city and engaging New Yorkers in volunteerism.

Whether delivering fresh produce to the hungry in Mariner's Harbor, teaching English to immigrants in Corona, or helping to keep students on the path to academic success in Mott Haven, these national service members demonstrate their compassion and commitment to fighting inequality every day.

Take for example Jasmine Drake, a 23-year-old Bronx native.

Jasmine serves as a volunteer coordinator at Shape Up NYC, an NYC Service initiative in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, which offers free fitness classes to New Yorkers across the five boroughs. NYC Service, a City resource for volunteerism, connects New Yorkers to a wide range of volunteer opportunities across the five boroughs to help meet our city's greatest needs.

A simple action such as helping New Yorkers live healthier lives has given Jasmine a lasting sense of accomplishment. More than that, it has helped her to develop management and interpersonal skills, which are critical for success in our competitive job market.

I am proud to honor the dedication of the thousands of national service members in New York City like Jasmine by making a call to action for more New Yorkers to volunteer.

I want to inspire all of you to share your time, your experience and your friendship with the underserved members of your community. You will be surprised by how fulfilling and rewarding service can be.

Just a few hours a week mentoring a high school student can transform a life. It can mean the difference between thriving academically and failing, the difference between going to college and not.

A few hours a week to impact one life -- one life to change countless others. And you have the power and the opportunity to make that difference.

Join me in helping to build a better New York. Volunteer.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and NYC Service, the latter of which is an organization within Mayor Bill de Blasio's Office that drives volunteerism to impact New York City's greatest needs. Chirlane McCray is First Lady of the City of New York and Chair of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. To learn more about NYC Service's Resolve to Volunteer in 2015 Campaign and volunteer opportunities in New York City, click here.