FOR many New Yorkers, this is the time to begin writing thank you notes for all the gifts received during the holiday season.

So, I’d like to take a few moments to send out a big “thank you” to the people who are giving our city a really fantastic gift: the gift of service.

Some 20 months ago, our city answered President Barack Obama’s call to service with an ambitious campaign to tackle our city’s greatest challenges.

NYC Service has mobilized an army of volunteers to go into our communities and seek out the individuals and organizations that need our help the most.

In its first full year of operation, NYC Service engaged more than half a million volunteers — including tens of thousands of public school students.

Today, those New Yorkers are cleaning up our parks, mentoring our young people, stocking food pantries, greening buildings and neighborhoods, keeping our residents healthy and fit, and helping struggling families to avoid foreclosure.

Thanks to their work, this year we met and even surpassed many of our service goals.

For example, working with the FDNY, NYC Service has now trained more than 55,000 New Yorkers in life-saving CPR.

We’ve also coated more than 1.2 million-square-feet of rooftop with the heat-reflective paint that will help buildings conserve power, cut energy bills, and reduce the output of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

And we’ve helped more than 2,000 New Yorkers stay fit with weekly “Shape Up” classes offered free-of-charge in recreation and community centers throughout the city.

In fact, anyone who’s interested in working off those extra holiday pounds can access a full list of “Shape Up” classes by visiting the city’s website at, or by calling 3-1-1.

This year we also celebrated the graduation of our first class of Civic Corps members, the 193 full-time service recruits who strengthened our city’s agencies and non-profits by recruiting more than 50,000 volunteers –– who then went on to perform more than 250 million hours of service and serve more than 200,000 New Yorkers.

And then we inaugurated our second class of 150 Civic Corps members, who have already recruited nearly 20,000 volunteers.

Those efforts were rewarded with a three-year grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, guaranteeing that our great work will continue.

And our Cities of Service coalition, which this year grew to more than 100 mayors representing more than 47 million Americans, is helping to ensure that such successful service programs are replicated in cities throughout the nation.

I know that many people listening this morning already volunteer their time and talents — and I want to thank you for that.

But we can all do a little bit more.

I want to want to urge all New Yorkers to make more time for service this year.

To get started, please visit the NYC Service page on the city’s website,

There you’ll find more than 1,000 opportunities to make our city a better place.

Choose just one and you’ll enrich the lives of others, as well as your own.