Chicago is one the biggest cities of the United States with over 2.7 million residents. It has wonderful landscapes, great public transportation means and it is a major transportation hub in the Unites States. However, and like many other big cities in the world, it has a lot of problems such as poverty, lack of education and unemployment. Usually, big cities’ biggest problems are due to their importance. People go there to look for better opportunities and as everyone wants to get better jobs, education, life style, problems appear. Luckily, everything is not that bad for this huge modern metropolis. Several good people are trying to change Chicago and transform it into a better place for living, where everyone has the same opportunities to succeed and nobody is left behind.
Foundations and organizations are being created in order to help people in need. This programs are usually design with the purpose of feeling better while helping others. Taking the best of Chicagoans, volunteers and donations make this philanthropic initiative possible. May be this acts will not make us perfect, but for sure this will make each of us a better person. In fact, what philanthropy aims to is mutual aid and better comprehension of what we are. If there is any cause you want to help with, just do it. It is from little by little how things change. But, if you feel you want to help a little more but you don’t know where or what to do, here is a list of 5 ways Chicagoans can help their community:
- The Ounce
According with the Ounce of Prevention Fund the first years of brain development are the most important for the children and those born into poverty are in great disadvantage. That’s why the Ounce gives you the opportunity to help children under 5 years old to have a better quality childhood experiences, building schools, training community base early childhood professionals, designing and developing new models of education to avoid the academic achievement gap and more. You can contribute with donations or volunteering to join their team.
- Wade’s World Foundation (WWF)
WWF is a nonprofit organization founded by Dwyane Wane who was inspired to create the foundation because he wanted to give back to underserved communities. Its central purpose is promoting the education of youth mainly in literacy, health and fatherhood.
With their motto, “Every child deserves a shot”. The Wade’s World Foundation has several programs which include the LIVE TO DREAM program that aim to help young people to discover their talents and abilities, helping them to nurture and improve them.
- Growing Home
Healthy and nutritious food is not something you can find very easily in a poor neighborhood; however, Growing Home is trying to change that by selling healthy organic food to these communities at significant low prices. But this is not the only issue they are addressing; they are also giving job opportunities to the residents of these communities, plus useful training in the food market allowing them to obtain other jobs at the Chicago’s food chain, furthermore they help these communities with problem such as criminal records, childcare support, medical needs and housing.
- After School Matters
After school Matters is a project that started around 25 years ago and since then, according to their website has impacted more than 200.000 young people by its programs. They help teens by offering them better activities to do after the school. These activities include culinary art, theater, and art drawing. After School Matters raises money by selling some of the art made by teenagers in the after-school programs.
- The Help Chicago Initiative
Every Wednesday evening, The Chicago Help Initiative gathers at the dining hall at 721 North La Salle Street to serve a warm meal on white-clothed tables to 130 guests in a safe and dignified setting. But they don’t stop just there. Before dinner, a speaker from a local organization gives a brief presentation, typically on resources on finding temporary shelter, housing, medical care or job training.
Transforming any city is not an easy task but it is a worthy activity you can do on your free time. Off course there are other different ways you can contribute to make Chicago a better place. For example, educating your children will mean a lot in the future. The best way to engage people in this kind of activities is since childhood. This is a long term “inversion” but at the end, what matters is what we can do for our communities. Look for the organization or program that best fits on you and join them, you will not regret it.