Are you ready to become a helpful volunteer?

Volunteers are a living force in Chicago. The benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you to reduce stress, build strong relationships with other like-minded volunteers, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Volunteering can also help protect your mental and physical health. There can be a number of reasons to be part of charity work, for example, community service for teens is often a requirement for graduating high school in Chicago and it’s a great way for students to build their resumes and skillsets. But volunteer work for high school students can be a life-changing experience, one that allows teens to expand their horizons and foster meaningful relationships. Bear in mind that the most valuable skills you can bring to any volunteer effort are compassion, an open mind, a willingness to do whatever is needed, and a positive attitude. Yosef Meystel wants you to remember that helping others kindles happiness. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, you could go to the charity events in Chicago, in the meantime, here is a list of possibilities.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Greater Chicago Food Depository is a food bank located in 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, IL 60632. They have a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile programs, children’s programs, older adult programs and innovative responses that address the root causes of hunger. Opportunities for charity work include repacking bulk products, assembling boxes with assorted food, checking expiration dates and labeling and gleaning products in sessions from Tuesdays to Saturdays. They also offer an internship program to involve students in various aspects of our mission; to educate and provide them with hands-on, realistic experience in a leading nonprofit organization; and to cultivate an appreciation of the needs of the community we serve to become better informed advocates surrounding the issue of food insecurity.

South Suburban Pads

South Suburban Pads provides emergency shelter services, transitional and permanent housing, serves individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, formerly homeless, or at-risk of homelessness. Participants must be 18 years of age and older to participate in their programs. They deliver the PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) model of shelter services, and are responsible for building the first permanent supportive housing building in the region, specifically for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. South Suburban Pads can be found in three locations. The South Tier is in 414 W. Lincoln Highway in Chicago Heights, the North Tier in 10037 S. Ridgeland, Oak Lawn, and the Wellness Center in 4411 W. Gatling Blvd. Country Club Hills.

Chicago Green Festival volunteers_charity_Yosef Meystel

Image courtesy of Chris Eaves at Flickr.com

University of Chicago Medicine and the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital

Here, there are a lot of opportunities for volunteering. You can go to the playroom where children enjoy playing games with volunteers. Playful activities offer kids a safe and fun escape from illness, tests and treatments. When a child is too ill to leave the hospital room, volunteers bring toys and games to the child’s bedside. In the Surgery Waiting Lounge you could help soothe tattered nerves and provide other assistance to patients’ families. Assist staff in preparing patient rooms, stocking supplies, and keeping the emergency room areas safe and welcome. Volunteers are also crucial visitors who provide patients with extra attention. The staff of the ER may give extra duties to volunteers who have demonstrated initiative and earned trust. And among other opportunities, you could provide office support such as typing, computer entry and filing.

World Computer Exchange

This is a non-profit organization incorporated in the United States and Canada that provides capacity building, low-cost computers, content development, training trips, and computers for girls and local e-waste solutions. WCE’s services are enhanced by 25 global educational Strategic Allies.  WCE’s 800 volunteers assist 900 Partner organizations in 81 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Since 2000, 4.6 million youth in 3.300 computer labs located in schools, universities, youth centers and libraries were able to access new skills, understanding and opportunities via the internet on WCE refurbished computers while these computers were kept out of landfills and recycled appropriately. Volunteers from the Chicago area for World Computer Exchange have gathered, refurbished, loaded educational content, packed, and shipped 17 times with over 2,910 computers. Most of their volunteers participate in work events on Saturdays.  People from the age of 14 and up are welcome to join in. Volunteers need general computer knowledge. And training is provided for the refurbishing process. Knowledge of computer repair is very beneficial but not required.  

If you want to keep looking for other opportunities, you can find here a complete list, with tools depending on the area you wish to help.

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