No matter how you call it, The Windy City, Second City or Sweet Home, Chicago is one of America’s most spectacular places to live and call home. The city offers a vast cultural diversity, rich history, and natural beauty which inspires Chicagoans to do better every day.
With more than 200 different neighborhoods, Chicago is a big city which faces challenges, just like any other major city in the world. Despite all the discrimination issues related to racial, economic, and religious differences, Yosef Meystel knows that the city shares a deep connection between all Chicagoans, allowing them to embrace a spirit of service, awareness, collaboration and common well. This spirit is the one responsible for the creation of different institutions focused on philanthropy and volunteering activities, such as Chicago Cares, an organization dedicated to inspiring people to make Chicago a stronger community through the meeting of critical social needs.
Founded in 1991 by Leslie Bluhm and Mary Prchal, Chicago Cares is the city’s leading nonprofit service organization, mobilizing an average of 34,000 volunteers every year to meet Chicago’s most challenging needs. Through volunteerism the organization works to address a wide range of issue areas, from hunger to education to job readiness, always keeping in mind the idea of letting people take ownership of the city and the way problems are solved.
During the past two decades, Chicago Cares has quickly evolved into a non-profit constantly working for the community, creating numerous programs that foster civic engagement by educating and empowering volunteers to be agents of change both locally and globally.
Under the belief that the path to a stronger community begins with a single person, Chicago Cares serves as a catalyst for positive change, educating individuals about the real needs of Chicago and the importance of the role each member of the community plays as an agent of change. Education empowers citizens allowing them to understand that through every small change, comes big impact.
There are many nonprofit agencies and schools in Chicago needing a hand. Many of these organizations don’t count with the necessary resources or staff they need to create the impact they want in their local communities. This is where Chicago Cares plays a fundamental role, coordinating the adequate number of volunteers in order to meet each organization’s needs, aiming to make Chicago a stronger community.
People volunteering with Chicago Cares provide services intended to help those in need and gain important skills that can help them become stronger leaders, better employees and more informed and committed Chicagoans.
Offering more than 200 volunteer opportunities each month, Chicago Cares has a permanent presence the community, which allows the organization to identify real needs in the neighborhoods and ensure that volunteer’s work really has a sustainable impact.
Click to see : The Heart of a Volunteer by Chicago Cares (video)
Chicago Cares integral service model includes the figure of Volunteer Leaders, which are the ones making it possible for the organization to launch new programs and implement existing projects every month. Volunteer leaders are the ones in charge of ensuring that every volunteer experience is fun, well-managed and meaningful. They help inspire and guide more than 34,000 Chicago Cares volunteers every year, leaving a long lasting impact on each community.
Volunteer Leaders are responsible, trustworthy, flexible, creative, caring and passionate individuals who are motivated to gain experience in project management and communication through Chicago Cares leadership programs. Due to the interaction Leaders have with many different people throughout the city of Chicago and beyond, leaders are able to build and expand a strong network that may help them grow professionally as they engage with service projects.
It doesn’t matter if you want to get your hands dirty in a community garden, help children improve their literacy skills, provide job skills training to people who are homeless or throw a birthday party for a senior living in isolation, Volunteer Leaders are able to choose projects that interest them without having to deal with administrative tasks, walks, runs or fundraising.
By partnering with different community organizations, schools and parks, Chicago Cares is able to increase their services at no cost to the organization. Through their high-quality programs and consistent volunteer support, Chicago Cares partners with several organizations, acting as the solution to the different social and economic problems the city currently faces.
Chicago Cares staff works with each community partner in order to identify their most pressing needs, creating and managing projects that put volunteers to work meeting those needs in a meaningful way.
Become a Member
If you want to join this meaningful cause, everything you need to do is create an account by registering on Chicago Cares website, find an opportunity that’s right for you by browsing location, issue area of interest, or dates and sign up.