Chicago Cares Staff
Not only is Serve-a-thon Chicago’s largest single day of community service, but it’s also Chicago Cares’ largest fundraiser. And we approach this event as we do all other things, by rolling up our sleeves and taking action. In addition to requesting your service on June 15, we also request your financial support so that Chicago Cares can continue to mobilize volunteers to address our city’s most pressing challenges year-round.
With the right tools, fundraising for a cause you are passionate about is simpler and less time-consuming than you think. Here are some tips to help you with the process!
- Tell your story. Explain to people why you support Chicago Cares and what it means to you personally. People want to know that you are committed to the cause and will be happy to support you because of it!
- Build the buzz. Talk up your participation in Serve-a-thon—in person, in email, and through social media! “Like” Chicago Cares on Facebook, connect with us on Twitter, or post a note on LinkedIn encouraging your network to donate in your name. And, if you want to give your contacts a feel for the event and all that you’ll be accomplishing, this video really captures it.
- Lead by example. Sponsor yourself by making a donation to get your fundraising started. Don’t be afraid to tell people that you are a donor as well.
Now that you’ve got the tools, please consider participating in Chicago Cares’ 20th Anniversary Challenge. Fundraisers generating $250 or more will be entered into a prize raffle each week.
How to raise $250 easily:
- Start by making a donation of $20 yourself
- Ask your spouse, significant other, or roommate for $20
- Ask five friends for $20
- Ask your parents for $10 each
- Ask 10 people from your religious organization,
social club, or professional group for $5
- Ask four coworkers for $10
But don’t stop here… now that you know how easy it is to become a successful fundraiser, keep the momentum going and reach out to your entire network of friends, family, and colleagues. Don’t forget to identify matching-gift opportunities to double your impact. And know that the Sun-Times Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust will match donations to Chicago Cares through July 5 up to a total of $10,000. Up to $1,000 can be matched per individual donation!
Soon, you’ll be on your way to becoming a champion fundraiser!
Patty White is Vice President, Corporate Engagement Strategy and Development for Chicago Cares.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Serve-a-thon is just 36 days away, and I’ve got some exciting news to share: Chicago Cares and the Clinton Foundation have announced that Chelsea Clinton will make remarks at Chicago Cares’ Serve-a-thon kick-off on June 15 in Daley Plaza.
This element is sure to make our 20th Annual Serve-a-thon that much more memorable and exciting. Register today!
Bridget Altenburg is the Executive Director of Chicago Cares.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Chicago Cares’ Serve-a-thon is just 43 days away and, this year, we’re working to recruit 5,000 volunteers to help transform the city’s neighborhoods through volunteer projects. Here are the top five reasons to sign up today:
- Chicago Cares’ Serve-a-thon is the largest single day of service in Chicago. What a powerful experience to come together with so many people to make an immediate and direct impact on the city.
- This is a significant opportunity for you to make a statement. What better way to show your commitment to making Chicago stronger than by taking action?
- Your participation not only supports Chicago on June 15, but also year-round. Chicago Cares is the city’s leading service organization and funds raised from Serve-a-thon support more than 250 monthly group service projects Chicago Cares facilitates addressing a range of Chicago’s most critical issues. When you register, sign up for the 20th Anniversary Challenge as well!
- There’s a big party! Following our day of service, we’ll gather on Daley Plaza for a celebration featuring food, drinks, and live music.
- Chicago needs us more than ever. Many of the city’s neighborhoods have been challenged by violence. While a variety of things need to be done to solve these issues, volunteer service is central to the answer. Serve-a-thon is a jumping off point for Chicago Cares’ expanded youth programming throughout the summer and beyond.
Together, let’s be the solution! Register today.
Jessica Krueger is the manager of Annual Events for Chicago Cares.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
This week has special meaning for us at Chicago Cares.
For one, it’s National Volunteer Week. Established nearly 40 years ago, National Volunteer Week focuses attention on the impact and power of volunteerism by inspiring, recognizing, and encouraging people to seek out ways to engage their communities. As we reflect on our volunteers’ many contributions, we celebrate your service and are humbled by your commitment. Thank you!
What’s more, on Monday we celebrated the twenty-second anniversary of our very first project, which took place on Earth Day back in 1991. Since then, it’s amazing to think about all of the volunteers Chicago Cares has mobilized, critical needs we’ve addressed, clients we have served, and nonprofit partner organizations we have supported to make Chicago stronger.
As you reflect on your commitment to volunteerism during this special week, I encourage you to continue making Chicago stronger for our youth and other community members: Join us for the 20th Annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon, the city’s largest single day of service! We’re introducing a lot of exciting programmatic elements this year, and the event’s sure to make a significant mark—on our city, on those we serve and on each and every one of us, personally.
Partner up and help out at Hilliard Reading Connection !
Hilliard Reading Connection, the newest to our ongoing children’s programs, starts in just a few days! This program brings volunteers to Hilliard Apartments and helps to provide additional one-on-one support to the children as they develop their love of reading.
Upon my first site visit to Hilliard Apartments, I couldn’t believe how convenient the building was (just steps from the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line stop) and how diverse the neighborhood is (nestled at the corner of Chinatown and the South Loop). The building is a piece of architectural history, built by the famed Bertrand Goldberg, who is famous for his historical architecture in Chicago, including buildings such as Marina City.
For me, the most exciting aspect of visiting Hilliard was the warm welcome of the children and staff at Hilliard Reading Connection. The children were eagerly waiting in the social room to get started early, helping to get the books and art supplies out on a lovely Saturday morning. I learned from the staff at Hilliard that these children are always eager to start and reluctant to leave, asking for extra time with the books or using the online reading program to build their skills. They were friendly and welcoming, excited to meet a new volunteer and get started on the activities for the day. I was so inspired by their enthusiasm about reading and learning and couldn’t wait to get our programs started!
Hilliard Reading Connection was developed to provide weekly reading support and enrichment while improving reading comprehension and fluency in its children, and all the programs at Hilliard aim to include increasing youth development programs which educate and mentor young people socially and academically. Chicago Cares is partnering with Hilliard to help provide more one-one-one support, encouragement, and resources to the children in the program. Each project will include reading, art, and computer time with a partner student, providing more support to the Hilliard Program.
I hope you’ll join us on April 20th, our first project date at Hilliard Reading Connection, or any of our upcoming projects at Hilliard Apartments. For more information about this program or upcoming volunteer opportunities, please contact Emily Collins.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
It’s every potential employee’s worst nightmare: sitting down at an interview and hearing, “So I see you have a gap on your résumé. Can you explain that to me?” This was me, almost two years ago, when I first interviewed at Chicago Cares. I graduated from college when the economy wasn’t the greatest. My friends had jobs but I was struggling to get my foot in somewhere, anywhere. I spent most of the day at home with my roommate’s cat, applying to job after job “to whom it may concern.”
One day, I realized enough was enough. I needed to get out of the house and do something. I had seen a few flyers in the neighborhood advertising a food drive for a local pantry: Lakeview Pantry. I Google-d around to find out where it was and found that it was relatively close. The next day I walked in and was surprised at how small the place was. A nice elderly lady helped me inside and asked me if I needed food. I said I was just there to help out and she got me started right away. I was unloading boxes, sorting produce, packing bags… and I was there a whole day before I realized that this wasn’t Lakeview Pantry at all, but Common Pantry, a small site located in the back of a United Church of Christ. They distribute their food on Wednesdays and sort produce and donations on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
All of a sudden my week had structure. I had something to get out of bed for, and my pile of jobs to apply to began to look far less daunting. I was talking to people, and I was humbled by the stories of those receiving food. At first I thought I would be sneaky and try to work at Common Pantry, but I realized with only one full-time staff person (the executive director) that would never happen. I didn’t even really meet a lot of people to network with. But what did happen was that I was able to take a step back from my computer screen and endless e-mailing of résumés and cover letters… and have some perspective. I was able to realize that maybe I wanted to look harder for not just “any” job, but a job in a field that I cared about, like improving the quality of life for others. And I was definitely able to say something more than “catching up on my telenovelas” when the inevitable “what have you been doing during the gap on your résumé?” question came up.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As part of our month-long service in honor of Dr. King, children at many Chicago Cares programs participated in special activities. These MLK special projects shared the legacy of Dr. King with a new generation and promoting the ideas of peace, freedom, and love. “I’ve never seen the students so engaged in a book or activity” community partner Whitney Nash at Mercy Housing shared. Together, children and volunteers read books, participated in discussions, created murals and “I Have a Dream” mobiles to honor Dr. King.
To many, the most meaningful part of the activities was learning what dreams these young children have: safe neighborhoods, clean parks, a college education, and an end to pollution, animal cruelty, and violence. Many children spoke with volunteers about ways to make peaceful change in their lives and share these beliefs with their friends, family, and neighbors. We can only hope that these children continue to follow their dreams!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
While some of us (me particularly!) are enjoying the unseasonably warm weather Chicago is facing, it has led to the growth of some nasty flu bugs. You can support healthier and more fun forms of growth throughout the city with Chicago Cares at our year-round environmental projects. Although winter is typically a time of hibernation for plants and many critters, successful growing seasons depend on the work of volunteers and staff at our nature areas even in the off season.
At Garfield Park Conservatory, you’ll have the chance to work on a variety of projects as determined by the greenhouse staff. Garfield Park is the 2nd largest conservatory in the country. It suffered extensive damage during a hail storm in 2011, and plans are underway to repair the main rooms this summer. Check out this Chicago landmark for some warmth and palm trees throughout these winter days.
Beaubien Forest Preserve is located on the far south side of the city, and is part of the Field Museum’s Calumet Environmental Education Program. Coming to one of these projects is a good way to determine if you’re hearty enough for a lumberjack lifestyle: tasks may include clearing and gathering brush, collecting seeds, and cutting down invasive species. Enjoy serene forest beauty where you least expect it.
On the other side of the city, North Park Nature Center is another such haven. In the winter, volunteers pack and sort indigenous seeds in the learning center, and may spend time clearing nature trails as the weather permits.
Grow some good and venture into the wilderness—our environmental projects are waiting!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
This is the last blog post of the year and the gist of it is simple, so I’ll save you some time. We are asking that you make a special gift to Chicago Cares today! You’ve probably already heard a lot about I Care in the other emails you’ve received. In case you didn’t have an opportunity to read them all, I Care is not a hot new product from Apple, though we’d love to have that kind of exposure. I Care is an annual appeal for donations for the projects, programs and the organization you know and love: Chicago Cares.
If you’re reading this, chances are you have a relationship with Chicago Cares. Maybe you’re a faithful long-time volunteer or leader. You could be a loyal staff or board member. Maybe you just Googled “volunteer, Chicago” and you stumbled upon our website. No matter how you discovered this blog today, welcome!
As volunteers, we serve from the heart, but service costs time and money. Your donation to Chicago Cares is crucial and extends to people all over the community.
When you sign up for a volunteer project with Chicago Cares, you want to help – and we make it easy. Chicago Cares provides hundreds of books for children’s programs every week. If you pass a school and there’s a huge map of the United States on the playground, Chicago Cares probably provided the stencil, the paint, as well as the volunteers to get the project done. Maybe you’ve seen an overgrown, unruly garden on Friday that’s tame and beautiful on Saturday? Often, that’s the work of Chicago Cares volunteers. We pride ourselves on living our mission – mobilizing and inspiring people to make Chicago a stronger community. With the assistance of a robust corps of volunteers and leaders we can pull off unimaginable feats of service. Our staff takes pride in the projects we create and manage but we cannot do it without you.
So, return that terrible sweater or that useless kitchen gadget you received just a few days ago, and pay it forward to Chicago Cares. We want to say thank you for your hours of dedication throughout this year; our city and our fellow citizens truly appreciate it. As the year comes to a close and you’re thinking ahead to your goals and resolutions for 2013, please consider a donation to Chicago Cares today. It’s not too late to make a difference.
Senior Officer, Corporate RelationsRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Youth in Service doesn’t exist to host Senior Breakfast Clubs on the weekend. Youth in Service doesn’t exist to plant a vegetable garden for a malnourished community. And Youth in Service doesn’t exist to bag lunches to donate to a food pantry to feed hungry families.
We do not serve to see the genuine grins on the faces of the people we are helping. We do not serve because we want to change someone’s day for the good.
Yes, we do all of these things. Yes, we love all of these responses.
However, the youth groups that serve through Youth in Service serve to BE the change, not just to make a change. Our youth that serve want to be the change in our community that makes a lasting impact on our world and paves the way for generations to come.
Our groups of youth, aged 8 to 18 years, who volunteer through Youth in Service, are the future of our world. With each seemingly small project, we strive to engage, educate, and empower our volunteers to continue serving the community by illustrating the powerful impression each person has in helping the future generations of Chicago and the world.
One project at a time, Chicago Cares Youth in Service is able to work with youth volunteers to serve many issue areas: seniors, homelessness and hunger, children’s education, persons with disabilities, environmental issues, and anything they can imagine. Allowing these youth to take the lead and work together is truly empowering and makes a difference on how they view the world and how they view the meaning of service.
I have been fortunate enough to work with students from Mather High School this past month and will continue doing so for the rest of the school year. From day one it was clear that they want to help others, but weren’t really sure how. After serving at their first Youth in Service project last Saturday, the students are better able to relate to people unlike themselves and better understand the needs of our community.
Help continue bettering Chicago and the world by starting with this amazing generation by making a donation through the Chicago Cares I Care campaign. Invest in small project, like a $150 Senior Breakfast Club that not only provides a fun and nutritious meal for senior citizens, but also teaches youth the importance of service.
Written By Danika Marcano
HandsOn AmeriCorps Member
Youth in ServiceRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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