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.
At Chicago Cares, we talk a lot about “being the change”–mobilizing and inspiring people to make a difference through service. And, collectively, our volunteers usher this change. They cook warm, healthy meals for neighborhood shelters to serve the hungry. They provide seniors with a sense of companionship and community. They keep children engaged in their education in a safe environment well past the school day. They help prepare the unemployed to reenter the workforce. In the process, they make Chicago a stronger, more vibrant community.
Our volunteers are at the heart of Chicago Cares. And while it’s great motivation for them to be the change, it’s nice when there’s an opportunity to “see the change” and bring visibility to the important work they do.
ABC-7 recently aired a story that does just this. It highlights information about the breadth of Chicago Cares’ offerings, the resulting impact and the ease of volunteer engagement and mobilization. And, in the process, it shows several of our volunteers hard at work at the Senior Diners Club at Lidia Pucinska Apartments just last week.
This is a reminder of the significant impact our volunteers make on people, programs and the community. Thank you for your service!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 )
This Thanksgiving I led a project at a Chicago Housing Authority building for low income, independent living seniors. I knew I wanted to do this because A) it would give me something fun to do with my family who always volunteers with me (sometimes whether they want to or not), B) I love going to this particular building to volunteer, and C) I honestly didn’t have very much planned for Thanksgiving myself. My extended family is mostly older now. There are a few kids but most of us are grown now and we do our own thing. This means that holidays sometimes aren’t as festive as they once were for me.
With that in mind, I started planning one humdinger of a Thanksgiving for this group of seniors. Ten volunteers signed up to help make this project happen. The menu consisted of all the staples: turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, tossed salad, multigrain rolls, and mashed potatoes and gravy. I bought all this food planning on feeding about 50 people, but I honestly didn’t think we would have much of a turn out. I just figured since this was an independent living facility that most of the residents who came would just come to pick up a plate of food and then would leave to go hang out with their family. That was not the case.
As the room filled I quickly realized I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have much family to be around on Thanksgiving. One of the residents who I had met before and who I feel like I have a pretty good relationship with told me this was all she had planned for that day. After the meal and bingo she was going to go upstairs and watch TV. Another lady told me her family lived far away and her friends at the building were all she had for the holiday. Yet another woman told me she loves Chicago Cares, and would rather be with us and her friends at the building. After hearing all of their stories I quickly became thankful for the opportunity I had to bring this sense of community to these residents who would not have had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with anyone if it weren’t for Chicago Cares.
Chicago Cares seniors programming is grounded in this very idea: regular social contact for seniors leads to a higher overall quality of life that allows them to remain independent longer [i] . Yes, it’s always great to feed those who are food insecure. And yes, it’s great to provide budget relief to those who have to decide between paying their bills or filling their prescriptions. But I think the service we provide that is the most needed is building a sense of community. Many seniors don’t have a large social circle to pull from. For many, their families and friends have moved on, or passed away, and the only circle they have are their neighbors. Our programming provides a fun and safe environment for seniors to build that sense of fellowship with one another. And studies have shown that one of the secrets to longevity is having a quality social circle that you can depend on.
Your donation to Chicago Cares seniors programming through our I Care Campaign will make sure that we can continue to provide a fun, open, and engaging space for seniors to build their community and continue to live long, healthy and fulfilling lives. $25 will provide the bingo prizes for one night of bingo. $50 will provide a hot breakfast for a group of 20 seniors.
[i] Tomaka, J., and Thompson, S and Palacios, R. (2006) The Relation of Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Social Support to Disease Outcomes Among the Elderly. Department of Health Promotion, University of Texas at El Paso.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
A magical evening filled with dancing, music, a photo booth, amazing food, and a rather large assortment of do-gooders. What more could you ask for? This year’s Cheers to Our Volunteers event took place on Monday, November 26th at the Four Seasons hotel. Every year we honor our amazing volunteer community, and we highlight and celebrate those who have gone above and beyond the call of service.
This year we had dozens of nominations. More than I have seen in the last three years that I have been involved with the planning of this event. All together, our nominees have given over 4,000 hours of service to Chicago Cares and our partner agencies. To put that into perspective, 4,000 hours is about 167 days or roughly five and a half months. During this time our nominees have fed the hungry, tutored children, created beautiful outdoor spaces, comforted the lonely, and so much more.
Out of those who were nominated, six were given awards. Winners we determined by a group of staff, past winners, and board members. This year’s winners were: Donna Caranto, Leader Star; Courtney McCormick, Volunteer Star; Ellen Newcomer, Ambassador Star; Chicago Urban League, Youth in Service Star; St. Leonard’s Ministries, Community Partner Star; and Discover Financial Services, Corporate Partner Star. To learn more about this year’s stars, watch our video that highlights the winners.
But this was not just a time to celebrate our Star Award winners and nominees. Every year we at Chicago Cares take one night to celebrate YOU! We celebrate our entire community. From the sites that we partner with, to the corporations and companies we work with, to the students we mentor, to the volunteers and leaders who assist us with fulfilling our mission of service. We celebrate you because it is you who inspires us to keep making Chicago a stronger community.
And for that we want to say thank you and CHEERS TO YOU!
A special thank you goes out to everyone who donated books during our Cheers to Our Volunteers book drive. If you would like to donate a book to support our new Read-with-Me programs, please check out our Amazon wishlist to see the list of requested books.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Chicago Cares is in the midst of our annual I Care campaign. It’s a time when we reflect on the amazing work you have helped us to accomplish and when we set our goals for our programs to continue to meet the needs of the community. As I analyze our impact data I am always amazed by what can be invested in our community in a year. It puts all of my experiences cooking breakfast for seniors, pulling weeds at a garden, leading a children’s activity, or the other projects I’ve attended this year into perspective. I have done so little compared to what we have done together. Your time, talents, passion, and compassion go a long way. With that said, the opportunities you have to serve your community through Chicago Cares wouldn’t be there without much-needed funding.
Today, I’m asking you to donate to Chicago Cares to support the programs you volunteer at or believe in. Here’s why:
So far in 2012…
• Volunteers have given positive one-on-one attention to children 9,260 times.
• Volunteer hours given at the Greater Chicago Food Depository have allowed partner organizations to purchase 43,000 pounds of additional food.
• 19,562 meals have been served to Chicagoans in need.
• There have been 14,350 visits made to seniors living in isolation.
• 989 adults received individualized attention in classroom settings with job skills, ESL coaching, tutoring, and more.
• 177,216 square feet have been landscaped at 7 neighborhood gardens, 4 nature area sanctuaries, 2 conservatories, and 2 parks.
• 635 murals have been painted and 86 mosaics created.
• 1,058 benches, bookcases, cubbies, planter boxes and more have been constructed.
• 475 classrooms and 86 hallways have been painted.
• 27,247 volunteer opportunities have been filled.
• And 87,662 volunteer hours have been served, which equals $1,872,460 worth of services donated to and invested in Chicago area schools and organizations.
What our school and organization partners have to say about it:
• 88% of partner organizations have increased the number of services they provide.
• 86% have increased the number of clients they’re able to serve.
• 94% have improved the quality of services they offer.
• 86% report that their projects wouldn’t get finished without Chicago Cares volunteers.
Wow. You have a lot to be proud of – and the year’s not even over yet!
I hope you’ll join me in taking this opportunity to be a part of making sure we can do this – and more – together again in 2013. None of this would be possible without both your time and the supplies and expertise provided by Chicago Cares. Your donation to the Chicago Cares I Care campaign will keep Chicago Cares programs going strong and allow you to stay invested in your community. Donate to your favorite area of service or to our general fund. Every dollar makes a difference.
I look forward to seeing you at a project soon.
Director of Ongoing Programs, Chicago Cares
Proudly invested in our community for nine years
Each year, we celebrate our volunteers and leaders at the Star Awards Gala. This is our chance to say, thank you, for building a better Chicago through your commitment to the children, seniors, adults and environment of our city. We’re busy searching for our 2012 Star Award winners and we need your help to identify the volunteers and leaders who are making a difference in Chicago and inspiring you to serve!
A Volunteer Star goes above and beyond the call of volunteer duty. He/she is a reliable and devoted volunteer who completes tasks with enthusiasm, is committed to community service, inspires others to serve, and exhibits compassion and sensitivity. In 2011, our Volunteer Star award went to Ildifonso Fuentes.
Ildifonso is tireless. His daily life is busy, yet he makes time to volunteer on a regular basis. He inspires the leaders that he works with through his commitment to making service a priority in his life. Leaders know they can rely on him and that makes a big difference when projects face challenges. He likes to get involved and is extremely committed when he sees that his time and effort are doing good in the community. Ildifonso makes others feel welcome at projects and is always interested in learning something new.
If there’s a volunteer who is inspiring you through service, nominate them for a 2012 Volunteer Star Award!
A Leader Star is a Chicago Cares volunteer who does more than volunteer; he/she manages the volunteer experience, on-site logistics, and implementation of the project while representing Chicago Cares with enthusiasm. The Leader Star has the ability to inspire volunteers, make the project memorable and meaningful for all who participate, and is ready to pitch in wherever needed. Our 2011 Leader Star was Melissa Degleffetti.
Melissa embodies one of the key skills of any Chicago Cares leader: flexibility. Melissa is always willing to help in a variety of ways and is able to adapt to situations and think of innovative solutions when necessary. She serves at a variety of projects and is mindful to involve everyone who is volunteering. She is professional, welcoming, positive, and a great role model for both adult and youth volunteers. Melissa is also very reliable and wants to help in the areas where she can have the most impact. She continues to look for new ways to get involved with Chicago Cares, learning and growing as a volunteer and leader.
If you’ve experienced great direction at a Chicago Cares project, nominate a leader for the 2012 Leader Star Award!
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The world turns its gaze toward London today as we prepare to open the Games of the XXX Olympiad. Whether you’re an avid sports enthusiast or just love the pomp and circumstance of it all, it’s hard not to get caught up in Olympic fever. Of course, representing our country on an international stage is something that many of us will probably never experience but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot to learn from these dedicated athletes. Here are three ways that Olympic athletes can inspire each of us in becoming more engaged volunteers.
You don’t have to be a professional, you just have to be passionate.
The vast majority of Olympians do not earn their living through the sport in which they compete. Their commitment to train comes from an honest love of the sport rather than the promise of a large paycheck. Many of the athletes that we watch, striving to make it to the medal stand, have day jobs and families and other commitments that they must balance in order to achieve their Olympic goals.
When we make a commitment to serve others, that same need for balance becomes more clear in our own lives. Many volunteers don’t work in social services, yet they have a deep desire to make a difference by participating in projects that will help others. We can be quick to write off an opportunity to serve because, “we’re just so busy!” However, when you are really passionate about achieving a goal, it’s much easier to find that sense of balance. When you seek out volunteer opportunities that align with your interests, beliefs and values, you will discover that the joy service brings to your life far outweighs any time it may have used.
Live a good story.
It’s a common experience during Olympic season. Suddenly, you find yourself cheering for an athlete that you’ve never heard of who is competing in a sport you didn’t even know existed. You can’t explain the difference between FOIL, EPEE and SABRE but all of a sudden, you have tears in your eyes, hoping that the fencer from Kazakhstan pulls off the upset.
What causes such a dramatic reaction? A great story. When the emotional strings start to play and Bob Costas begins to spin the tale, we’re powerless to stop it. We’re inspired by stories of people conquering obstacles, coming back from defeat or finding hope through teamwork. Each one of us can embrace these storylines as our own in the ways that we choose to live. Through civic engagement, our lives become more than a to-do list, they become thrilling stories that can inspire others to follow in our footsteps.
It’s not about whether you win or lose, it’s about how you play the game.
Of course, winning is always nice. However, the spirit of the Olympics celebrates more than just victory, there is great honor in just taking part. Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee thought this message was “of great philosophical significance.” In his writings, Coubertin considered sport in its educational sense, declaring that “the important thing in life is not victory, but the fight; the main thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”
In the nonprofit world we are fond of saying, “we want to work ourselves out of a job.” Whether the issue is hunger, homelessness, educational disparity, bigotry or one of the many other challenges our nation faces; our hope is that some day, these problems will be eradicated. However, the more you understand the full scope of the issues at hand, the easier it is to become overwhelmed and lose hope.
It’s true that we may not see these issues reconciled within our life time. What we can be sure of is that the steps we take today are leading us in the direction of a more just and equitable future. As volunteers, we know that we are making an impact on the communities we serve on a daily basis. We may not know how it will all work out, but we can be assured that as citizens of Chicago, we will have fought well.
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“Is Volunteering the Emperor’s New Clothes,” was a title that we could not resist when visiting Realized Worth on Wednesday morning. In her Hot Topic article, Susan Ellis wonders what, if anything was really accomplished at the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS). Concerned about the role of corporate sponsorship on service, Ms. Ellis asks, “Why is volunteerism up for sale and up for grabs like summer’s most popular fashion?”
In 2011, Chicago Cares engaged nearly 14,000 corporate employees in service to our city. At the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, we worked with Points of Light and Chase to create the Seeds for Change project models that Ms. Ellis calls into question. We’ve taken a few points directly from the article to share some of our thoughts with nonprofits and corporations.
For Our Corporate Partners:
Cause Marketing is NOT volunteering
“It’s good news that high-ranking people are talking about volunteering in all sorts of public forums. The bad news, however, is that each corporation and national organization wants to ‘wear’ volunteerism…for only a moment.”
The vast majority of examples provided in Ms. Ellis’ article are focused on cause marketing, not on actual corporate service.
We will be the first to agree that cause marketing and “Dollars for Doers” types of programs are not ideal for the corporation, the nonprofit or the volunteer. As Realized Worth has already discussed, corporations trying to incentivize service face dwindling employee engagement and minimal measurable impact. Our research has shown that people who volunteer through these types of marketing programs generally don’t return to serve again, which results in sporadic support for the nonprofit.
Philanthropy is not a single act, it is a way of life. Volunteers serve because they have a personal connection to the cause or community they are serving, they don’t come for a cup of coffee. Nonprofits that recruit and train volunteers must embrace this responsibility and provide corporations the expertise to create successful and meaningful service opportunities.
Unfortunately, for many nonprofits, the time and effort needed to build and maintain high-impact volunteer programming remains a struggle due to tight budgets and employees already spread too thin by more pressing needs. This is why organizations like Chicago Cares and other HandsOn affiliates are so important. If a company really wants to make a difference, we can ensure that their actions translate into impact, balancing the interests of the company with the needs of the nonprofit organization. We are already in the community, managing ongoing relationships with organizations, listening to their needs and responding with appropriate project planning, supplies, logistics and curriculum that can best meet those needs.
Real Corporate Service is alive and well…and making an impact!
“Maybe it’s because service is an easy platform for corporations and institutions to gain a halo effect merely by stating a commitment to community involvement – with no risk of being held to promises made or even having to report back any activity at all.”
Every year we work with hundreds of companies of all sorts and sizes. Whether it’s an international conglomerate or a local business, the reason they return year after year has little to do with getting good press. They come back because they appreciate the opportunity to do hands-on work at local schools and social service agencies, they discover their employees are happier and more engaged when they learn to work together through volunteering and they’re inspired by what they can achieve outside of their day-to-day business goals.
The unique benefit that corporate volunteers offer through service is the ability to provide substantial budget relief to local service agencies which allows those organizations to focus their efforts on achieving their mission goals. In the words of Ms. Ellis, “examples abound.”
- Over the course of a single month, Discover’s BT Division was able to mobilize enough volunteers to repaint every client’s bedroom at Little City, a project that would have taken years for the organization to accomplish on their own. Because of Discover’s financial investment, those volunteers also constructed a “Safety Town,” where the Little City community can practice safe behaviors in a controlled environment, creating a greater sense of independence for residents.
- When our partners at the American Indian Center were awarded a grant from the Chicago Blackhawks to build an auditorium for their students, the staff was overwhelmed at the prospect of removing decades of stored items from their third floor space. Hyatt was able to provide enough volunteers to completely clean out the space in a single day, allowing the staff at the American Indian Center to utilize their grant funds more quickly.
- What started as a painting project at a Southside school for Grosvenor employees a few years ago, has grown into a unique relationship between the company and the school. Grosvenor employees continue to help with facilities improvements but they have also started tutoring programs, job skills training, sports camps and museum field trips at a school where over 99% of the students live at or below the poverty level.
Companies are doing more than coming up with slogans, through Corporate Volunteer Programs they are making a real difference in the lives of thousands of Chicagoans.
To Our Nonprofit Community:
If you aren’t reporting, you’re doing it wrong.
“Shouldn’t high profile volunteer promotions be held accountable by someone?”
YES. At Chicago Cares we know that reporting is key to ensuring a quality experience for the volunteer and a lasting impact for the community. Before a project can even begin, it is imperative to have information on the actual needs of the community and an understanding of the obstacles that your project will face. Throughout the entire life cycle of the service initiative, organizations must be keeping track of basic metrics like volunteer show rates, projects completed and cost analysis. Surveys need to be collected that measure the personal experience of the volunteer and the impact perceived by the community. We must include long-range data that asks questions like, “Did the volunteer return, why or why not?” and “Is there any measurable improvement in the community, why or why not?”
Take, for instance, the Seeds for Change program sponsored by Chase which was a central campaign at NCVS this year. We love to share the impact that volunteers had at the hands-on projects which served 3 under-resourced schools in Chicago. At Schmid Elementary in the Pullman neighborhood, volunteers built a learning garden that is part of the principal’s push to encourage healthy living and introduce her students to fresh foods that aren’t always available in this food desert. We started this project by sitting down with the principal and outlining her vision for the school. The community need always comes first.
Thanks to Chase’s support, conference participants had the opportunity to spend the morning volunteering at CPS schools in located in food deserts. Back at the conference center, thousands more helped build garden kits that will be delivered to almost 100 schools so that they can finally use their gardens as learning tools.
We measure the impact of these projects in several ways, including: what was accomplished, how many students will benefit, what will volunteers take away from this experience? We use this data to help improve our programs, to communicate impact to our corporate partners, and to share with the community we are serving. We believe measuring impact is critical to an effective volunteer project, whether volunteers are from community groups or corporations.
We can’t speak to what sort of data was provided to most of the companies that Ms. Ellis mentions in her article. However, if a company is not being provided with accurate and informed reporting after their service initiatives are complete, they need to find a new partner.
Be better than the hype
“…if our goal in the volunteer community is to increase and sustain volunteering over time, promotional campaigns must go beyond hoopla to legitimacy.”
We believe that if the volunteer community wants to increase and sustain volunteering over time, they need to stop focusing on finding the next promotional campaign and start focusing on quality volunteer experiences.
Real volunteers, the people who will become invested in the community and continue to serve, aren’t there to receive a prize, they’re there to make a difference. Whether a volunteer is walking into a project for the first time or the 100th time, it is our responsibility to make sure that when they leave, they know that their time was well-spent. Of course, there are times when we fail but it is exactly those failed experiences that allow us to collaborate with volunteers and partners in finding innovative ways to improve upon the work that we’re doing.
By relying on national ad campaigns to bring volunteers through our doors, we’re selling ourselves and our community short. In a recent survey, nearly all of our volunteer respondents mentioned how much personal fulfillment they receive by donating their time. Being an active part of building stronger communities is a truly transformational experience and that is the story that volunteer service organizations need to do a better job of telling.
If you really don’t believe that the act of giving your time in service to help others is far more powerful than a trip to a theme park or a coupon for free gas, than you are in the wrong business.
So What Do We Do Now?
“There is nothing wrong – and actually quite a bit of good – in many voices repeating the invitation to get involved.”
If you’re a company, don’t settle for a mediocre volunteer program. Chicago Cares, or other volunteer service organizations like us can help you meet your goals in a way that will have a deep impact on you and your community. If you aren’t receiving adequate reporting, start asking for it. If you aren’t being given a quality experience, find a better option. You have the power and the capacity to create a lasting impact in your community, so make sure you’re partnering with people who can help you make it happen.
If you’re a nonprofit organization, take charge. It doesn’t take a lot of money to tell a volunteer’s story or to research the ways that your organization is reaching your community. Improving your volunteer programs can often start with something as simple as running a quick survey to get ideas from the people who are supporting your work through service on a regular basis. Learn from their comments and don’t be afraid to try new things. Every school and agency has a story to tell. If it seems too overwhelming, then find a HandsOn Affiliate to help you recruit and organize volunteers for your programs. Don’t wait for a corporation to inspire your volunteers to serve, go out and do it yourself!
For all of us, the most important thing that we can do is serve. Serve without cynicism. Serve with awe at what we can accomplish when we all work together.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Meet Toyia Hemingway, your Chicago Cares Leader of the Month for July! Toyia works in sales for Moneris Solutions and has been a volunteer leader with Chicago Cares since last year, taking part in Corporate Volunteer Programs and Annual Events. We are proud to have Toyia as our July Leader of the Month.
Chicago Cares: Toyia, can you share with us how long you have been volunteering with Chicago Cares and what project you lead?
Toyia: I am not currently leading a project. I took the leader training last year and my first project was at Lambs Farm. It was so enjoyable that I wanted to do more. (Note: Toyia was most recently a leader for Serve-a-thon)
Chicago Cares: It is wonderful that you are so excited about the communities you volunteer in! What has been your motivation for your commitment to volunteering and leadership?
Toyia: I volunteer because I enjoy it. Chicago is a great city, yet some of our population needs help. None of us can do it all but if we each give back just a little, we can work to make things a better for everyone. I believe that if I can do my part, it will be a start.
Chicago Cares: What has been your favorite project to lead?
Toyia: Lambs Farm, because it was a challenge. It was very physical work on a hot day but it was exhilarating to see the results of our efforts at the end of the day.
Chicago Cares: What advice would you share with others who are interested in becoming a Corporate Volunteer Programs leader?
Toyia: Before the day of the event, become as informed as possible about your project. Read everything, ask questions and become very comfortable with your Chicago Cares Staff member. Once you get on site, talk to the site contacts. Let them get to know you and to become comfortable with you. You are there to help them but you are working with them for a common goal. If you are the project leader, you will need to be comfortable with all aspects of the project and your volunteer leaders. You will be the “go to” person so be as prepared as you can be. You will have a long day but your team will be as enthusiastic as you are, so be sure to set the right tone. Everyone will have fun if you are having fun!
Congratulations to Toyia for being July’s Leader of the Month!
If you are interested in learning more about being a leader with our Corporate Volunteer Programs like Toyia, contact Kim Thomas or call 312.780.0800 ext. 125.
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