We know the feeling.

You’re ready to make a difference, but you’re not quite sure where to start. There are all sorts of wonderful organizations doing amazing things across the city, but which one is right for you? What if you haven’t ever volunteered anywhere before, would an organization still want you?

Have no fear, we are here to tell you that there are vibrant communities throughout the city of Chicago who are looking for people just like you, and getting involved isn’t as difficult as you might think!

1. Do What You Enjoy. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a chore, in fact, we think it should be the highlight of your week! Whether you’re interested in hanging out with students, helping to serve low-income seniors, building sustainable community gardens, or even volunteering with your pet; we’ve got a place for you. Volunteering can be hard work, but if you choose an activity that you enjoy, it can also be incredibly fulfilling.

2. Find a Friend. Serving together is a great way to meet new people. At Chicago Cares, we have special projects called, “Just for Starters.” These projects are specially designed for people who are new to the organization and maybe even new to Chicago. There is a trained leader on-site who will help you with every detail of the project and will also be able to answer your questions about Chicago Cares. Consider joining one of these, “Just for Starters” groups to meet other people who share your interest in service.

3. Don’t Give Up. It’s true, an uncomfortable experience can leave a bad taste in your mouth, and volunteering is no exception. Maybe you didn’t enjoy the activity, or maybe the leader wasn’t quite the right fit with your personality; whatever the reason, don’t give up! There are hundreds of projects available every month, which means you can experience serving with community organizations all around Chicago, without having to commit to just one. Don’t be afraid to take time to find the project, client, organization or leader that you love; it will be worth the wait.

Plenty of people regret that they didn’t do more, but have you ever met someone who wished that they had done less? Stop thinking about volunteering and get out there and do it!

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