There’s a lot of talk about sustainability these days: environmental sustainability, financial sustainability, sustainable business… but what about sustainable civic participation? We can inspire young people to take an active role in their community by providing meaningful opportunities to serve.

Young people need service opportunities in order to become engaged citizens. Youth who volunteer and participate in service-learning programs are more likely to continue volunteering, vote in the future, develop interest in politics and current events, and have a stronger sense of personal self-worth. While volunteerism is one of many facets of civic involvement, it can strengthen students’ connection to their community and help them develop the values and sense of personal empowerment that helps them become more engaged citizens. It’s a win-win for our youth, our community and our future.

The Chicago Cares Youth in Service program engages students from local schools, nonprofits and other organizations in both ongoing and one-time service projects. Based upon students’ interests, they may serve children at a local elementary school, seniors living in low-income housing, the hungry and homeless, the environment and more.

You can help! Vote for Youth in Service today in a grant competition. Chicago Cares introduces thousands of young people to service each year. By voting and commenting at the Chicago Sun Times Sun Shine Project, you can help Youth in Service win much-needed funds to support the program! Voting is easy, and takes just a few minutes. Here’s how to vote today:

  1. Create a login to the Sun Shine Project’s site, or sign in via Facebook
  2. Search for our organization “Chicago Cares – Youth in Service”
  3. Vote for us by clicking the “thumbs up” button!
  4. Comment about your experiences with Chicago Cares or Youth in Service… what experiences led you to volunteer? Who inspired you to start to volunteering? How has Chicago Cares impacted your life?
  5. Remember to vote today – voting ends on October 9th!

Your vote is crucial to winning the grant, so login today and help Youth in Service! With input from the community, the Trust will fund $500,000 in grants toward non-profit projects that benefit youth in the Chicago region – our project could be one of them!

Here are some comments from supporters just like you:

“Chicago Cares Youth in Service program is doing the meaningful work to help give students the tools to take ownership over their own communities. Important work, done in an amazingly efficient and thoughtful way. So glad to see them up for this wonderful grant.” ~ Katie B

“I think the greatest thing about Youth In Service is their reflection component. Anyone can volunteer their time but this program really seeks to connect the service with a meaningful dialogue that will reverberate with the youth long after their hours of service are complete.” ~ Amy D

“The work that Chicago Cares does greatly affects the communities of Chicago. Its Youth in Service program is greatly influential on the young people in Chicago public schools. It allows them an outlet to create real change in their communities.” ~ Jeff B