The last bell of the day has just rung at one of our partner high schools. As a sea of students is swarming out of the building, I’m battling the current to get in, I sneak in through the doors, wave hello to the security guard and make my way down to room 115. I arrive to find a group of students waiting for everyone to arrive, catching up with each other from the long day of school. As I walk in, several students by the door turn and say hello- not necessarily remembering my name, but remembering that I’m that girl from Chicago Cares. I check in with their advisor, an English teacher at the school who volunteers her time after school to sponsor their group and then we dive in.

“So, tell me a little bit more about what it is you want to do- work with seniors right?” I ask. The group goes on to answer a series of questions and explains to me that they’d like to plan a volunteer project where they will be working with senior citizens, preparing a healthy breakfast and educating the seniors about healthy food choices. This group of students first did something like this over the summer and have decided to create their own club so they can continue learning about how to make an impact in their community. Over the course of the next hour, we brainstorm together creative ways to interact with seniors while offering education about healthy food choices.

We wrap up the session with plans for the group to continue its planning over the next few weeks. Before leaving I thank them for their time, their ideas and their creativity. This group, while exceptional, is not an exception- there are student groups all over the city who desire to learn more about ways to make an impact in their community.

Your vote for Chicago Cares- Youth in Service program in the Chicago Sun Times Sun Shine Project contest puts us one step closer to further funding that will allow us to continue reaching out to groups of kids and teens, helping them to change their world. Voting ends by October 9, so we need your help now! 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!

Today’s post is from Senior Manager of Youth in Service, Katie Clendenning