The Chicago Cares Celebration of Service is the largest volunteer service event in the city of Chicago honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On January 14, 2012, over 3,000 volunteers will come together and make a difference in the lives of some of Chicago’s most vulnerable citizens. We want you to join us as we keep Dr. King’s dream alive through community service, so here’s a quick  list of what you can expect when you register for Celebration of Service!

1. A Wake-Up Call
Okay, we won’t actually call your house to wake you up, but we’ll do our best to get you excited to serve! We know that January mornings are cold and dark, getting out of bed doesn’t seem like a great idea. Check-in starts at 7:45 am, so we’ll make sure to have plenty of coffee on hand. We also have an awesome ceremony that’s guaranteed to shake off any lingering sleepiness. Chicago’s own FootworKINGz from America’s Best Dance Crew and America’s Got Talent, will get your blood pumping as they show off their unique style of footwork. We’ll also hear the inspiring story of Manuel Scott, whose life was featured in the Hollywood film, Freedom Writers and reminds us that one person can make a difference.

2. A Chance to Kick-It Old School
There’s nothing quite as old-school, as an old school bus. After the ceremony, volunteers board school buses which will provide travel to and from the project site for the day. You’ll be told which bus you should look for during the check-in process. Just like the old days, don’t be shy; the bus ride is a great chance to meet new people who will be serving with  you throughout the day. There will also be a Bus Ambassador riding along with you who will tell you more about where you’re working and what impact your service will have. When you leave your project, your Bus Ambassador will have important information to share and a quick survey for you to fill out so that we can make sure every volunteer is having the best experience possible.

3. A Lot of Praise
Every project, no matter how big or how small, has a team of Volunteer Leaders who will be at the site ready to tell you how amazing you are. Each one of these Volunteer Leaders has spent time getting to know the site and the work needed to make the biggest impact on the lives of the people you are serving. These Volunteer Leaders will be able to explain each step of the project and encourage you as you learn new skills and meet new people. They can see ‘the big picture’, so if they need to redirect you or make a change to the plans for the day, just remember; Volunteer Leaders value your time and they want to make the most of your effort.

4. A Couple More Facebook Friends
Serving together is a great way to meet new people who share your interests. Whether it’s a team from your office, a group from your faith community or just a bunch of random strangers you’ve never seen; working on a project will build your people skills and give you something fun to talk about. Along with your fellow volunteers, you’ll also have the chance to get to know the clients that you’re serving at your site. Whether it’s seniors, students, adults with disabilities or local veterans, you’ll have the chance to hear some great stories and get to know some amazing people.

5. A Few Aches and Pains
Whether it’s a sore throat from calling so many rounds of Bingo, tired legs from running around with young students or an aching arm from rolling gallons and gallons of paint; you’ll spend the day working hard. But those minor aches disappear quickly when you go home knowing that the hours you spent in service made a real impact on the lives of the people that you have met. You’ll want to go home, take a nice hot shower, curl up on the couch with your laptop and sign up for your next Chicago Cares project!

Register today for the Celebration of Service!