Hopefully, you’re registered and ready to join us this Saturday at Serve-a-thon! We’re expecting a beautiful and fun-filled day as we work together to support over 15,000 Chicago Public School students through hands-on service. This year we’re especially excited to be able to host the city’s largest day of service at one of Chicago’s great landmarks, Daley Plaza!

Below is a quick checklist to help you get your day of service off to a great start:

  1. Dress well. This doesn’t mean wear your finest, it means dress well for the work you’ll be doing! There’s a very good chance that you’ll end your day with some paint, glue or mulch on your shoes, so dress comfortably in clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty (please, no open-toed shoes.)
  2. Plan your route. Chicago Cares highly recommends taking public transportation to Daley Plaza. It is easily accessible by most public transit options. However, if you choose to drive, the  Chicago Cares preferred parking partner for Serve-a-thon is InterPark. Reduced fee tickets ($14) will be available at the Daley Plaza information kiosks for volunteers who park at select InterPark garages.
  3. Get some sleep. It’s going to be an exciting and full day, so make sure you hit the hay a little early on Friday night so that you have plenty of energy to accomplish the work ahead of us.
  4. Protect yourself. It’s supposed to be a hot one this Saturday, so make sure you’re prepared to beat the heat. Many Serve-a-thon projects will involve working outside. Apply sunscreen before leaving home and remember to reapply throughout the day. Water will be available at all work sites, so please make sure that you are taking frequent water breaks to stay hydrated!
  5. Pack your lunch. If you pre-ordered your box lunch from Subway, you will be able to pick that up at Daley Plaza after you check-in. If not, please remember to pack a lunch and bring it with you to your site. No lunches will be delivered to project sites, so don’t forget that little brown bag. Chicago Cares will provide dinner back at Daley Plaza after your day of service, remember to pack your ID if you’ll be choosing to partake at the beer garden (21+, with valid ID ONLY!)
  6. Be Kind. Almost everyone serving you on Saturday is a volunteer, just like you. Our Production Assistants are volunteers who get up extra early to make sure that you can check-in, pick up your goodie bag, have your questions answered and find your bus. Our Volunteer Leaders have donated many hours to learn the specific needs of your site and receive specialized training to lead you well. Please be patient when the inevitable bump-in-the-road has you stalled for a moment. We know they’ll do their best to help you have a great day of service.
  7. Know the hashtag. We’ll be live blogging throughout the entire day and we want to know what you’re up to! Use #chicares for your tweet to show up in our live blog feed, or you can mention us @chicagocares. Give details of your project, share an inspiring quote from the site representative or take a picture with some new friends; your participation will help make our blog extra great! To follow the blog or read through it when you get home, visit www.chicagocares.org beginning Saturday morning.
  8. Have an open mind. Whether you’re serving in a neighborhood you’ve never visited, getting to know volunteers who seem different from you or finding someone to sit next to on the bus; you may find yourself in a situation that makes you a bit uncomfortable. Remember, you have well-trained leaders ready to help you at your project site and you’re surrounded by fellow volunteers who, just like you, want to make a difference in Chicago. Take a moment to focus on what is bringing us all together and don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and make a new friend.
  9. Tell us what you think. At the end of the day you’ll be given a short survey, please take the time to fill this out and return it to your Bus Ambassador. We look through each and every one of these surveys, taking all of your feedback under careful consideration. We want to provide you with the most meaningful volunteer experience possible, so need to hear from YOU!
  10. Plan your next project. We hope that participating in Serve-a-thon is just the beginning of a year filled with community service. You can find more than 200 group volunteer opportunities each month on our opportunity calendar.

We can’t wait to see you on Saturday. If you have any other questions, feel free to check out our Serve-a-thon FAQs.