Things are buzzing here at Chicago Cares! We’ve just completed an awesome Serve-a-thon that saw over 5,000 volunteers working together to improve the lives of Chicago Public School students and now we’re gearing up to welcome service leaders from around the country as Chicago hosts Turning Point 2012: The National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS).

A program of Points of Light, NCVS is the world’s largest gathering of volunteer and service leaders from the nonprofit, corporate and government sectors. If your organization deals with volunteers in any capacity, NCVS is an opportunity you don’t want to miss! Here are just a few of the ways that you can take advantage of the resources that will be offered right here in Chicago.

Excellence in education is at the core of all volunteer programs. We know that when students are taught about their community needs and challenged to help address those needs through service learning programs, we are building a foundation of civic-minded adults for the future. These conference sessions will help you discover how service learning curriculum can help us meet the needs of our students and our communities.

Faith Based Volunteer Programs
Working for the common good and caring for others is a sustaining theme for most world religions. Whether you are interested in finding out more about interfaith dialogue, building bridges between faith communities and corporations or using federal programs to help those in need, there are many workshops designed specifically to address the needs of those in faith-based volunteer programs.

Conference workshops are great but sometimes you just need something a little different. Books and Brew are book club-style sessions providing participants with an opportunity to have intimate conversations and discussions with featured authors on new and relevant books for civic engagement practitioners. If you love staying up to date on all of the latest reads about community service, this is a great opportunity to encounter some new material and share lively discussions with others in the field.

The Social Media for Social Good Preconference will cover basic and intermediate levels of social media topics including an introduction to core tools, evaluation, implementation and strategic application. With a mix of presentations, panels and  small group workshops, participants will benefit from learning best practices, hearing from other organizations using these tools effectively, and have a  chance to start building some plans of their own.

The generationOn Youth Summit is a FREE opportunity on Sunday, June 17, which will convene 250 young people for an afternoon of civic dialog and service-learning. Panel discussion with notable youth leaders, leadership development skill building activities and a service project to benefit the local Chicago community! Registration is required for this event and space is limited, so be sure to sign up today!

On a Budget
If you’re like us and serve at a nonprofit, then you’re probably on a budget. Conferences are great but sometimes lack of funds can prevent you from attending. Well, NCVS wants you to be able to join the conversation too! The session, Civics and Service, Helping to Drive Economy through Action, will bring together well-known speakers to discuss how civic engagement can help build a stronger economy, a more highly skilled and versatile workforce and more a productive nation. This session is free, but registration is required.

No matter who you are or what you do, there is something for you at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. We hope to see you there!