imageThis year, Chicago Cares has had the opportunity to partner with Mercy Housing in many incredible ways: we started two new ongoing children’s programs, hosted Cbeyond for a corporate volunteer event, and facilitated the World’s Fair activities for Celebration of Service.

A few weeks ago, corporate volunteers from Cbeyond committed their afternoon to Mercy Housing, providing hours of work in the community garden. Volunteers worked in the warm spring sun to build two new planter beds, clean out existing beds and prepare the garden for their amazing community garden.

imageDuring summer months, students and residents tend to the garden, selling much of the produce to neighbors and local businesses. In addition to the hours of help provided by Cbeyond volunteers, “Mercy Housing saved more than $2000 in mulch and other garden supplies; money that can now be spent on more books and school supplies for the 30 students participating in after-school programs at the site,” said Resident Services Manager Whitney Nash. Cbeyond will return to Mercy Housing in October, working to improve the community center where the after-school programs meet.

imageCbeyond volunteers are just a few of many volunteers who’ve impacted the children at Mercy Housing this year. Individual volunteers spent every Thursday evenings at Read-with-Me and Kids Create, reading books and creating unique art projects with the after-school students at Mercy Housing.

Volunteers logged more than 160 hours of enrichment to the children, providing encouragement, support, and individual attention that the children so deserve. Because of these programs, staff members at Mercy Housing are able to focus their after-school classes on reading, writing, and math skills knowing that the art component was covered by Chicago Cares.

While our ongoing school programs ended on May 31st, volunteers have the opportunity to attend Garden Explorers at Mercy Housing this summer, where they’ll help the students tend the garden and then participate in a garden-related activity.

We hope you’ll come see for yourself how great our partnership is with Mercy Housing this summer or fall!