Each year, we celebrate our volunteers and leaders at the Star Awards Gala. This is our chance to say, thank you, for building a better Chicago through your commitment to the children, seniors, adults and environment of our city. We’re busy searching for our 2012 Star Award winners and we need your help to identify the volunteers and leaders who are making a difference in Chicago and inspiring you to serve!

A Volunteer Star goes above and beyond the call of volunteer duty. He/she is a reliable and devoted volunteer who completes tasks with enthusiasm, is committed to community service, inspires others to serve, and exhibits compassion and sensitivity. In 2011, our Volunteer Star award went to Ildifonso Fuentes.

Ildifonso is tireless. His daily life is busy, yet he makes time to volunteer on a regular basis. He inspires the leaders that he works with through his commitment to making service a priority in his life. Leaders know they can rely on him and that makes a big difference when projects face challenges. He likes to get involved and is extremely committed when he sees that his time and effort are doing good in the community. Ildifonso makes others feel welcome at projects and is always interested in learning something new.

If there’s a volunteer who is inspiring you through service, nominate them for a 2012 Volunteer Star Award!

A Leader Star is a Chicago Cares volunteer who does more than volunteer; he/she manages the volunteer experience, on-site logistics, and implementation of the project while representing Chicago Cares with enthusiasm. The Leader Star has the ability to inspire volunteers, make the project memorable and meaningful for all who participate, and is ready to pitch in wherever needed. Our 2011 Leader Star was Melissa Degleffetti.

Melissa embodies one of the key skills of any Chicago Cares leader: flexibility. Melissa is always willing to help in a variety of ways and is able to adapt to situations and think of innovative solutions when necessary. She serves at a variety of projects and is mindful to involve everyone who is volunteering. She is professional, welcoming, positive, and a great role model for both adult and youth volunteers. Melissa is also very reliable and wants to help in the areas where she can have the most impact. She continues to look for new ways to get involved with Chicago Cares, learning and growing as a volunteer and leader.

If you’ve experienced great direction at a Chicago Cares project, nominate a leader for the 2012 Leader Star Award!