Star Award recipients with Chicago Cares co-founder Leslie Bluhm and Founders Award recipient Kris Smart
Star Award recipients with Chicago Cares co-founder Leslie Bluhm and Founders Award recipient Kris Smart

A magical evening filled with dancing, music, a photo booth, amazing food, and a rather large assortment of do-gooders. What more could you ask for? This year’s Cheers to Our Volunteers event took place on Monday, November 26th at the Four Seasons hotel. Every year we honor our amazing volunteer community, and we highlight and celebrate those who have gone above and beyond the call of service.

This year we had dozens of nominations. More than I have seen in the last three years that I have been involved with the planning of this event. All together, our nominees have given over 4,000 hours of service to Chicago Cares and our partner agencies. To put that into perspective, 4,000 hours is about 167 days or roughly five and a half months. During this time our nominees have fed the hungry, tutored children, created beautiful outdoor spaces, comforted the lonely, and so much more.

Out of those who were nominated, six were given awards. Winners we determined by a group of staff, past winners, and board members. This year’s winners were: Donna Caranto, Leader Star; Courtney McCormick, Volunteer Star; Ellen Newcomer, Ambassador Star; Chicago Urban League, Youth in Service Star; St. Leonard’s Ministries, Community Partner Star; and Discover Financial Services, Corporate Partner Star. To learn more about this year’s stars, watch our video that highlights the winners.

But this was not just a time to celebrate our Star Award winners and nominees. Every year we at Chicago Cares take one night to celebrate YOU! We celebrate our entire community. From the sites that we partner with, to the corporations and companies we work with, to the students we mentor, to the volunteers and leaders who assist us with fulfilling our mission of service. We celebrate you because it is you who inspires us to keep making Chicago a stronger community.
And for that we want to say thank you and CHEERS TO YOU!

A special thank you goes out to everyone who donated books during our Cheers to Our Volunteers book drive. If you would like to donate a book to support our new Read-with-Me programs, please check out our Amazon wishlist to see the list of requested books.