Marc Levy has been a proud Chicago Cares volunteer since April 9, 2011. Below are some of his ruminations following his acceptance of a Chicago Cares Star Award earlier this week.

Marc accepting his Chicago Cares Ambassador Star Award
Marc accepting his Chicago Cares Ambassador Star Award

Recently, I was honored to receive Chicago Cares’ Ambassador Star Award at their Annual Cheers to Our Volunteers celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel.

This award prompted an opportunity to reflect on my involvement with Chicago Cares. I began volunteering on a spring day in 2011 and have since logged over 650 volunteer hours. In this time, I’ve increasingly realized that each volunteer has a clear impact on our communities: cooking a meal for someone in need, distributing groceries to someone who’s hungry, fostering a child’s love of reading…

I have learned over time, however, that it is the uncountable intangibles that also reveal impact, like the countless times I hear a genuine and heartfelt “thank you.” I have heard it at elementary schools. I have heard it on Little League fields and basketball courts, in food pantries and soup kitchens and shelters. I have heard “thank you” in this city as far south as Englewood, as far north as Rogers Park, and as far west as Austin.

No matter where you go, you soon discover that, despite any differences in class, ethnicity, religion or age, volunteering has the transcendent power to make us feel so closely connected to one another. Last night, and each time I volunteer, I am reminded what an absolute privilege it is to serve. If you haven’t volunteered with Chicago Cares, sign up for a project. If you have volunteered with Chicago Cares, sign up again. Because as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”

What’s been your greatest “intangible moment” volunteering? Tell us @chicagocares using #MyChi.