Volunteering is more than just a feel-good pastime. It can connect us to new people, causes and our own potential, all the while making in an impact in people’s lives and building a stronger city.

As we gear up for our biggest volunteering day of the year, Serve-a-thon, we’re ’re excited to share stories from Chicago Cares volunteers, staff and supporters about what this concept – I’m Impact – means to them, in 3 short questions.

Today, meet Kevin Strowder, a coordinator in our Youth in Service program, and hear what he has to say about how volunteering can build a stronger Chicago.

Want to share your #ImImpact story? Tweet or Instagram with #ImImpact this week to enter for a chance to win an awesome prize, like a free month of yoga at CorePower or cooking classes for 2 at Whole Foods Market. Click here for details.

kevin strowder

1. What does #ImImpact mean to you?

For me, it means when I’m able to apply my assets and skills to help the greater good. I believe that true impact comes from making fruitful strides towards uplifting and building others the best way you know how. It’s about focusing on the ways in which one can bridge the gaps, meet the need, and acknowledge the importance of serving those who are underserved.

2. What do you think is the biggest impact that comes from volunteering?

Volunteering creates avenues for individuals, no matter their background, to intentionally contribute to the positive advancement of their communities. It instills a sense of ownership and responsibility that encourages people to further support initiatives that aim to remove injustices. I think that volunteering leaves people feeling like champions for the things that they are passionate about.

3. What’s the #1 thing you’d want to tell Chicagoans?

Take pride in the place you call home and cheer others on to do the same. Understand that there are people who struggle to see the beauty in a city like Chicago, for various reasons, but your individual efforts can persuade that. Don’t hide your talents, because every corner of the city can always benefit from one more volunteer.