Volunteer Referral Program

In order to meet more of our city’s volunteer needs, Chicago Cares offers a platform for volunteer recruitment to our community partners. The following volunteer opportunities come highly recommended by Chicago Cares and can accommodate a variety of interests including group volunteers.

Please note Chicago Cares does not manage the following volunteer projects. Chicago Cares is not liable for injuries, loss, or damage at referral projects. No Chicago Cares staff will be present or coordinate logistics for these events. Chicago Cares is also not able to verify volunteer hours spent at referral projects.  Please request verification directly from the referral partner. 

Interested in submitting a volunteer opportunity to be posted on our referral calendar? Please fill out our Memorandum of Understanding and Project Description forms and send to info@chicagocares.org. Please note that we do ask for 3 - 4 weeks' notice for referral opportunities.

Community and Economic Development

These volunteer opportunities promote economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Activities listed here may include public art installation, workforce development, and ESL tutoring for adult students.

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Garden Beautification with ChicaGRO

Beautifying the gardens for the winter months; pulling up weeds; spreading wood chips; filling raised bed boxes with new compost; Volunteers are needed for three locations: 6404 S. Honore Mon-Fri 10am- 2pm; 8452 S. Escanaba Ave, Sat 10am – 4pm; 7924 S. Escanaba Ave, Sun 10am – 2pm.

Chicago, IL

10/24/20 10:00 AM + more

Referral: Upcycling Colors Workshop

Description Bring a group (up to 100 people) to our location or host an event at your company (unlimited number of participants) … and help us RESCUE leftover (used/new) ART, CRAFT & SCHOOL SUPPLIES … TRANSFORM them into LIKE-NEW TREASURES and BRING them to UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES in Chicago and around the world. Impact Team Building activities with an impact in the environment and education. Upcycling supplies that otherwise would have ended up in landfills will support art/project-based learning programs. You will enable to spark creativity to many children around the world who have never seen a crayon before, paint or even play board games. Join Upcycling Colors movement! Volunteer Activity Type From testing writing utensils, to cutting out stickers, to sorting crayons, to transforming used coloring and activity boos, to putting together treasure boxes, and more! Great For Groups (volunteers who come in a group) When & Where Ongoing – Monday to Sunday – Morning, Afternoon, Evening 1730 N Clark Street Chicago IL 60614 Contact Mariela for more information or to serve at mariela@upcyclingcolors.org or by calling 312.887.1619 ***This is a Referral Opportunity through Chicago Cares. Chicago Cares does not manage the volunteer experience for these projects and volunteers are subject to each partner organization's volunteer protocol. Chicago Cares is not liable for injuries, loss, or damage at referral projects. No Chicago Cares staff will follow up with you about the logistics for this program, however a staff person from the managing organization will be responsible for doing so.***

Chicago, IL

Through 10/31/20

Adult Literacy Volunteer Tutor

Description The Adult Literacy Volunteer Tutor works one-on-one with an adult student who is looking to further their education. We serve adults who want to learn English (ESL) or study adult basic education (ABE), up to PreGED level. The Volunteer Tutor would be matched with an appropriate student and meet with them for about 2 hours a week at HACC or a public location to study. We require at least a 6 month commitment from the Volunteer Tutor. Impact What impact will volunteers make if they decide to come to your organization? Think about why you need volunteers in the first place and what they mean to your organization. Our Adult Literacy Program helps adult learners develop their English language, literacy and math skills, that will enable them to succeed as parents, community members, and labor force participants. Howard Area Community Center (HACC) is committed to sustaining and improving volunteer supported adult literacy in the Rogers Park and West Ridge neighborhoods and surrounding communities. The program meets the needs of the low and intermediate level learners in our community. Our adult learners include immigrants and refugees, individuals reentering society from the corrections system, those with limited education or low income, or a combination of these factors. When & Where Howard Area Community Center, 7648 N Paulina Street,Chicago, IL,60626 *Tutoring sessions can also be held at public locations such as libraries or coffee shops.* If the location is sensitive or varies, please list neighborhood(s) volunteers will be working in. Volunteer Activity Type Health & Wellness, Education Great For Individuals (people who come on their own) New Volunteers (people who have never volunteered before) Committed Volunteers (people who can come on a regular basis) Skilled Volunteers (pro bono work, volunteers with a specific skill set, etc.) Older Volunteers (volunteers aged 55 and older Requirements for Service - Application - Training Meeting < 2 Hours - 16 hours of tutor training over two Saturdays Contact for more information or to serve: Stephanie Minich Email:sminich@howardarea.org ***This is a Referral Opportunity through Chicago Cares. Chicago Cares does not manage the volunteer experience for these projects and volunteers are subject to each partner organization's volunteer protocol. Chicago Cares is not liable for injuries, loss, or damage at referral projects. No, Chicago Cares staff will follow up with you about the logistics for this program, however a staff person from the managing organization will be responsible for doing so.***

Chicago, IL

Through 1/13/21

Education and Youth

Positive youth development and education is vital to healthy neighborhoods. The following volunteer projects may include tutoring elementary students and mentoring college applicants.

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Referral: Set Up for Spooky Blast Haunted Garden

Imagine Englewood if... you volunteered at the Spooky Blast on Halloween! Spooky Blast is Imagine Englewood if's annual Halloween event in efforts to provide a safe space for youth and their families to celebrate this holiday in peace and unity. This year, we will host our Spooky Blast on October 31st from 5pm-8pm in the Jean Carter Hill Community Garden. In order to bring this "spooktacular" event to light, we need volunteers like you to join in on the fun and help bring some smiles, candy, and frights to youth in Englewood. Volunteers will help with setting up for the event, which includes transforming the Jean Carter-Hill Garden into a "Haunted" garden as well as breaking down the event. Can't Volunteer but Can Donate? IEi is also looking for the following donations to support this event: Pumpkins, Candy & Snacks (individually wrapped), Halloween Decorations, Gift Cards, Pumpkin Carving Tools, and Carnival Games. To donate, you can get in contact with IEi through email info@imagineenglewoodif.org or check out www.imagineenglewoodif.org. 

Chicago, IL

10/31/20 2:00 PM

Referral: Volunteer at Spooky Blast Haunted Garden

Imagine Englewood if... you volunteered at the Spooky Blast on Halloween! Spooky Blast is Imagine Englewood if's annual Halloween event in efforts to provide a safe space for youth and their families to celebrate this holiday in peace and unity. This year, we will host our Spooky Blast on October 31st from 5pm-8pm in the Jean Carter Hill Community Garden. In order to bring this "spooktacular" event to light, we need volunteers like you to join in on the fun and help bring some smiles, candy, and frights to youth in Englewood. There are four different types of volunteers needed for this event. Decorating/Set up Crew: Help to set up and clean up event (arrives at 2pm- Sign up for this role through "the Set Up for Spooky Blast Haunted Garden" opportunity on our calendar) Haunted Garden Volunteer: Must dress in spooky costume (arrives at 3pm) Trunk or Treat Volunteer: Must have a vehicle (arrives at 3pm) Event Volunteer: Help facilitate games and other event tasks as needed (arrives at 3pm) Can't Volunteer but Can Donate? IEi is also looking for the following donations to support this event: Pumpkins, Candy & Snacks (individually wrapped), Halloween Decorations, Gift Cards, Pumpkin Carving Tools, and Carnival Games. To donate, you can get in contact with IEi through email info@imagineenglewoodif.org or check out www.imagineenglewoodif.org.

Chicago, IL

10/31/20 3:00 PM

Referral: WINGS Program, Safe House - Kid Groups

Description At the Safe House, there are weekly groups for the kids in the evenings. The evenings have different themes. For example; one night could be game night, one night could be focused around the theme of cooperation. A staff member will plan the activities. Volunteers participate in the activities to provide the children with more individual attention. Because the age ranges of the kids vary widely, often a smaller group is formed to adapt to the activity to the age group. However, ratios sometimes vary due to the unpredictable nature of families in this situation. This is a great opportunity for people who enjoy very young children. Often there are enough babies and toddlers to designate a “nursery” where the volunteer assistant will comfort and cuddle the littlest ones, or read books and play with toddlers. This might be a good fit for you if: You enjoy being with children of all ages. You are fun-loving and enjoy participating in games and crafts. You are flexible and able to respond to changing situations. You have strong personal boundaries and are able to demonstrate those to children. You are interested in being a role model and teacher to the children in the areas of social skills, conflict resolution and respecting boundaries. You feel good when you are helping others. You feel comfortable working with people in a diverse environment in regards to social-economic status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. You are non-judgmental about why families are in a situation where they are in need of help. Impact Volunteer with help support our mission of ending Domestic Violence When & Where Tuesday & Thursday Evenings, 6pm-8pm. Located close to the midway airport area. Great for Committed Volunteers (people who can come on a regular basis) Partner Information The mission of WINGS Program, Inc. is to provide housing, integrated services, education and advocacy to end domestic violence. At WINGS they believe that everyone has the potential and strength to overcome difficult life circumstances and to accomplish goals that will lead to an enhanced quality of life. WINGS is committed to treating each woman and child in a respectful and compassionate manner while valuing the unique qualities and needs of each family. Requirements volunteers must complete to serve Interview Application Training Meeting >2 hours Background Check Other - Need to complete a 40 hour Domestic Violence training ***This is a Referral Opportunity through Chicago Cares. Chicago cares does not manage the volunteer experience for these projects and volunteers are subject to each partner organization's volunteer protocol. Chicago Cares is not liable for injuries, loss, or damage at referral projects. No Chicago Cares staff will follow up with you about the logistics for this program, however, a staff person from the managing organization will be responsible for doing so.***

Carrollton, TX

Through 11/26/20

Referral: Code Nation

Description Code Nation equips students in under-resourced high schools with the skills, connections, and experiences that together create access to careers in technology. Code Nation is seeking web and software developers to be classroom teachers in our Intro to Web Development Course. We place teams of 4 developers at each of our schools sites. Volunteers commit to teaching 2x a week for the full school year (Sept-May), either in the morning during the school day or during after school hours. Volunteers receive ongoing training & support and have access to a ready-to-deliver curriculum that includes HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Impact Volunteers will teach, mentor, and inspire the next generation of technologists. Volunteers will contribute to diversity and inclusion efforts in the tech industry while joining a local and national community of 300+ civically-minded tech professionals. Volunteers will grow their own technical and professional skills! Requirements for Service Application Training Meeting Background check (CPS background check) Contact Shane Morris for more information at shane.morris@codenation.org For general infomation, please see codenation.org ***This is a Referral Opportunity through Chicago Cares. Chicago Cares does not manage the volunteer experience for these projects and volunteers are subject to each partner organization's volunteer protocol. Chicago Cares is not liable for injuries, loss, or damage at referral projects. No Chicago Cares staff will follow up with you about the logistics for this program, however a staff person from the managing organization will be responsible for doing so.**

Chicago, IL

Through 12/31/20

Wellness and Safety

These volunteer opportunities strengthen communities’ ties and help Chicagoans meet basic needs. Activities may include food distribution at a local pantry or weeding to maintain a local garden.

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Referral: First St. Paul's Lutheran Church Community Meal Serving

Description Each Saturday, St. Paul Church serves a hot, healthly meal to people in need, often homeless, in the community. The church typically has 80-120 guests. St. Paul provides food ingredients, supplies, and space in the fellowship hall. Volunteers from the congreation and community arrive at 9:00 AM to prepare the meal in the kitchen, serve at 11:00, and clean up from noon until about 12:30. Volunteers should expect to be on their feet for the 3.5 hours, and many of the tasks require physical energy. The experience is satisfying to volunteers and greatly appreciated by our guests. About 3 to 5 occasional volunteers are needed every week to supplement the teams, as it takes about 10 people to prepare and serve the meal within the tight timeframe. Impact The church has been serving this community meal every Saturday for nearly three decades. Regular volunteers are organized into six teams, so they come once every six weeks. Occasional volunteers are needed every week to supplement the teams, as it takes about 10 people to prepare and serve the meal within the tight timeframe. Volunteer Activity Type Food Preparation and Meal Services Great For 3-5 Individuals (people who come on their own) Groups (volunteers who come in a group of no more than 6) New Volunteers (people who have never volunteered before) Committed Volunteers (people who can come on a regular basis) Older Volunteers (volunteers aged 55 and older) Requirements for Service Training Meeting < 2 hours Contact for more information or to serve Arlene Dahm at communitymeals@fspauls.org ***This is a Referral Opportunity through Chicago Cares. Chicago Cares does not manage the volunteer experience for these projects and volunteers are subject to each partner organization's volunteer protocol. Chicago Cares is not liable for injuries, loss, or damage at referral projects. No Chicago Cares staff will follow up with you about the logistics for this program, however a staff person from the managing organization will be responsible for doing so.***

Chicago, IL

Through 12/31/20