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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Referral: Chicago Sinfonietta Concert Hall

Description: Audience Engagement BRIDGE (Bold, Relevant, Dynamic, and Ground-Breaking Engagement), the Sinfonietta’s premier audience engagement series, programs activities before the performances and at intermission to further inform the audience on concert themes. Our hope for these activities is to make everyone feel comfortable in the concert hall no matter their background or experience with classical music. Past activities include: a crowdsourced painting activity hosted by SkyArt, on-site henna tattoo artists, an interactive exhibit from the #LetUsBreathe Collective and more. Volunteers may assist with pre-concert set-up, facilitation of activities, and tear-down of activities. Volunteers are expected to engage the audience by providing positive interactions and conscientious support to benefit the flow of the activities. Through BRIDGE you assist in making each concert a memorable one. Suggested attire: comfortable business casual. Event Support Chicago Sinfonietta hosts several events to raise critical funds for the orchestra. We could not do these events without the help of our amazing volunteers. The main events of the year consist of Prelude (Concert 1), West Suburban Friends Fundraiser (Concert II), Art & Diversity Reception (Concert III), and the Annual Ball (First Saturday in June). Volunteer tasks could include check-in, set-up and tear-down, raffle selling, as well as facilitation of various activities. For example, this year’s Concert II fundraiser will have a photo booth that includes an intricate backdrop, the tasked volunteer will assist with picture taking, as well as maintenance of the backdrop. Often, guests of events will also attend concerts following events and need to check-in with box office prior to the fundraiser. To facilitate the patron’s experience, 1-2 volunteers may be tasked to direct guests to the event. Volunteers should plan to arrive prior to the event, have a flexible and professional attitude, a comfort engaging with patrons, meeting new people, as well as speaking on Chicago Sinfonietta’s In-Office Support Chicago Sinfonietta staff is small, but mighty. Throughout the season, we execute major projects that require more hands at the table. Volunteers must be flexible as tasks could include any of the following: creating donation solicitations, fundraising/subscription mailing support, phone calls, ticketing, and other similar tasks as needed. Shifts may range anywhere between 30 minutes – 4 hours depending on your day-time availability as well as the tasks at hand. Volunteer opportunities are available in both Development and Marketing. You must have great attention to detail as well as strong organizational skills, any other skills you’d like to flex are also greatly appreciated. If volunteering in the office interests you, please let us know so that we can discuss your availability further. Impact: Chicago Sinfonietta is an award-winning professional orchestra. All of our concerts are specifically curated to include modern repertoire by those typically excluded from classical music. We pride ourselves in creating unique collaborations that highlight other art forms and providing a one-of-a kind concert experience. Sinfonietta concerts and events would not be possible without the help of our talented group of volunteers. Our volunteers truly embody our mission and we are so grateful for your support! Location(s): Chicago Sinfonietta Office: 70 E. Lake Street Symphony Center: 220 South Michigan Avenue Wentz Concert Hall: 171 E. Chicago Ave. Naperville, IL 60540 Our volunteer opportunities can and have varied. Please contact us for more information! Requirements volunteers must complete to serve: Contact us with your interest and we will inform you of what volunteer duties are available. All training is done onsite at event and in the office. ***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 9/30/20

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

Referral: Kit Packing and Delivery for Street Samaritans

Our outreach events include about 50 volunteers, and every month serve between 200 and 300 people experiencing homelessness. Our volunteers meet at 1 pm at TechNexus one Sunday each month to package and sort care packages. These packages include all of our donated items; everything from clothes to toothpaste and snacks. Then we get into groups with a team lead and divide the downtown area into zones to pass out the supplies and talk with people experiencing homelessness to figure out how we can connect these individuals to the resources they need in the Chicago area.

Chicago, IL

Through 8/29/21

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: Casa Central - Activity Aid

Description Activity Aide volunteers will assist in the education and general development of children ages 2-5 years old in the Early Learning Academy. General responsibilities include conducting activities such as reading to children, storytelling, arts and crafts, puzzles, leading games or exercise activities. Other responsibilities may include serving and clean-up of breakfast, lunch, and snack, helping with set-up and clean-up of activities and assisting teachers with daily planned activities. Impact Activity aide volunteers in the Early Learning Academy serve as positive role models for the children and provide them with a positive relationship with an adult. Through volunteerism, children are able to receive individual attention to monitor their unique developments and educational needs. Ultimately, volunteers inspire curiosity and life-long learning in Chicago’s under-resourced youth by enhancing their learning and ensuring they are prepared with knowledge and skills to successfully transition into kindergarten and excel. Casa Central depends on its volunteers to ensure they continue providing award-winning, trustworthy care and education. Volunteer Activity Type Crafting Physical Activity Reading/Literacy Great For Individuals (people who come on their own) Groups (volunteers who come in a group) 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 Training Meeting <2 hours Application Medical Exam Shots (TB, Tetanus, etc.) Background Check (fingerprinting and background by DCFS) Other - Requirements are dependent on if the volunteer is on-going (more than 15 hours). If less than 15 hours, only application and copy of photo ID are required. If more than 15 hours, requirements marked are needed. Contact for more information or to serve Alessandra DeChancie Email: adechancie@casacentral.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 10/1/20

Referral: Casa Central - After School Tutor

Description Seeking volunteers to serve as on-going tutors and mentors for the youth in Casa Central's School Age Program (SAP), children ages 6-12, and La Posada’s After School Age Program (ASAP), children ages 6-17. Youth in SAP are from low-income families and youth in ASAP are part of families experiencing homeless and reside in Casa Central's interim housing program, La Posada. Volunteers will primarily assist with completing homework assignments and engage in daily planned activities and games. There will be opportunity to develop and they will support program staff with any other additional needs. Impact Volunteer outcomes include improving study habits as well as academic skills and attitudes of Chicago’s economically disadvantaged youth. With the support of on-going tutor/mentors, children can enhance their social and personal skills, and develop the necessary math, literacy, and computer skills to succeed in school. Ultimately, volunteers support youth with a positive example of a healthy relationship and help them develop important life skills. When Monday - Friday Afternoons Volunteer Activity Type Homework Help Activities & Games 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.) Requirements for Service Training Meeting <2 hours Application Medical Exam Shots (TB, Tetanus, etc.) Background Check (fingerprinting and background by DCFS) Other - Must be able to provide social security number and copy of photo ID Contact for more information or to serve Alessandra DeChancie Email: adechancie@casacentral.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 10/1/20

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