Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A New Year's Resolution to Volunteer in the Neighborhood

A reader writes:
Hi Sloopin,

One my new years resolutions is to give back more, so I have been looking for some place to volunteer. I am not aware of many organizations that are active in the neighborhood and I'm hoping that you and your readers can help. As a working professional, I am looking for something that has evening or weekend volunteer hours. I tried looking at Chicago Cares but they didn't seem to have much in our neighborhood. I like the idea of working at children, immigrants or adult education, but really I'm open to anything. Are there any volunteer opportunities that I can try?
This is the type of email we love to see at Sloopin! First off, last year we did a post about literacy tutors at the Mercy Housing Lakefront building at 1521 S. Wabash. That might be a good option.

Does anyone else have some ideas for reader with great intentions?

Good luck and thanks for the email.
(Hat tip: B!)


Clarissa Earl said...

After seeing this post I did a little research and found some great service opportunities in the South Loop. Working at the Hostelling International Chicago location looks particular exciting!

Some ideas include:

Changing Worlds - a nonprofit organization that promotes writing, art, and oral cultural history (changingworlds.org)

Clarke and Glessner House Museums - Train to become a volunteer docent or volunteer your time completing curatorial tasks (glessnerhouse.org)

Hostelling International (Chicago location) - This unique, nonprofit organization offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities such as being a tour guide for hostel residents, working in the cultural kitchen, and serving as a community liaison (hichicago.org)

Anonymous said...


juliette said...

Some of the local churches organize volunteer events. There are food pantry volunteer opportunities through Old St. Mary's which are open to the community.

Anonymous said...

I have kids I don't have time for volunteering

Anonymous said...

The Anti Cruelty Society in River North is a short walk from South Loop. Their volunteer hours are 8am to 8pm every day of the year! If you can't make it to the shelter, they also have a ton of at-home opportunities to collect and make supplies for the shelter. Check out their website for details.

aaron said...

Try Minds Matter of Chicago (http://mindsmatterchicago.org/). We work with low-income high school students in Chicago to help them prepare for college.

While not technically in the South Loop, our weekly sessions are held on Saturdays just north at Plymouth and Jackson. As an added bonus (!!), we've got session this coming week at Grace Place (637 S. Dearborn), so you can check it out in your neighborhood!

Adam said...

The St. James food pantry feeds ~2000 families a month. They have won several awards from the Greater Chicago Food Depository for being an outstanding organization...



Anonymous said...

@aaron, what is the timing for the event at Grace Place. I would like to check it out. Do I need to register?

aaron said...

@ anonymous.

If you stop by at noon, you can check out our session. There will already be mentors working with the students, so you won't have an opportunity to "do" anything on Saturday, but you can definitely get a sense of what the organization is all about.

If you'd rather set up something more formal, you can email our directors of volunteers at mmchicago.mentors@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

Why don't people volunteer to pick up after their dogs.

I can't wait to catch someone in the act...