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Volunteer Opps

Cheering for and Volunteering with The White Sox

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

Showing off my #SoxSidePride

Baseball season is back and I am so ready to root root root for the White Sox! While on the website this morning, I learned about the White Sox Volunteer Corps that consists of fans and players. The team created the Corps in response to Sox Fan-in-Chief President Obama’s call for Americans to better their communities through service. What’s so cool about this is that everyone from the staff to the players link up with folks like me to make a lasting impact within the community. Past projects have supported the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the American Red Cross.

More than 5,400 Sox fans and community-focused Chicagoans have signed up for the Volunteer Corps since its inception and GUESS WHAT? I just signed up and am anxiously awaiting the first project of the season. If you’re a fellow Sox fan looking to make a difference, all you have to do is sign up here.

Just another reason to cheer on Chicago’s BEST baseball team. Does your favorite team have a similar volunteer initiative?

~kb

Celebrating a National Day of Service

Volunteer Opps

One of Dr. King’s greatest legacies was his commitment to service. In honor of this legacy and make a difference, communities across the country will recognize Saturday as a National Day of Service.

In the video below, First Lady Michelle Obama talks about her family’s commitment to community service and learn how you can join the effort. If you’re heading to DC this weekend, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will host a wide range of volunteering events in Washington, DC and across the country. Find out how you can get involved here.

 

I need to check out the website myself and find a volunteer opportunity here in Chicago. Chicago Cares usually hosts a citywide service event so fingers crossed that still happens. If not, I will definitely make it work. I can find a service project anywhere. Trust me on that one!

-kb

Monday Motivation: Volunteer!

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

Welcome to National Volunteer Month! You guys should know by now that I don’t need a designated month to discuss the importance of serving our communities but I’ll take any platform that I can get.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in February that over 64 million people volunteered with at least one organization between September 2010 and September 2011. And, of those volunteers, the average person served over 50 hours. You shouldn’t need a calculator to know that’s a whole of of impact being made! If you’ve volunteered in the past year, then you should give yourself a little applause!

I can come up with SEVERAL reasons why I volunteer but I’ll only share my top 3 (for now).

  1. A wise person once said that “Service is the price that we pay for the space that we occupy.” Agree 1000%.
  2. I’ve been blessed to be on the receiving end of many generous acts and have witnessed the transformative power of selfless service. I volunteer to pass that feeling on to others.
  3. It gives me a chance to meet people who I never would have known and do things that I never would had the chance to do.

Since my 53 hour service challenge, I haven’t had the chance to do much volunteer work so it’s time for me to break out another service challenge. I’m going to challenge myself to log 10 hours of service during National Volunteer Week!.

Who is ready to volunteer this month? *raises hand*

-kb

Challenge Update: Not Quite 53…

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

Today is January 4th, otherwise known as my mother’s birthday and my deadline for completing my 53-hour service challenge. Well, the GREAT news is that in 3 weeks, I was able to log 43 hours of community service (yay!), but I didn’t hit my goal of 53 (not-so-yay). However, I am not a quitter so I’m extending my challenge through MLK Weekend which is perfect because Chicago Cares is hosting their annual MLK Serve-a-Thon on Saturday, January 14th. I also have some service projects lined up next week, so these 10 hours will be a breeze!

Volunteering with Family on Christmas Day

I have to thank everyone who has sent me volunteer opportunities and connected me with some amazing organizations. For those wondering what 43 hours of community service looks like, below are some bullets to satiate your curiosity!

– 14 games of bingo with friendly seniors

– Over 200 year-end donor mailers assembled, stuffed, and sealed at the MS Society

– 225 delicious cookies packaged at the Misercordia bakery

– Helping to assemble food baskets and greet over 1400 families at “Christmas at The ‘Ship”

– Two great conversations at a transitional residence for homeless individuals

– Wrapping over 500 set of plasticware at the Salvation Army on Christmas

As promised, I did take some photos along the way and you can find them on my Facebook page. Being on this challenge journey has been incredibly fulfilling for me. At one point, I felt like I was getting hooked to the feeling of helping…Not like in a compulsive way though! Anyways, once I complete this challenge, I’m going to think of one that we can all do together. What do you guys think? Would you be interested in a giving/volunteer challenge?

If so, let me know and I’ll put something together! In the meantime, stay tuned as I wrap up my goal!

-kb

What Do Bingo and Cereal Have in Common?

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

Happy Monday, folks! Did you all have a great weekend? I had a great Saturday with a not-so-great Sunday thanks to a nagging cold and an agonizing Bears loss. But, it’s all good today. It’s a sunny 40 degrees in Chicago, which we will definitely take considering that it’s the middle of December!

On Saturday, I participated in two service projects which I discovered on the Chicago Cares website. The first was Birthday Bingo at a senior apartment building down the street from me, and the other was repackaging bulk food at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Can I tell you guys how much fun I had at with the seniors? Some people think that it’s weird but I actually enjoy hanging with seniors. They actually remind me of my mom. Does that sound weird? My sister knows what I mean. But, yes…Before we got underway with the bingo, the Chicago Cares Carolers stopped by and sang some of my favorite holiday songs. I didn’t even know that they had carolers! I’m definitely going to do that next year.

"Deck the halls..."

Moving on to bingo, I have to tell you guys that calling numbers is not as easy as I thought. There is so much pressure to be loud, don’t read them too fast, to be entertaining, and most importantly, to call the right number! The residents went easy on me though. After about eight games of bingo and a couple of slices of red velvet cake, it was time to leave but I promised to return next month. It’s right down the street…I have no excuse. And, I had FUN!

At the Food Depository, our group was one of many who had signed up to help that day, including a large team from J.P. Morgan Chase. They worked on the massive warehouse floor, while the smaller groups were charged with repacking 3000 lbs of cereal into 8oz bags for Chicago families. Our goal was to make 2000 bags, so with our hair nets, aprons, and gloves we got busy. I was a “weigher,” meaning that it was my job to weigh each bag and adjust the amount as necessary before handing to my “taper.” We worked like a well-oiled machine to accomplish the task. In 2.5 hours (give or take), our group actually packaged over 2,800 bags of cereal! I believe that the exact total was 2,866. Whoo hoo!

How do I look?

When I got in my car, I took a moment and smiled. It’s amazing what a couple of hours can mean to an individual, a group of seniors, or a community of needy families. This service challenge is totally restoring my soul and putting me in the right mindset as I get ready for 2012. This past week, I logged 6 hours of service, and I have 22 hours scheduled this week. I took today off of work and am heading to the MS Society to volunteer for the day, then off to a school this evening to help with their library restoration project.

As always, please continue to send volunteer opportunities my way! And, keep checking the blog and my Facebook page for recaps, updates, and photos.

-kb

P.S. I promise to take more pictures…Don’t you guys worry! 🙂

CHALLENGE: 53 Hours of Holiday Service

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

Image: TimeOut New York

Last week, I announced that I am challenging myself to clock 53 hours of community service between now and Wednesday, January 4th. Everyone was incredibly supportive, but many wondered why. Well, it’s no secret that I lost my mother in 2008 after a long bout with multiple sclerosis. On January 4, 2012, she would’ve turned 53 so there’s the reasoning behind that. My mother loved to help others. She tutored foster kids when we were younger and even won a national award from Volunteers for America in recognition of her service. She taught Sunday School, worked in the sign language ministry at church, and always seemed to have a supportive word for those around her. Simply put…she is the original Fabulous Giver and at this moment in my life, I can’t think of a better tribute.

I’m also so happy that my sister has joined the challenge as well. On a daily basis, we have phone meetings discussing what projects we have signed up for and how well we’re tracking. It’s fun and a little nerve-wracking! But, we’re getting there…and come hell or high water, we will reach our goal. Some of the projects that we’ve signed up for already include:

-Packing food boxes at the Greater Chicago Food Depository

-Teaching adult computer skills to women recently released from prison

-Passing out food and toys to those in the community

-Assisting with a mailing project at the MS Society

-Hanging with seniors at a local community center

-Gift-wrapping gifts for kids in need

-Serving at a Salvation Army location on Christmas

There are other service projects that we are participating in, but we need more! If you or your organization can use a couple of hands (especially on nights and weekends), let me know! Thanks again to everyone for their support…’Tis the season to be a great servant!

-kb

Four Fun Volunteer Projects for the Summer

Living & Giving, Volunteer Opps

Summertime always turns me into one happy camper, especially after surviving the long Chicago winter. With the warmer weather comes plenty of opportunities to have fun outdoors, but it’s also a good time to look into volunteer opportunities off the beaten path. Here are four fun summer volunteer projects to help you have a “Summer of Service.”

1. Tend to a community garden. Even if you can’t keep a houseplant alive, you can redeem yourself tending to a garden in your neighborhood. Plant trees, water the flowers, or pluck weeds. They are all ways to keep the grounds looking great and even work up a little sweat!

Millennium Park – Chicago

2. Become a tour guide at a local museum or attraction. During the summer, tourists and visitors flood top city attractions. Look into volunteering at your local aquarium or cultural center on the weekend. As a plus, you get to see the sights yourself and learn some pretty cool information that you can break out at your next trivia night.

3. Teach an outdoor sports clinic. If you’re a tennis or golf pro, your services might be useful at a park district or community center. Plenty of people (myself included) tend to take up outdoor activities during the warmer months, so this is the perfect way to keep your skills sharp while helping the athletically-challenged work on their swing.

4. Help beautify a school. If you ask around, I’m sure there is a school in your local district in need of freshly-painted classrooms or books for the library. Reach out to teachers in your area and see if there’s a way to help out. Last summer, I, along with thousands of other volunteers, helped spruce up schools here in Chicago. It was a great way to spend a Saturday and I met a few new people.

Do you have any other summer volunteer projects to add?

-kb

What Kind of Volunteer Are You?

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

This morning while researching new 2011 volunteer opps for me, I came across this quiz on Oprah.com asking “What Kind of Volunteer Are You?” The goal is to tell you which types of volunteer opportunities you would be most suited for. Intrigued, I went through the questions eager to find out where I would end up.

After five brief questions, I found myself tied between two categories: New-Breed Volunteer and Untapped Volunteer. Loved the titles…But, were the descriptions accurate? Let’s see…

New Breed Volunteer

You’re a radically different breed with just as much desire to give back. You’re a busy professional, student or parent with a full life, but you believe that doing good feels good and giving back is part of living your best life. Volunteering regularly adds meaning to your life.

Untapped Volunteer

You work full time or go to school full time, and you probably have children at home. Your life is hectic and your time is already overcommitted. It’s likely that you haven’t volunteered much in the past year, not because you haven’t wanted to, but because many volunteer opportunities require more time than you have to give. You believe that doing good feels good and that giving back is part of living your best life. Volunteering when you can adds meaning to your life.

The descriptions were very accurate…VERY. As much as I love spreading the word about causes and raising awareness, nothing compares to actually serving at a food pantry, helping to clean a school, or reading to kids. It’s just a matter of finding the time. Based on my assessment, it’s best that I look for volunteer opportunities like special events, shifts at a hospital, and anything that’s easy to sign up for.

I think tools like this quiz are great for many people who are looking to volunteer but can’t figure out the best activity for them or how to get started. Here’s the link again…So, what kind of volunteer are you?

-kb

Serve-A-Thon Launches My Summer of Service!

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

This past Saturday, I joined over 1000 Chicago volunteers to participate in the 17th Annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-Thon. Year after year, this event gathers teams of do-gooders for a day of beautifying schools across the city. Chicago is one of the most poorly funded school districts in the US, so things like painting are often seen as extras that can’t be afforded.

I teamed up with my great friend, Brian, who put together “Team Sleet.” We spent our Saturday painting a classroom at Faraday Elementary on the city’s West Side. Our task: Replace the bright yellow walls with a cool blue. I may be a bit biased, but I thought our team was the best one (outside of the mural artists). Team Sleet shared the room with a group of three gals and we had a blast! You seriously would have thought that we were friends before the Serve-a-Thon.

Before!

After!

I only snagged a couple of pics because I was too nervous about getting paint on my Blackberry. Losing a pair of old jeans and some gymshoes to the paint gods is one thing. Losing my phone would send me to therapy.

After completing our project, it was back to Soldier Field to enjoy a live band, some beers, and snacks. It was a great way for me to spend my Saturday, and the best way to kick off my summer of service!

Serve-a-Thon crowd enjoying the band

I know that I’ve plugged Chicago Cares before on this site, but I have to do it again! If you’re in the city and looking for great volunteer opportunities, definitely check out their website. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find some great service opps around town!

-kb

Do Good. Feel Good. Eat Good (Well).

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

Last year, I decided that I wanted to start doing meetups that combined service with delicious food. I planned the first “A Little Service, A Little Brunch” to happen last summer, but rescheduled because Red Pump was participating in Chicago’s Bud Billiken Parade. Can you believe that it has taken me almost an entire year to plan the rain check? *sigh*

Anyways, here are the details!

On Saturday, May 1st, I’m asking my Chicago friends to join me for a service project with The Glass Slipper Project. I participated with this great organization last year, and am looking forward to helping out again this year! There are plenty of duties available at different times of the day. The plan is to volunteer during the morning shift (8a – noon) at Abbott School (3630 S. Wells) and then head on over to Nana (3267 S. Halsted) for brunch!

If you’re interested, then you’ll need to do the following things:

  1. Sign up for a volunteer shift by clicking here.
  2. Leave a comment, email me (kb@thefabulousgiver.com), or tweet me (@thefabgiver) to let me know that you’re coming. I’ll need to make a reservation by Wednesday, March 28th.
  3. Get excited!!!

I’m really looking forward to doing this. Not only am I geeked about the project, but I am really looking forward to eating at Nana. The restaurant uses organic ingredients only and has quite the appetizing menu! The plan is to make “A Little Service, A Little Brunch” an ongoing thing, so if you can’t make the first one…no worries! There will definitely be more 🙂

Any questions? Let me know!