Posts Tagged ‘volunteer chicago’

Donating Baby Clothes in Chicago

Motherhood has taught me many lessons. Among them is the fact that kids will outgrow clothes in the blink of an eye. I count it a true blessing that Caleb has more clothes than he needs and doesn’t want for a thing (besides this shirt). When he can no longer wear something, I decide if I want to save it or donate it.

When I have adult clothes to give away, I usually take them to the Goodwill. However, I feel differently about baby clothes. If a mom needs baby items, I want to make sure that she can find them for free.

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Volunteering in the ‘Burbs

Six months ago, I swapped my Chicago (proper) address for a suburban one (*sobs*) and have been adjusting to life ever since. There are many practical reasons why I chose to move to the suburbs, but the most important one was my husband’s declaration that he would never live in the city of Chicago. I begged and tried to sell him on the virtues of my hometown, but it was a no go. I get it.

desplaines_welcome

So, now I’m out here and am trying to substitute many of my favorite Chicago (proper) activities with acceptable suburban versions. I know where I can get jerk chicken (25 minutes away) and found a great nail spa in town. One of the things that I was really concerned about was finding volunteer opportunities out here. While there’s a tendency to think that the suburbs are perfect, the truth is that many people out here need assistance as well. So, how could I help in my new neighborhood?

Well, the first sign that I received was the sight of a food drop-off bucket for the Self Help Closet & Food Pantry of Des Plaines in a grocery store across the street from our house. This is probably my favorite way to give back because I can just buy extra staples or canned goods on sale and place them in the container. I found out that the Food Pantry has regular volunteer opportunities so I hope to help out there one day.

Another opportunity that I’m really excited about is the Breakfast for Baby activity hosted by my local Salvation Army chapter. On the second Saturday of the month, families with little ones under a year old can come out for breakfast and the opportunity to “shop” for diapers and other baby supplies.

Between the above opportunities and the listings on the Hands On Suburban Chicago website, it makes me feel better to know where and how I can give back to my community. This isn’t to say that I won’t ever volunteer in Chicago (proper) again. I love my city too much to do that. Besides with my annual service challenge on the horizon, I need all of the service learning projects that I can find! More info on that to come. Until then…

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Image: Daily Herald

Cheering for and Volunteering with The White Sox

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

Serve-A-Thon Launches My Summer of Service!

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

2009 MLK Day "Celebration of Service"

Every year, Chicago Cares, an organization which promotes Chicago volunteerism, coordinates the Celebration of Service event, in honor of Dr. King’s birthday holiday. On January 17th, over 4,000 volunteers come together on the day to volunteer at various city-wide service projects. Past projects have included painting apartments for low-income residents, cleaning up public spaces, or spending time with seniors. Participants begin the day with breakfast at the United Center and then are transported by bus to their respective volunteer site!

You can register by yourself or with a team, but the deadline to sign up is Friday, January 9th! Seeing as how I am voluntarily staying in Chicago (vs. hitting up the inauguration), I will definitely be doing my part to make a difference in my fair city! 

For more information and to register, click here!

-kb