April 16, 2012

Thousands of Chicagoans Prepare to Give Back to Their Communities During National Volunteer Week

City of Chicago Encourages Chicagoans Across the City to Participate in Service Projects

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Thousands of Chicagoans are expected to take part in National Volunteer Week this April 16-21 by participating in volunteer fairs, park cleanups, service projects at schools across the city, and more.

“Chicago is the City of Big Shoulders, but we are also the City of Big Hearts,” said Mayor Emanuel. “There’s nothing more rewarding than helping others – you make their lives a little better and learn more about yourself in the process. We’re proud of our city’s history of community service and Volunteer Week is an excellent opportunity to showcase what Chicagoans offer each other.”

One Good Deed Chicago, a City-sponsored campaign promoting volunteerism and furthering civic engagement by residents, is coordinating several projects to celebrate volunteerism and service in the city and encourage more people to get involved. Collaborating partners include the Peace Corps, AARP and City Year Chicago.

“Chicago is home to hundreds of non-profits and social service organizations that find thoughtful and innovative ways to support our communities and residents every day of the year,” said Chicago Chief Service Officer Jenne Myers. “National Volunteer Week is a great way to not only highlight their impressive efforts but to also engage Chicagoans in giving back and helping others.” 

Chicago is not only participating in National Volunteer Week this year, but will also host the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in June. This is the world’s largest gathering of volunteer and service leaders; thousands will participate in workshops and plenary sessions to discuss best practices and creative ideas to spur civic engagement across the globe. Conference attendees will also explore Chicago’s robust social service community through special events and service projects held in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“Ordinary people make a difference, something we see every day and in every neighborhood of Chicago,” said John Hosteny, Director of the Illinois Office of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “When people come together to realize a common vision, we strengthen our community and change history.  Volunteers have done that for years in our great city. Today’s challenges are ours to own and ours to resolve.”

"City Year believes that an act of service can ripple out through a community and change the lives of others," said Lisa Morrison Butler, City Year Chicago's Executive Director and Chief Impact Officer. "We are excited to support Volunteer Week so Chicagoans will inspire one another to continue to serve, both this week and beyond!"

Dozens of service projects are being coordinated across the city by One Good Deed Chicago as well as many of Chicago’s non-profit organizations. They include:

Student Volunteer Fair at Harold Washington College: On Monday, April 16, partners such as the Peace Corps, Public Allies, Lutheran Volunteer Corps and Illinois Campus Compact will reach out to college students interested in their programs at the Student Volunteer Fair at Harold Washington College from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Senior Volunteer Fair: On Wednesday, April 18, 25 Chicago nonprofits will recruit volunteers at the Senior Volunteer Fair from 10 a.m. to noon at the Chicago Cultural Center. One Good Deed Chicago is hosting this event in collaboration with AARP. To register, seniors can visit seniorvolunteerfair.eventbrite.com.

Keep the Lakes Great Adopt-a-Beach cleanup: On Wednesday, April 18, also that day, the Shedd Aquarium hosts its Keep the Lakes Great Adopt-a-Beach cleanup at 12th Street Beach, just south of Adler Planetarium, from noon to 1 p.m.  Garbage and recyclables will be weighed and volunteers will be treated to pizza. Volunteers must register by calling Sam Bugg at 312.692.2739.

Earth Day 2012 Resource Fair: On Friday, April 20 from 10 am to 2 pm, City departments and organizations will distribute literature and have interactive displays for visitors and City Hall employees for the Earth Day 2012 Resource Fair.

The City is also recognizing Saturday, April 21 as a Citywide Day of Service, in honor of Earth Day. It is also Global Youth Service Day. Activities on this day include:

  • City’s Annual Clean & Green: This city project, which has existed for more than 20 years, brings community groups and neighbors together clean and beautify neighborhoods citywide. To sign up, residents call 3-1-1 and are provided with materials. The White Sox Volunteer Corps will be among participating groups.
  • Park Cleanups: Friends of the Parks is also hosting a series of park cleanups around the city. For more information, visit earthdaychicago.com.
  • Comcast Cares Day: Comcast will also mobilize thousands of employees and community members with service projects for its annual Comcast Cares Day.
  • City Year Chicago’s School Service Project: City Year Chicago will host a service project at Howland Charter Elementary School. Volunteers can register by visiting cityyear.org/chicago.

In 2010, Chicago launched One Good Deed Chicago. It includes a volunteer-matching site OneGoodDeedChicago.org, where hundreds of Chicago-based nonprofits have connected with Chicagoans looking to give back to their communities.


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