Chicago is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the third most populous city in the United States, which encompasses varied geographical formations along with cultural diversity and rich historical heritage. Not only is it beautiful and full of adventure, but there are also numerous volunteering opportunities in Chicago.
You may find yourself questioning and constantly reevaluating your definitions of volunteerism and community services. Chicago is definitely a place that can delight you to the core, break you down and then rebuild you, stronger and wiser than ever before.
In this article, you’ll learn much about volunteering in Chicago with the various opportunities, you’ll understand more about people’s reasons and benefits for volunteering.
What is volunteering?
Volunteering is time willingly to help someone else without being paid. It can be formal or informal. Informal volunteering includes helping friends and family with things like babysitting, home repairs, or caring. Formal volunteering usually takes place through a charity or other not-for-profit or community organization
The imperative of volunteering?
Volunteering is crucial because it offers essential help to advantageous causes, the impoverished, and the extensive community. Indeed, many organizations and charities rely on the generosity of volunteers to help them succeed and do their work.
The gains of volunteering for those receiving assistance are clear. Whether it’s providing shelter to the destitute in society or helping children and the elderly in disadvantaged communities to read and write, the benefits to the receiver are usually part of the reason why people decide to volunteer.
But did you know how important volunteering could be for the person doing it? Indeed, volunteering is beneficial to the doer for numerous reasons, including stress reduction, combating depression, and providing a sense of purpose.
Reasons to Volunteer in Chicago
Over the years, Chicago has grown manifold and embraced changes to keep up with the dynamics of the world.
In spite of the rapid development, Chicago still faces several social problems including
- Gun Violence
- Bullying and Cyberbullying
- Racial Disparities in Health
- Racism and Discrimination
- Lack of Adult Supervision and Involvement
- Hunger etc.
Volunteering can be the best noble approach to contribute towards the heightening of the underprivileged section of society and help them live a better life.
Being a volunteer in Chicago can be one of the most intentional as well as rewarding experiences of your life. Whether you’re visiting for a week, a month, or a year, you will certainly come across things that will amaze, challenge, and change you, as there are many opportunities out there.
Benefits of volunteering In Chicago
- Connect to others: Volunteering in Chicago can be a great networking tool. Most volunteer work requires you to get involved in the community or work with others. It can be an excellent opportunity to meet new people, boost your skills, and expand your networking circle, especially if you are new in the state.
- Gain Professional Experience in Chicago: Most volunteering opportunities in Chicago require training sessions where you get to learn by practicing. Whether or not you already have professional experience, working for others can be a good way to enhance your skills.
- Broaden Your Career Horizons: Volunteering in Chicago is a great chance to explore a field of interest or connect with people working there, and the experience always looks good on your resume. Moreover, you can ask the organization you volunteered with to provide you with a good reference.
- Volunteering builds self-confidence and self-esteem: Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment and volunteering in Chicago can give you a sense of pride and identity, helping to boost your self-confidence in the state.
- Reinvigorate your life: Volunteering in Chicago is a brilliant way to discover new interests and hobbies, visit different parts of the state, and travel.
- Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life: Volunteering can provide you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.
How to find the right volunteer opportunity in Chicago
There are numerous volunteer opportunities available in Chicago. The key is to find a position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It’s also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organization’s needs.
Ask yourself the following:
- Would you like to work with adults, and children, or online from home?
- Do you prefer to work as a team or individually?
- Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer to take a more visible role?
- How much time are you willing to commit?
- What skills can you bring to a volunteer job?
- What agenda is important to you?
- Consider your objectives and interests
You will have a wonderful and more enjoyable volunteering experience if you first carry out an appraisal to identify your goals and interests. Examine why you want to volunteer. What would you enjoy doing? The opportunities that match both your goals and your interests are most likely to be fun and fulfilling.
Looking for volunteer opportunities but clueless about where to begin? Overwhelmed by the number of options available? Want to make sure you find something that fits your interests, location, and schedule?
10 best Chicago volunteering opportunities in 2023
Looking for volunteer opportunities but unaware of where to start? Overwhelmed by the number of options available? Chicago still faces some challenges as earlier listed. This means there are great opportunities for helping NGOs, social projects, and local communities.
Let’s have a look at the 10 top opportunities to volunteer in Chicago as extracted from VolunteerMatch.
#1. SUSTAINABLE OPTIONS FOR URBAN LIVING INC
A non-profit community organization dedicated to creating more sustainable living options for urban residents and businesses.
Cause Area: Education & Literacy, Environment, Women and Justice & Legal
Location:14076 Lincoln Avenue Dolton, IL 60419United States
#2. TEACH (formerly School and Tutors on Wheels)
TEACH – Tutoring English to Advance Change – works toward systemic change in society by empowering adults with limited English proficiency to make their voices heard through a unique integration of practical one-on-one English literacy education, and individualized cultural mentoring and community inclusion support.
Cause Area: Advocacy & Human Rights, Education & Literacy, Employment, Immigrants and Refugees
Location:TEACH100 South 6th Avenue La Grange, IL 60525United States
#3. The Life Development Center
The Life Development Center is a faith-based organization that is focused on the holistic transformation of individuals and communities within Chicago and around the world. Through a partnership with various community organizations both locally and internationally, we provide innovative services in five areas: youth development, leadership development, educational enrichment, economic empowerment, and community empowerment.
Cause Area: Children & Youth, Community, Education & Literacy, International and Justice & Legal
Location: 824 E 43RD STCHICAGO, IL 60653United States
#4. CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL CHANGE FILM FESTIVAL
Social Change is a national nonprofit that liberates individuals and empowers people and organizations to disrupt systems via film, policy, and legal assistance.
Cause Area: Advocacy & Human Rights, Community, Disaster Relief, Homeless & Housing
and Justice & Legal
Location: 23 E 26TH ST APT 2CHICAGO, IL 60616United States
#5. Illinois Justice Corps
Illinois Justice Corps is an innovative program that enhances access to justice for the growing number of unrepresented people in the courts by empowering and training student volunteers to help people without lawyers navigate the court system by providing legal information and procedural guidance.
Cause Area: Justice & Legal
Location: N/A Chicago, IL 60604United States
#6. Centro Romero
Centro Romero is a community-based organization that serves the refugee immigrant population on the northeast side of Chicago.
Their interrelated programs include the Youth Learning and Leadership Program, Family Services, Adult Education, and Legal Services. These are essential services that support the healthy personal and social development of participants.
Their long-term organizational goal is to bridge a disenfranchised community of immigrants and refugees into mainstream American society as well as improve their opportunity for upward social mobility.
Cause Area: Community, Education & Literacy, Immigrants & Refugees, Justice & Legal and Women
Location: 6216 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60660United States
#7. CITIZEN ADVOCACY CENTER
The Citizen Advocacy Center is dedicated to building democracy for the 21st century by strengthening the citizenry’s capacities, resources, and institutions for self-governance.
They are committed to Making the government more accountable to the people by increasing democratic protocols and by developing and empowering the voice of citizens; Furthering the citizen’s understanding of civic tools and public skills in using these tools for societal problem solving etc.
Cause Area: Advocacy & Human Rights, Community, Education & Literacy and Justice & Legal
Location: 182 N YORK STELMHURST, IL 60126 United States
#8. Lakeside Community Committee
Founded as a grassroots organization in 1964 and contracted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to provide foster care, kinship care, transitional living, and independent living services to abused and neglected children and youth.
Cause Area: Board Development, Children & Youth, Homeless & Housing, Justice & Legal and Politics
Location: 7418 S COTG GRV AVECHICAGO, IL 60619 United States
#9. PROJECT 1917
The organization is serving disinvested communities that overlap the greater Chicago metropolitan footprint. Founded in July 2020, to provide occupational training (construction skills), on-the-job-experience, and rehabilitation services to create stable communities.
Cause Area: Board Development, Community, Education & Literacy, Justice & Legal and Media & Broadcasting
Location: 832 N CENTRAL AVECHICAGO, IL 60651United States
#10. PLAN B FOUNDATION
The organization helps those who have been incarcerated by not only employing them full-time but also by helping them with certain things that keep them from sustaining full-time employment.
Cause Area: Advocacy & Human Rights, Community, Justice & Legal, Race, and Ethnicity
Location: 633 N Addison Rd VILLA PARK, IL 60181United States
Volunteering opportunities in Chicago can open doors that were previously closed to you. You can build better networks to enrich your life and business, make new friends, and explore the world better when you are involved in a just cause.