Here Are Some of the Best Places to Volunteer Around Chicago This Month

If you started 2020 with a resolution to be healthier, make plans to volunteer. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, volunteering offers health benefits like a decreased risk of depression and reduced stress levels — you may even live longer!

Beyond those health benefits, though, volunteering connects you to your community and helps support those in need. Here are just a few amazing local organizations where you can volunteer this month.

Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter

Where to Volunteer: Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter
Alzheimer’s Association Volunteer Advocates (Photo courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter.)

The mission of this organization is “to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.” Volunteer opportunities include becoming an Alzheimer’s Association Community Rep, supporting office staff, and serving during special events.

American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

Where to Volunteer: American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois
American Red Cross volunteer Kurt Ammann registers a donor to give on the Bloodmobile. These blood buses allow the Red Cross to collect donations virtually anywhere in the community. (Photo by Jody Lane/American Red Cross.)

Ninety percent of the Red Cross’ humanitarian work is done by volunteers. After taking a short quiz, you’ll be matched with potential opportunities in your neighborhood and beyond. Categories include Behind the Scenes, Boots on the Ground, Communications & Outreach, Finance & Fundraising, IT, Instructor/Presenter, and more.

And January is National Blood Donor Month, so make an appointment today to donate. There is a critical need for blood and the American Red Cross is offering a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl when you donate through Jan. 19.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Lake County

Where to Volunteer: CASA Lake County
Photo courtesy of CASA Lake County.

Entering the foster care system is scary, and children who experience it can feel invisible and alone. Trained CASA volunteers are appointed by the court to advocate for one child welfare case at a time. The volunteer visits the children monthly, advocates for their needs, and reports what they find to the court. By becoming a CASA volunteer, you can change a child’s story. Visit casalakecounty.com to learn more and apply.

McGaw YMCA

Where to Volunteer: McGaw YMCA in Evanston, Illinois
Photo courtesy of McGaw YMCA.

This Evanston organization “promotes growth in spirit, mind and body through programs and services for all,” and you can help them with services and programs by filling out a Volunteer Application. Opportunities include tutoring middle school students as part of the Y-Zone program; volunteering as a swim instructor, classroom water safety instructor, or chaperone for Evanston Swims!; and assisting the School’s Out program staff with after-school care and programming. You can also support McGaw YMCA by donating to the 2020 Annual Fund.

Selah Freedom

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, so learn more about volunteering with Philanthropy Award winner Selah Freedom. Two million children are sold into sex trafficking every year, in every state and from all backgrounds. Selah Freedom is on a mission to end sex trafficking and support victims.

Wright-Way Rescue

If you love animals, consider supporting this shelter that has saved roughly 40,000 animals since 2003 by volunteering your time. Those interested can fill out an application online before attending an orientation. Opportunities range from working the welcome desk to caring for dogs and cats.

 

Do you work or volunteer for a Chicago-area nonprofit? Do you love an organization that you think we should know about? Send volunteer opportunities and organizations to [email protected].