How to Help: 6 Awesome Opportunities to Give Back Around Chicago This Summer

How to Help: 6 Awesome Opportunities to Give Back Around Chicago This Summer

This summer, we hope you’ve been enjoying a little more time in your schedule. Here are some great ways to use that time to feel good by doing good!

Give Time

Become a Mentor for GirlForward

More than 60 million people have been displaced across the world by violent conflicts. The mission of GirlForward is to create a supportive community dedicated to providing a safe place for refugee girls resettled in the United States. Many of these girls consistently face poverty, language barriers, loneliness, and extreme trauma. GirlForward is looking for mentors who will dedicate not only a substantial amount of time, but also enthusiasm and care toward resettled girls in grades 9-12. For two hours each week, mentors and mentees will get together to talk about all aspects of life and engage in fun, welcoming, and bonding experiences together. Training is required, but this opportunity is life changing. Learn more about the Mentor Program or take a look at the events calendar for other ways to get involved with GirlForward.

Give Things

Better Sister Growth Network

Do you still have that pile of spring cleaning sitting in your garage? Think about dropping it off at the Better Sister Growth Network, located at 10824 S. Halsted in Chicago. This organization’s mission is to educate families, offer mentoring, and create a support network for women affected by domestic violence. They are always accepting men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, shoes, household items, and personal care items. Find more information, directions, and hours on the organization’s Facebook page.

The Sports Shed

Instead of benching those old basketballs, hockey sticks, or baseball gear, put them back in the game by donating them to The Sports Shed. Introduced as a positive and healthy alternative to gangs, violence, and drugs, The Sports Shed brings quality used sports equipment and athletic programming to disadvantaged Chicago communities. On average, organized high school athletics lead to improved school attendance, higher GPAs, greater confidence, and increased motivation to continue on to higher education. To donate equipment, visit one of the six Chicagoland Play It Again Sports locations found in Evanston, Naperville, Northbrook, Oak Lawn, Schaumburg, and Villa Park.

One Sight Chicago

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Have you recently purchased a new pair of shades or eyeglasses? If so, think about donating your old pair to One Sight Chicago. One in seven people worldwide lack access to proper eye and vision care. One Sight is fighting this disheartening statistic through global outreach that provides donated prescription glasses, sunglasses, and bifocals to those who cannot afford eye care. The right vision care increases school performance, overall focus, and provides a higher quality of life. One Sight glasses donation bins are located at local LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Target Optical, and Sears Optical stores.

Give Support

Adopt-A-Room at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore

The YWCA Evanston/North Shore has been providing a safe place to support young women since the 1930s. Today, the 11 rooms are used heavily by women and children fleeing violent homes. It makes an incredible difference to these women to be welcomed into a warm and inviting shelter. By becoming a sponsor and adopting one of these rooms, you help ensure that every woman served experiences the same level of consistent comfort. Help give a family a sense of home by maintaining domestic comforts such as paint color, window treatments, furniture, and linens.

Donate to SocialWorks and #SupportCPS

When Chicago Public Schools started to cut funding of the arts, literature, and other creative programming, Chicago native Chance the Rapper fought back by creating SocialWorks. By growing a network of various social philanthropies, SocialWorks empowers CPS youth by promoting creativity, building leadership, and spreading positivity throughout the Chicagoland area. One event SocialWorks hosts every month is OpenMike: Chicago Open Mic for Youth at Cindy Pritzker Auditorium. In partnership with the Chicago Public Library, OpenMike offers a safe space for any high school student to express themselves by reading poetry, performing songs or stand-up, or practicing public speaking. Other SocialWorks initiatives include Kids of the Kingdom, Parade to the Polls: Get Out the Vote Chicago, and Warmest Winter Chicago: EMPWR Coat Initiative.


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Haley YamadaHaley Yamada is a summer intern for the editorial staff at Make It Better. She is currently working toward a journalism degree from Medill at Northwestern University and plans to graduate in June of 2020. Her work has been published in Spoon University Magazine and on the Northwestern News Network. In her free time she enjoys reading, running, and her pug, Odie. Last year, she ran the Chicago Marathon for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and continues to support the organization today.





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