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My Joyful Heart is a unique charity that provides personalized assistance and encouragement for Chicago area and suburban children in need. As a faith-based organization, they endeavor to be a positive influence to these children in need by remembering them with basic life essentials, school supplies, clothing, toys and encouragement throughout each year until their situation improves or they move from the area.
My Joyful Heart provides the little things that may often be missing in the life of a child in need. By providing these gift packages regularly throughout the year they extend love and hope to these children, making them feel special and letting them know that people do care. Local, disadvantaged, high-risk children are given gift packages of essentials throughout the year, not just at Christmas. They are not a one-size-fits-all organization; gifts are specifically selected for each individual child.
My Joyful Heart works in tandem with the Chicago Public Schools and other school districts to enroll needy children; the children who are coming to school without a jacket in the winter, the children who do not have proper shoes or clothing that fits, the children in need of hygiene and especially the children in need of encouragement and hope. They work closely with the school systems to ensure gifts are given to the children in their program and that he/she knows that someone cares. All this is made possible through sponsorships, donations, grants, fundraising and corporate support.
My Joyful Heart continually strives to help local children as best they can. What they do is…Bring Hope.
My Joyful Heart operates out of donated warehouse space in Mokena, IL with a their administrative office in Lockport, IL. Diane Carroll is a wonderfully kind woman with a big heart. She is always looking for dedicated people to join her in her cause, and has been known to welcome young people (and homeschoolers especially) to help out on a regular or semi-regular basis at their warehouse facility in Mokena.
Check out the video below where My Joyful Heart was featured on the CBS evening news.
The People’s Animal Welfare Society of Tinley Park is a no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the protection of domestic animals, and to the attempt to prevent animal cruelty in the surrounding communities. They will provide shelter to abandoned, lost and relinquished pets. They will provide humane education in animal care to the communities. They will strive to prevent the overpopulation of our pets by offering spay/neuter programs, rather than, through the use of euthanasia. To promote these goals, they are dedicated to finding safe and permanent new homes for our domestic animals; as well as helping the public choose the right companions for their families.
At P.A.W.S. of Tinley, volunteer duties include but not limited to caring for the dogs and cats, ranging from cleaning cages, feeding, medicating, socializing and grooming.
P.A.W.S. offers both “JR Volunteer Programs” for children ages 14 to 17 and adult volunteer programs.
The P.A.W.S. of Tinley Park could not exist without the dedicated efforts of their volunteer staff. They depend on them to help with the daily care of their animals. Dog or Cat person they would love to have you on their team!
All new volunteers must first attend a Volunteer Orientation session. All orientations will last approximately 2 hours and will include a tour of the shelter. Registration is required for your attendance and space is limited. Contact P.A.W.S. now for more information.
PADS partners with Faith Communities throughout the south and southwest suburbs for the use of their facilities as homeless shelters. These shelters are staffed with volunteers from local Faith Communities, members of fraternal, civic and social organizations, as well as individuals from the surrounding communities. PADS provides the operational structure, supplemental volunteer support and supportive services such as medical, mental and substance abuse referrals, financial literacy instruction, employment readiness training, resume development and job search skills, homeless prevention programs, housing assistance programs and various life-skills training programs.
Compassion, hospitality and dignity are key characteristics of the PADS programs.
Since 1990, more than 7,750 men and women have combined their efforts to carry out the PADS Mission.
- PADS Volunteers have cared for over 6,700 homeless men, women and children.
- PADS Volunteers have hosted 184,563 shelter nights at local churches and synagogues.
- PADS Volunteers have served 573,391 meals to those in need.
- In the last 11 years, PADS Daytime has helped 3,400 adults find work.
PADS is a network of participating partners (mostly churches and other faith-based institutions) who provide space on a rotating basis to shelter men, women, and children. The participating partner we’ve working with presently is the Southwest Alliance Korean Church in Palos Hills, IL. Volunteer opportunities, however, can be coordinated through Dawn Thrasher at the PADS main office.
Volunteers should be mature and responsible.
The video below is not about SSPADS, but rather the Lake County chapter. Just the same, it offers some perspective on the services they provide.
Palos Restoration Project was founded in 1990, holding its first workday at Spears Woods in September of that year. Several original members from that time continue with the group as site stewards today. They volunteer at a dozen different sites and work every weekend of the year. Depending on the season, they cut and burn brush, pull weedy invasive plants like garlic mustard, or collect and distribute seed.
This is the friendliest group of people you could ever hope to be working in the woods with. They are very welcoming and always have enough cookies to go around. It’s really easy to get involved with them. Unless your group is enormous, they are happy to have you just show up on a work day to lend a hand. If you plan to bring a very large group, just let Jan know so they can bring enough gloves, tools, and cookies for everyone.
Map of Work Sites
Time Elapse Restoration
Park Lawn is a non-profit organization offering a variety of programs and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their mission is to provide services that promote independence, choice and access to community living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They believe that people with disabilities earnestly wish to live a normal life. They want to go to school, hold a job that truly needs to be done, a place to live comfortably, and they want a full and active social life. Within this context Park Lawn provides adult developmental training, vocational services, supported employment, residential opportunities, and recreational activities. All are backed with professional staff support.
Park Lawn offers many chances to volunteer to help people living with disabilities. Possibilities range from administrative support, special event organizing and assistance, to direct service opportunities.
1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year in the United States. Many of these people with cancer find themselves in hopeless situations in hospital rooms and homes across the country. Phil’s Friends brings hope through the distribution of our hand assembled Care Packages to cancer patients and their families, consistent weekly support through Cards of Hope and prayer.
There are several tiers of volunteer opportunities available through Phil’s Friends with varying levels of commitment–form a one-day outing with a group to ongoing service where one visits individuals undergoing cancer treatment and delivers care packages to them in person. Contact Phils Friends or visit their web site for more information on specific opportunities.
PLOWS Council on Aging is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of persons 60 years of age and older by providing the highest level of service to those who are physically, psychologically, and/or financially in need and treating those persons and families with dignity, compassion, and respect.
PLOWS Council on Aging has been in operation since 1975 developing and providing services to older adults 60 years of age and older. PLOWS is an acronym for the areas we serve, Palos, Lemont, Orland, and Worth Townships and the 19 municipalities in those Townships. PLOWS goal is to help seniors improve the quality of life and to be able to maintain that quality as long as possible. This is accomplished by providing assistance with the services highlighted on this website.
PLOWS offices are located at 7808 College Drive, and have been since 2000. Prior to that, PLOWS was located in Oak Lawn for 25 years. PLOWS does emphasize services to the most vulnerable elderly but basic services are offered to all seniors.
PLOWS is a 501(C)3 not for profit Corporation governed by a 15 person Board of Directors the vast majority of which are seniors and geographically represent the PLOWS service area. Recent estimates are that nearly 70,000 seniors reside in PLOWS communities, making it the fastest growing area of seniors in Suburban Chicago.
PLOWS has a staff of 30 full time, 12 part time, and 25 in-home workers plus many volunteers to help provide vital services.
Volunteer opportunities through PLOWS include advocacy, home delivered meals, and fundraising opportunities. See the PLOWS web site or contact PLOWS for complete information. A summary of major areas of volunteer opportunity is below.
PLOWS strives to help older adults achieve economic stability. Activities toward this goal include assistance with many Federal and State applications for benefits that pay for utilities, medications, food, etc.. Due to the numbers of older adults served in this program, volunteers are essential in this effort. PLOWS provides necessary training and supervision to volunteers interested in this activity. Candidates must be: compassionate and patient, computer literate, passionate about accuracy, detail oriented, and reliable. Advocacy volunteers need to be available 3-4 hours weekly between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Call us to discuss a flexible schedule.
Home Delivered Meals
The home delivered meals program is a service that responds to the vital need of the elderly for good nutrition. This program provides a well balanced diet for clients who are homebound or unable to prepare their own meals. Volunteers in the home delivered meals program deliver prepared food to clients living in Alsip, parts of Bridgeview, Evergreen Park, Merrionette Park, Chicago Ridge, Hickory Hills, and Worth. Drivers are asked to be available one morning a week, Monday through Friday. You must be able to walk up flights of stairs in some cases in order to reach the client’s apartment or home. New volunteers are invited to accompany an experienced driver on a delivery route to learn if this rewarding program is right for them. You must have your own car with insurance and a good driving record.
Volunteers who are willing to assist in the PLOWS Ad book, our major annual fundraising event, help make it possible to continue all of the programs and services offered by PLOWS. Volunteers may work from their home or at the PLOWS office to solicit advertisements by telephone. Some Ad Book volunteers also visit area businesses in person to request support for the agency. Flexible scheduling makes this a perfect position for persons who are very busy but would like to help PLOWS continue their commitment to the elderly community. The fundraising campaign begins in spring and ends in early fall. Once completed, volunteers are asked to help deliver the ad book to advertisers to thank them for their support.
In collaboration with Trio Services and Student Life, Project Care is a resource for our hungry, financially disadvantaged students. Through the MVCC Counseling Department, students can gain access to food and other personal essentials to get them through a time of need.
The small “unofficial” food pantry on campus called Project Care is in need of student assistance for sorting and organizing food, inventorying food and what needs to be restocked, assessing the quantitative and qualitative use of the pantry, researching area college food pantry’s to see how they operate, facilitating a food drive to replenish the stock, ensuring that food is not wasted by pulling stock that is nearing expiration so it can be moved to a local community pantry as needed.
The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) is to care for families of children with complex medical needs by providing comfort, compassion and community. RMHC-CNI keeps families of hospitalized children together in a ‘home away from home’. Their programs include providing supportive residence at four Ronald McDonald houses throughout the Chicagoland area, offering a haven of respite at a Ronald McDonald family room at Edward Hospital in Naperville, providing essential health services to children in under-served areas through a care mobile, and awarding scholarships to academically outstanding, community-minded and economically challenged young people.
There are many ways you can help the Ronald McDonald House Charities. There are four different houses throughout the Chicagoland area, along with a Ronald McDonald Family Room in Edward Hospital. Some volunteer opportunities include: preparing a meal for families, helping with house work, volunteering at a fundraising event, collecting pop tabs, etc. They have an easy to use calendar on their website, along with additional information. Some houses do have minimum age requirements, but many do allow children as long as they have a guardian with them when volunteering.
Sarah’s Inn is a community-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by domestic violence and to break the cycle of violence for future generations. Their services and initiatives focus on ending relationship violence through domestic violence crisis intervention, community education, and violence prevention programs for youth.
Founded in 1981 by Oak Park residents, Sarah’s Inn works throughout the socioeconomically diverse region of Chicago’s West Side neighborhoods and Western suburbs. We believe in hopeful futures for survivors of domestic violence through the strength that comes from a networked and supportive community. The vision of Sarah’s Inn is to be a nationally recognized leader for community-based solutions that will end relationship violence.
Sarah’s Inn connects people to each other to form a network of support to stop violence and build hopeful futures in our communities. Learn how you can join their efforts by volunteering, making a donation, attending an event, completing an internship, or becoming a partner organization. Contact Christina Coghill for information about specific volunteer opportunities.
The mission at Sertoma Centre is “to provide opportunities that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve personal success.”
Every day at Sertoma this mission is accomplished by those with developmental, physical, emotional disabilities and /or mental illness. Some of this success is major – like starting a job in the community or moving into their own apartment.
Other successes may seem minor to others, but to an individual with disabilities, getting dressed by oneself, learning how to make change at a vending machine, or mastering a new task in the workshop is a meaningful personal success!
For an individual with disabilities, each one of these victories represents another step in his/her own personal path toward greater independence and participation in their community. Sertoma Centre, Inc. has built its reputation on the many personal victories of the people it serves.
A non-profit agency, Sertoma Centre, Inc. is headquartered in Alsip, a south suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Based upon its reputation and achievements, individuals residing in parts of Chicago and its south and southwest suburban region receive the services provided by the Centre.
We’ve worked with Laura Gardner, the volunteer services coordinator at Sertoma Centre. She is an incredibly friendly, helpful person and has gone out of her way to create meaningful service opportunities for our students. She is best reached by e-mail, as she is a part-time employee at the Sertoma Centre, but she responds very quickly. As a direct service opportunity, we highly recommend the Sertoma Centre.
The Syrian Community Network (SCN) was established by a diverse team of community members with intentions to aid and to assist in easing the resettlement of Syrian refugees. SCN is prepared and organized to support the anticipated influx of Syrian refugees scheduled for resettlement in the Chicagoland area.
SCN is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that will supplement efforts on helping the refugees adjust to their new home. What distinguishes SCN from other organizations is that it wants to facilitate building the bridge for mutual support between the newly arrived Syrian refugees with local Chicago communities.
The following are SCN goals:
- To partner with refugee resettlement agencies in providing support to the newly-arrived Syrian refugees
- To connect refugees with appropriate services and community resources available
- To foster a relationship between the Syrian refugees and the larger Chicago community
To establish cultural competency for staff working with Syrian refugees as well as for Syrians who need to learn about their new culture in the US.
The Syrian Community Network offers opportunities for volunteers to help families directly through direct mentoring of children (helping with homework, etc.) or of adults (helping to read bills, compose a resume, etc.). Also, there is often a need to host a material drive for toys or for items that expectant mothers need. It is possible to deliver such items directly to the families.
The Animal Welfare League was founded in 1935 to stop the suffering of animals that seemed common place in Chicagoland. Our founding shelter, located at 6224 South Wabash Avenue in Chicago, still exists today as the only humane society on the south side of Chicago. The Wabash shelter operates in an economically depressed area and provides valuable services to residents in the area such as shelter and care to homeless and needy animals, low cost clinic services to pet owners on a limited income and no-charge monthly pet food distribution.
The Animal Welfare League opened a second shelter in southwest suburban Chicago Ridge in 1974 to expand the care and services that were desperately needed in the south suburban area. In May 1992, Animal Welfare League moved into a state-of-the-art, full service shelter at 10305 Southwest Highway in Chicago Ridge, where they can accommodate the increase in the number of homeless and unwanted animals, housing the largest number of adoptable animals from a non-profit organization in the entire mid-west.
The Animal Welfare League is committed to helping every pet find a good home. Their motto is “recovery is the answer, not euthanasia” for animals that come to them injured, neglected, or abused.
The Animal Welfare League has a tremendous need for volunteer support. There is so much work that needs to be done with approximately 1,400 animals to care for. Many attest that once you start volunteering you get hooked. This a great opportunity for everyone who recognizes the importance of caring for our nonhuman friends.
The Cancer Support Center gives strength, guidance and support to anyone living with a cancer diagnosis, as well as to their loved ones. They do this as a community-based, volunteer-driven, donor-supported organization. Their programs, resources and services are always delivered by professional therapists, counselors, nutritionists, and experts; and are provided in a warm, welcoming and nurturing setting at no cost to participants.
The Center relies on the skills and talents of volunteers in order to maintain their quality programs and services. They welcome volunteers to assist with a wide range of activities including the following: front desk greeter, outreach ambassador, teen ambassador (requires parent consent), massage/reiki therapist, yoga instructor, zumba or fitness instructor, program/education presenter, mailing helper, painter/carpenter.
The Center also has four signature special events – the Gala, the Golf Outing, and two Walks of Hope. If you are looking for a meaningful way to support The Center, please consider these volunteer opportunities: event committee member, marketing/promotions assistant, graphic designer, and event day volunteer.
Learn about these and other opportunities from the Cancer Support Center’s website or by contacting Cynthia Turnquest directly.
The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization that works to offer housing, health care and human connection to members of the Chicago community struggling with poverty or homelessness. With an open heart and an open mind, they accept people as they are and work to address their immediate needs while affirming their sense of humanity.
The Night Ministry has volunteer opportunities–direct and indirect, onsite and offsite, for many ages and at a variety commitment levels.
Together We Cope bridges the gap for Southland residents in temporary crisis by providing food, shelter, clothing and referrals, empowering them to return to self-sufficiency. In response to the steel mill closings, which hit south suburban residents particularly hard, Oak Forest resident Loraine Cook founded Together We Cope in 1982. For the years 2009 – 2010, Together We Cope provided assistance to 41,000 people. The Financial Assistance Program provided $228,000, the Clothing Program provided $128,000, and the Food Program provided $1,093,000. Our Holiday (Adopt-A-Child for Holiday Gifts) Program and Back-to-School (Supplies) Program each benefitted 1,100 children.
Together We Cope is a wonderful organization helping individuals and families from Chicago southland communities through times of economic crisis. They’re an incredibly friendly bunch and very willing to work with you to get involved as a volunteer–whether in their food pantry, resale shop, or other special events and programs. Like many volunteer organizations, they ask for their volunteers to be at least 16, but if you talk with them, they make exception for families volunteering together.
The Working Bikes Cooperative is a not-for-profit tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, which diverts bicycles from the waste stream in Chicago by repairing them for sale and charity.
Working Bikes is primarily volunteer-driven. Currently it receives no government or foundation money. All its operations are funded through the sale of bicycles at its storefront. Working Bikes uses that money to provide bicycles to charity organizations within Chicagoland and to ship bicycles to the Gulf Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Angola, Cuba, Guatemala, and Peru.
In the countries to which Working Bikes ships, a bicycle can often mean the difference between work and unemployment. The bicycle is the primary means of vehicular transportation for the majority of the population and is used both for personal transportation and for carrying cargo.
By volunteering your time at Working Bikes you aid an organization that is doing good work both locally and internationally. This is a laid-back, fun group that works hard to get the job done (they often spring for lunch for all the volunteers). Some of the opportunities that volunteers can take a part in include: repairing bicycles, preparing and packing bikes for shipping overseas, organizing and helping customers in the Working Bikes Store, picking up donations, networking with other organizations, and helping spread the word.