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October 9, 2018

Shopping for Volunteer Opportunities

Written by: Julia Smolucha

Chris Cole

Service to others is an important part of our Church’s history, what we believe, and who we are as a congregation. But, sometimes just the act of looking for the right service opportunity is more daunting than the service itself. Let the Outreach Committee help you find the perfect service fit with our updated website.

The Outreach Committee sees identifying and promoting volunteer opportunities as an important part of our mission. Oftentimes, members of Kenilworth Union will contact Jo Forrest and our other ministers and staff looking for ways where they and/or their family can volunteer at not-for-profit organizations that the church supports. These requests often come up around the holidays, giving us little time to identify opportunities, and by the time we do, volunteer spots have already been filled.

Rather than simply responding to occasional requests, we decided to become more proactive in our efforts and to use the Kenilworth Union website as our means of communicating the many ways you can volunteer at the 39 agencies we currently support. We also recognize that people have different interests and talents as well as different amounts of time they are able to commit. So the site has been developed to allow you to search for service opportunities based on a variety of criteria.

The site works like many online shopping websites. I view it as akin to shopping online for shoes where you can select the style (flats or heels? boots or sandals?), select the size and width, or the brand (Cole-Hahn or Sperry? Tory Burch, Vince Camuto or Jack Rogers?).

The site contains 124 different volunteer opportunities, so plenty of ways for you to get involved.  To get started, click here.

If you know you would like to volunteer at a particular agency, you can just click on the Agency’s name and see the options that are available. Or maybe you are interested in tutoring a child, mentoring a teen or adult, preparing or serving a meal, serving on an agency’s Board, or providing college or career assistance. These are just a few of the types or services agencies need volunteers to provide. Just click on Type of Help Needed and select the ones you are interested in.  Maybe you’re interested in helping in certain areas of need like homelessness, education, refugee resettlement, or job training, to name a few. You can also search by who the service opportunity is appropriate for (eg., adults, teens, families with young children, groups) or by how frequently you want to volunteer (one-time, periodically, or on an ongoing basis). When the options based on your criteria appear, make sure you click on Read More for a fuller description of the opportunity and whom to contact if you are interested.

In working on this project, I have been amazed at the number and variety of different ways you can serve people in need in the Chicago area. So if you like shopping online but don’t need any more stuff, try shopping for ways you can serve others. Maybe you’ll find it can be even more satisfying than a new pair of shoes, or for the men reading this, a new technological gadget.