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City Hall Is Hoping To Turn More Chicagoans Into Volunteers With New Website

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 9, 2015 7:45PM

The city wants to encourage more Chicagoans to volunteer with a new website, called One Good Deed Chicago.

Launched this week, the website is designed to help people find causes and organizations they want to volunteer for and register for volunteer opportunities. It also will help organizations get the word out about the work they're doing and what they need.

In a release announcing the revamped volunteer website, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the site is a natural step forward following the call for citizen to volunteer more that he made in his Second Inaugural Address earlier this spring.

“Small acts of service can make an enormous difference in the life of a child and in the future of our city, so today we are offering a simple way to connect volunteers with young people who need them all across the City of Chicago,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Working together, we can provide adolescents all throughout Chicago with the values, expectations, and opportunities that we share as a common foundation and help them reach their full potential.”

Officials are particularly hoping residents will use the site to become youth mentors. And to further improve the city's volunteering culture, the mayor's office is convening a working group of nonprofits to recommend further improvements to the volunteering process, led by Chicago Cares, Donors Forum and Serve Illinois.

Besides youth mentorship, One Good Deed Chicago has volunteer opportunities around areas of domestic violence, the environment, homelessness, immigration, arts, parks, adult education and senior and veteran services. In addition to one-off, hands-on service opportunities, such as cleaning a park for the day, the mayor's office says nonprofit leaders are hoping to find more people to take on skills-based projects such as grant writing, computer and social media assistance and gardening.

Not to get preachy, but volunteering is an excellent way to see more of the city, meet people and learn new skills. And with opportunities to maintain community gardens in Little Village, tutor refugee immigrants who are new to Chicago and manage social media for La Casa Norte, a homelessness services nonprofit, it doesn't have to feel like your high school's trash pick-up day.

The volunteer listings on the website are sparse right now, but the site is intuitive to use and could become the city's go-to volunteering source once it's been filled in more.