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Do Good

Written by on May 3, 2023

Hey, Chicago!

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary efforts.  We’re scouring the interwebs and tweets to bring you a digest of good things to do for yourself and your community, all featured in The Goods newsletter.  Have a tip for something we should add?  E-mail us at morgan@vocalo.org. Subscribe to The Goods using this link, and check out previous #DoGood posts here!


  • “Say Their Names” is a set of materials and resources to help foster productive, honest conversations about how we got here as a country and how we are going to move past our national turmoil; access them here: https://bit.ly/SayTheirNamesCPS
  • Books are being censored, banned – even burned – at an alarming rate. Books with important ideas within their pages. Together, we will keep them safe. The Chicago Public Library is declaring every one of its libraries as a Book Sanctuary. But they also believe the sanctuaries should exist everywhere, all over the country – in community centers, schools, coffee shops or parks, even your own bookshelf. Access a free online toolkit to build a Book Sanctuary here.


Do Good May 2023

Yollocalli Arts Reach, the National Museum of Mexican Art’s youth arts initiative, is hosting their annual 21+ fundraiser at the museum on May 26, and they’re looking for a few volunteers to help out day-of with setup prior to the event (from 3-5 p.m.), assistance at the door (from 5-7 p.m.) and with food and cleanup during the event (from 6-9 p.m.). Check out the Eventbrite page for more information about the fundraiser, and send an email to whitney@nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org to sign up to volunteer.

Brave Space Alliance (the first Black-led, trans-led nonprofit LGBTQ+ center serving the South Side) is constantly looking for new volunteers to help provide meaningful services to the community, primarily needed for their Community Pantry and The Dignity Suite. New volunteers can express their interest by filling out a form located on the organization’s website. 

National organization Minds Matter supports low-income students by providing resources to help them gain acceptance to colleges and universities. They’re looking for volunteers to help out at their Chicago branch as mentors or tutors, or on one of their internal teams. Learn more or apply to become a volunteer on their website.

Do Good April 2023

The Logan Square Volunteer Fair is Sunday, April 30! Get to know representatives from local nonprofits and organizations in Logan Square and surrounding neighborhoods looking for volunteers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pilot Project Brewing. Organizations attending the event represent a wide range of causes and social issues including literacy, homelessness, environmentalism, animal rescue and more. Find a full list of participating organizations here, and RSVP to attend for free on Eventbrite.

Join South Side developing farm We Sow We Grow for their final April volunteer day on Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.! Help support the farm by building raised beds which will grow food for the local community, and learn a thing or two about urban farming. Closed-toe shoes and weather-appropriate clothing are recommended, as well as reusable non-glass water bottles. Lunch will be provided. Find more information and sign up to help out here!

Learn more about upcoming volunteer opportunities with nonprofit Open Books during their next volunteer info session on Thursday, April 27 at their Pilsen bookstore and warehouse! They currently have opportunities available at all three bookstore locations, and for their direct literacy program. Tonight’s info session is from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Reserve your spot online here, and learn more about Open Books on their website.

Join the Parks District in celebrating Earth Day on Saturday, April 22 by cleaning up a Chicago park! More than 90 across the city are hosting volunteer cleanups on Saturday, the majority from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn more information, sign the volunteer waiver and find the park closest to you online here.

Alliance for the Great Lakes is kicking off their Spring Adopt-a-Beach program April 21 through 23 at several beaches throughout the Chicago area. Find more information on Adopt-a-Beach here, and filter by location to sign up for a specific opportunity here.

The Chicago History Museum is accepting new volunteer applications on an ongoing basis, with a minimum commitment of six months with one volunteer shift a week. Volunteers can expect to primarily help with museum visitors and front-facing tasks, but behind-the-scenes tasks are sometimes available. Learn more and submit an application here; museum staff will contact applicants as positions open.

Chicago Cares has teamed up with Heartland Alliance to support FarmWorks, an urban farm located in East Garfield Park providing healthy, affordable food to Chicago communities in need. They’re looking for volunteers on April 18 to help with weeding, planting seedlings, wheelbarrowing materials, shoveling soil and more. This opportunity is for ages 18 and up, or 14 with an adult. Find more information here.

Horizons for Youth is a community-rooted nonprofit organization supporting more than 200 children with academic achievement across 44 Chicago neighborhoods. They currently have several ways to volunteer: mentoring, tutoring, corporate engagement or joining their Young Professionals Board. Learn more about each opportunity and apply to get involved online here.

There are still a couple of volunteer opportunities left with the 39th Chicago Latino Film Festival! Festival organizers rely on a team of volunteers every year to make sure the festival runs smoothly, with duties including ushering, greeting guests and volunteering as an interpreter. Duration of shifts will vary, but each volunteer will receive two film vouchers at the end of their shift. Find specific opportunities and sign up using CLFF’s online portal.

Help support the Englewood Village Farm sites at one of Grow Greater Englewood’s upcoming Farm Days! The next Farm Day is April 11 at 3 p.m., and volunteers can expect to help with weeding, landscaping, garden maintenance and beautification to help prepare for the organization’s harvesting season. Sign up to help out and find more info at Chicago Cares.

Working Bikes is a Pilsen-based nonprofit bike shop providing neighbors with access to affordable refurbished bicycles and repairs. They’re looking for volunteers all the time, but there’s an upcoming opportunity to help out on April 11 at 4 p.m. Volunteers can expect to help organize, inspect and strip bicycle parts. If you have a bike to donate, feel free to bring it! Find more information and sign up here. Learn more about Working Bikes by listening to this segment with community repairs manager Xail Hernandez.

The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization’s first volunteer days of the year are this weekend! They’re looking for volunteers to help maintain the Little Village Urban Farm at La Villita Park on April 7 and 8, and again on April 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn more about this opportunity and how to attend on LVEJO’s Instagram.

Chicago Cares is looking for volunteers to maintain Bronzeville’s Burnham Nature Sanctuary on April 1 at noon. Located in the expansive Burnham Park, the Nature Sanctuary is home to native plant species and serves as both a public green space and a bird and butterfly sanctuary. Volunteers ages 16 and up, or 14 with an adult, can expect to maintain the sanctuary’s ecological health, park and trail access, cleaning up trash and fence maintenance. Tools and gloves will be provided, and volunteers should plan to dress weather-appropriate. Learn more and sign up to help out here.

Sign-ups are open to help clean up Columbus Park on Earth Day, April 22! One Earth Collective, DCASE, Openlands, the Field Museum, Friends of the Parks and many more partners are calling for volunteers to clean up trash and maintain the park’s gardens from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., lunch provided, followed by the free Earth Day Action Fair at Chicago Cultural Center. Find more information and sign up now here.

Do Good March 2023

The American Writers Museum just announced a new year-round volunteer program, and put out a call for applications on Twitter. Volunteers can expect to assist with duties including serving as a museum ambassador, giving public tours, recording visitor testimonies and assisting with field trips. To learn more about the opportunity and sign up to help out, you can send an email to volunteer@americanwritersmuseum.org. You can find more information about the American Writers Museum here.

Growing Home is an Englewood-based nonprofit urban farm, workforce development center and social enterprise, and they’re looking for volunteers this month to help maintain their green spaces! Tomorrow and March 24 volunteers can assist the organization by cleaning up, planting, weeding and harvesting at the urban farm to help ensure produce can continue to be harvested for sale locally. Both opportunities are outdoors; comfortable clothes and appropriate shoes are recommended. Check out more information online here!

Food pantry Nourishing Hope, formerly Lakeview Pantry, is accepting new volunteers to help out at their Uptown and Humboldt Park markets, and Ravenswood warehouse. New volunteers are required to complete an online registration form and virtual orientation before signing up for their first shift. Find more information on Nourishing Hope and how to get involved on their website.

Chicago Animal Care and Control is in need of new volunteers to help out at the city’s animal shelter! No experience is required, and volunteers can expect to help with hands-on tasks including walking dogs, socializing with dogs and cats, adoption counseling and more. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and are required to attend an information session before starting, and the next available information session is on Sunday night. Find more information on how you can volunteer on the CACC website!

Friends of the Chicago River is looking for new volunteer wildlife monitors, and training sessions are available this month. The organization has restored habitats for osprey, bats and turtles, and are looking for volunteers to monitor at least one habitat location at least twice a month from May through August. One in-person training session is required. Register for a training session and learn more about the organization and volunteer opportunities on the Friends of the Chicago River website.

ReStore, Habitat for Humanity’s home goods thrift store, is looking for new donation processing volunteers. While helping out, volunteers can expect to clean, sort and process donations before they are prepped for the sales floor. New volunteers are required to register for a volunteer orientation shift (held weekly), and afterward will be able to sign up for shifts that fit their schedule. Learn more about ReStore and find volunteer sign-ups here.

Local nonprofit Share Our Spare helps provide Chicago families and children with care items including diapers and wipes, as well as baby gear, clothing, safety items and other essentials. They’re looking for volunteers to help out at one of their upcoming open volunteer sessions — and the next opportunity is tomorrow at their Milwaukee Avenue Sharehouse. Volunteers can expect to help with sorting and performing quality checks on donated items. Masks are required for volunteers. Find more information about this and other upcoming volunteer opportunities on the organization’s website.

Do Good February 2023

The Field Museum is accepting applications to become a volunteer at their visitor services information desk! Volunteers are required to have excellent customer service skills and can expect to help guests when they arrive, answer questions and help out with customer service during special events. This is an opportunity for volunteers 18+, and those interested are asked to commit at least one four-hour shift per week for eight or more months are preferred. Find more information and apply to become a volunteer here.

Teamwork Englewood is looking for help as they canvass for their Get Out The Vote initiative! This initiative promotes civic engagement among Chicagoans by spreading the word about the upcoming city election, and the Green Line referendum on the ballot this year. There are two opportunities to help out, on Feb. 18 and 24, and each session will include a 30-minute training session. You can learn more on Chicago Cares’ website.

Working Bikes has a couple of volunteer opportunities coming up, on Feb. 23 and March 2! Join the nonprofit as they organize, inspect, clean and strip donated bicycle parts to help with their refurbishing process. No experience is necessary, and volunteers are encouraged to bring bikes to donate! Sign up to help out here, and learn more about Working Bikes by listening to this segment of “This Is What Chicago Sounds Like” featuring Working Bikes mechanic Xail Hernandez.

Donating gently used clothes is one way to directly benefit a child in your community. Cradles to Crayons Chicago is running a program named KidPack Direct, accepting donated clothes and giving them back to a child in need. Find out more hereLM


The Chinese Fine Arts Society is looking for volunteer assistance at the upcoming Lantern Festival Celebration, in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall on Feb. 5. Volunteers are needed to help out with tasks split into five shifts before, during and following the celebration, including set-up, lantern assembly, room monitoring, helping run the indoor marketplace, cleanup and more. Read more about the celebration and volunteer duties, and sign up to help out via VolunteerMatch.


The Howard Area Community Center is a Rogers Park social service agency that provides the community with employment opportunities, affordable education and health assistance programs. They currently have volunteer opportunities open to help out with education resources, in their food pantry, computer lab, reading program, as a youth mentor and more. You can find a full list of volunteer opportunities and apply to become a volunteer on their website.


Chicago Books to Women in Prison is a locally-based nonprofit sending paper back books to incarcerated women and trans people. They’re in need of volunteers to help out on the weekends by preparing orders of books to send out, sorting donations, organizing shelves and more. New volunteers are required to attend a pre-volunteer training session, and can email chicagobwp@gmail.com with “Volunteer Training” as the subject line to sign up. According to the organization’s Twitter, they’re also in need of some less-donated books, like self-help, craft, dictionaries, cartoons, LGBTQ and more. Find more information on how to get involved here.


Do Good January 2023


Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse is the city’s only teaching greenhouse space. They’ve partnered with Chicago Cares to recruit volunteers each month to help maintain the greenhouse, sustain its programs and teach Chicagoans about the importance of community green space. The next opportunity to help out is on Jan. 21, and tasks may include planting, mulching, weeding and shoveling. Volunteers are encouraged to wear closed-toe shoes and dress for the weather, but work will be mostly indoors. Sign up now on Chicago Cares’ website.


Pilsen Food Pantry has several ways to volunteer, including sorting and distributing food donations at the pantry, stocking and organizing their Clothes Closet, unpacking trucks from the Chicago Food Depository or signing up to become a pantry delivery driver. Find more information about each opportunity and submit a volunteer application on their website.


Team Vocalo is looking for volunteers to help us out at this year’s Winter Block Party on Feb. 18 at the Metro and Smartbar! The Winter Block Party spans from afternoon through evening, and we would love your help with setup, takedown and more. Plus, you’ll get exclusive Vocalo merch to wear during the Block Party. If you’re interested in helping out, send us an email at info@vocalo.org with the subject line “Winter Block Party Volunteer”!


Chicago-based coalition PPE For People With Disabilities distributes personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer) across the city to people with disabilities. You can sign up to volunteer or donate supplies by clicking hereLM


Light Up Lawndale, the initiative to decorate Douglass Boulevard and other major streets of North Lawndale for the holidays, is coming to an end — and they’re looking for volunteers to help with cleanup efforts on Jan. 14, 15 and 16. Volunteers can expect to help remove holiday lights from trees and clean along the decoration path, as well as learn more about the neighborhood’s history and work alongside community members. These opportunities will be outside, with limited access to warming areas, so organizers recommend dressing for the weather! Sign up and check out some more details on the Chicago Cares website.


Love cooking? This might be the opportunity for you! Kitchen Possible is a Chicago nonprofit with a mission to empower children’s mindsets through cooking, offering cooking classes to kids 8-12 years old in Pilsen, East Garfield Park and Hyde Park. They’re currently recruiting volunteers 18+ to help out with their winter 2023 session, which consists of teaching one cooking class a week over eight weeks. Interested volunteers can sign up using this online form. Learn more about Kitchen Possible on their website.


Help preserve the Chicago area’s natural spaces at one of the Will County Forest Preserve District’s volunteer mornings! Their next volunteer event is on Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon, where volunteers can help maintain Riverview Farmstead Preserve in Naperville by removing invasive woody plants from the area. This opportunity is outside and may include uneven terrain, so sturdy footwear and weather-appropriate clothing is advised. All volunteers must sign a waiver prior to helping out; the waiver and more information on how to sign up is available online here.


If you’ve seen multicolored refrigerators popping up around Chicago, you’re not seeing things! Local collective The Love Fridge installed fridges to provide food security and nourishment to their communities. Neighborhood artists are encouraged to decorate the fridges and make them as unique and diverse as the areas they’re located in. Read more about The Love Fridge’s mission and activism hereSK