Community Development Chicago
Join Love Volunteers on Community Development projects in Chicago and provide a helping hand where it is needed most.
Please see the 'Additional Info.' section for procedures in place during the pandemic.
This program works with committed local organizations in the welcoming city of Chicago, addressing the immediate needs of the city's forgotten communities. The USA is often seen as the land of opportunity, however, many US families have low incomes, a lack of access to secure housing and a daily struggle to obtain basic resources. This programs aims to support community initiatives in Chicago working to address these issues.
Community organizations need volunteer help to achieve their aim of building thriving, vibrant and safe communities with equal opportunities and resources for all residents.
Goals of this project:
- Improving the quality of life for low-income and un-housed communities.
- Supporting organizations in providing easy access to food and basic necessities
- Creating safe, positive spaces for residents who feel empowered in their own communities
- Enabling positive exchange between volunteers and communities that cross cultural, religious and socio-economic barriers
How You Can Help
More than ever volunteers are needed to assist local organizations in their work with vulnerable communities. In this ever changing world the challenges are multiple and often unpredictable. Volunteers on this essential program will gain an insight into the issues faced by these communities and will play a part in combating these challenges and empowering individuals to be active in their community.
Volunteers will be matched with local initiatives based on skill-sets, preferences and the needs existing at the time of placement. The program partners with various organizations running a diverse range of projects and the work undertaken by each volunteer is meaningful and beneficial to the communities served. Placements may be with food banks, homeless shelters, donation warehouses, schools and community centres.
Volunteer work will vary depending on the projects being undertaken and may include:
- Assisting in food distribution, for example serving meals and packing grocery boxes
- Sorting donations of food, clothing or household goods
- Assisting local homeless shelters
- Working with local groups to clean and beautify communal spaces
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over (17 with parental consent) who wish to help create a brighter future for people living in marginalized communities in the USA. While this project is best suited to those interested in the fields of anthropology, social work, social entrepreneurship and/or economics, volunteers who simply wish to be involved in a more ‘varied’ project are also welcomed as there are many ways you can assist and individual projects can often be tailored to suit the particular skills and interests or each participant.
Importantly, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
Chicago is culture, cuisine and seriously cool!
Lying on the shores of Lake Michigan the city is washed by breezes (often gusts!) which help to propel visitors from one sight and experience to the next. There is just so much to see, do and taste in this city!
Chicago is well known for its incredible cuisine so you'll need to do some walking to ease the belt buckles! That's not a problem when there's so much amazing architecture to enjoy, either in passing or up-close and personal, and great beaches and parks in which to get active - or to relax.
With a massive population of close to 3 million, Chicago attracts serious sporting and musical talent so it's very likely that your visit will coincide with entertainment of either variety to enjoy during your free time.
What an incredible location in which to be based as a Love Volunteer!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Volunteers are met on arrival into Chicago by our local representative and taken to the hostel to settle in. A welcome dinner for new and current volunteers is a great opportunity to get to know each other!
Monday is Orientation Day, designed to help volunteers feel supported and comfortable in their new environment. The orientation will cover negotiating the public transport system and will include a visit to the project site and brief introduction by the community partner.
- Arrival Day: SUNDAY 8AM - 8PM
- Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival Airport: O'Hare International Airport (code: ORF, ORD)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this project are accommodated at one of Chicago's popular hostels within convenient access to metro stations, restaurants and the many attractions of this great city. Volunteers will stay in shared dormitory-style rooms of various sizes, with shared bathroom facilities.
All standard amenities are available in the hostel, including lockers, free Wi-fi, communal areas in which to relax, kitchenette, 24 hour front desk and even an on-site restaurant and bar with 10% discount offered to guests! Linen is provided and towels are available for a small charge so volunteers need only bring personal toiletries. A laundromat is close by.
Volunteers are provided with a complimentary buffet breakfast every day at the hostel. Other meals are a chance to experience the amazing culture and cuisine on offer. Simply get a few of your fellow hostel mates together and head out to one of the many local restaurants, bars or cafes and enjoy all the local and international delicacies on offer....Easy!
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
COVID-19 Safety Measures in the USA:
We will be engaging in the following steps to ensure both volunteer and partner safety.
- Ensure soap and hand gel are available at all placements (get to partners, housing, maybe supply)
- If necessary, provide additional masks and gloves at the placements if a volunteer is unable to bring their own
- Ensure partners are taking the necessary steps as listed below to ensure partner and volunteer safety
- Ensure the coordinator will wear a mask and engage in other preventative measures such as social distancing when interacting with the volunteers
- Provide up-to-date and accurate information to our volunteers regarding safe volunteering practices
Housing Partners Will:
- Post informational signage throughout the property informing guests of best practices and how to reduce the spread of the virus
- Develop intensified cleaning practices for all areas of the accommodation
- Including but not limited to: regularly wiping down all commonly touched surfaces such as door handles, faucet handles and shower handles, increased bathroom sanitization
- Implement social distancing practices
- Such as but not limited to reducing the number of guests assigned to each dorm style/shared room.
- Require staff and guests to wear protective gear in common areas
- Follow CDC recommendations if clients or staff show COVID-19 symptoms
Community Partners Will:
- Provide any cleaning supplies/protective gear necessary to complete tasks assigned to the volunteers
- Depending upon their project site will engage in whatever routine sanitation practices are applicable
- Require all coordinators/employees to engage in social distancing practices, wear masks, and routinely wash hands
Orientation Activity Partners Will:
- Encourage and enforce social distancing
- Limit their capacity especially if the activity is located within a building
- Ensure their staff wears protective gear
Volunteers Will Be Asked To:
- Obtain a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival and present proof of testing before/upon arrival.
- Bring their own masks and wear them consistently when interacting with others
- Consistently wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
- Notify us if they display any of the symptoms of COVID-19
- Not share items with other volunteers unless properly sanitized
- Follow all safe and outlined volunteer practices
- Follow necessary public transportation safety practices as outlined by the city’s transit authority