Alternatives offers a broad range of opportunities to volunteer your time and make a difference in the lives of Chicago’s young people. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to play an integral part in the work that we do. Volunteer efforts help provide support for much-needed services within the agency and within the community. We are currently looking for volunteers for the following opportunities. After you have reviewed the current opportunities, you can click here to sign-up.
Support (Re)Shape Chicago
Alternatives’ ReShape Chicago Solutions Challenge gives teams of young people the opportunity to shape solutions to address real issues, challenges, or opportunities that they face in their lives. (Re)Shape Chicago will culminate in a showcase dinner elevating the perspectives, insights, and creativity of Chicago’s youth. By supporting (Re)Shape Chicago, you can amplify youth voice!
There are three different ways you you can help. Volunteer to become a:
- Team Mentor
- Studio Time Logistics Coordinator
- Showcase Dinner Planning Committee
Join a Board Committee
Alternatives’ Board of Directors coordinates its work across 5 different committees, each of which include both Board and non-Board volunteers. One board member serves as the Chair for each committee. Committees generally meet between 6 and 10 times per year, with occasional additional meetings based on special projects. The committees include:
Program Committee: Reviews program plans, activities, and outcome evaluations across the organization.
Resource Development: Establishes an annual resource development plan that targets potential funders for general agency operations (unrestricted money) and for specific agency programs (restricted money). The Resource Development committee also supports staff on visibility, relationship cultivation, and events.
Talent and Culture Committee: Supports the organization’s strategic development in areas of staff recruitment, talent development, organizational culture, and retention.
Finance Committee: Provides guidance on all policy matters as these relate to business and financial decisions affecting Alternatives, Inc. The Finance Committee ensures that all board members are fully informed about the current and projected financial position of Alternatives Inc.
Board Development: Focuses on the ongoing expansion, effectiveness, and sustainability of Alternatives’ Board of Directors.
For each of these committees, we are looking for professionals with expertise and relationships in the focus areas who are able to strategically support Alternatives in the specific domain.
Volunteering to help with administrative projects at Alternatives is a great way to learn more about our programs and services, get to know staff, and develop professional nonprofit skills. Our office support volunteers work on a range of projects including
- Data-tracking for program evaluation
- Helping with the front desk
- Answering phone calls
- Fundraising support
- Sending out mailings
This is a great option if you want to help support Alternatives’ mission, but don’t have a very consistent schedule or prefer to help behind the scenes.
This is our most flexible volunteer opportunity, but we ask that you commit to coming at least 2 hours each month, that you schedule your time at least 3 days in advance, and that you show up when you commit to being here. Our youth center hours are Mon-Thur (8am until 8pm), Fri (8am-6pm), Sat (1:30pm-4:30pm).
Field Trip Chaperone
Sign up to be on-deck for a range of activities with youth. Several times each school year, and on a weekly basis each summer, we take youth from our programs on field trips around Chicago. We are looking for volunteers interested in supporting staff during these trips.
Volunteering as a Field Trip Chaperone involves:
- Working to engage a group of 30+ middle or high school aged youth in while participating in a structured field trip
- Supporting staff as needed in the case of an emergency
- Ensuring the safety of youth on the tip
- Provide youth with safe spaces to discuss the experience of the field trip and both sharing and learning more about them as people
Minimum of high school diploma, demonstrated commitment to youth development work, experience working with the specific age group (personally or professionally), interest in and commitment to working with youth and community-based organizations.
This is a flexible opportunity that will mostly consist of the hours of the field tip, plus a small amount of preparation/training time just in advance. If you express interest in this opportunity, Alternatives’ staff will contact you 1 to 3 weeks in advance of the meeting to see if you are available. We ask that you not sign up for an event tasks unless you are very certain you can make it. If an emergency comes up, please notify staff as quickly as possible.
Special Event Support
Want to help out with our events on the day-of, but not with planning? Alternatives’ organizes several special events each year, and we need volunteers to help during the events. Tasks vary by event, but they typically include:
- Welcoming guests
- Selling raffle tickets
- Coat check
- Helping with Silent auction
- Logistics coordination among other volunteers
- Selling t-shirts or other merchandise
This is a flexible opportunity that will mostly consist of the hours of the event, plus a small amount of preparation/training time just in advance. For some task you can simply sign-up and arrive for a coordination meeting prior to the event starting, and some requiring attending one preparation meeting prior to the event itself. If you express interest in this opportunity, Alternatives’ staff will contact you several weeks in advance of the meeting with a list of options to select from. We ask that you not sign up for an event tasks unless you are very certain you can make it. If an emergency comes up, please notify staff as quickly as possible.