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Contents tagged with volunteer expo

  • Top 6 Reasons to Come to the Chicago Volunteer Expo


    Tags: chicago volunteer expo, volunteer expo, volunteer, volunteer opportunities

    Created: 2/10/2016      Updated: 7/29/2016

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    Chicago Volunteer Expo logo

    Later this month we will host the Chicago Volunteer Expo, now in its fourth year. We are proud to be the home of this city-wide event that showcases hundreds of volunteer opportunities at over 85 nonprofit and community organizations. Join us on Sunday, February 28, from 10am to 4pm, to find the opportunity that’s right for you.

    Need a little motivation? Here’s why we think you should be there:

    1. It’s free. There’s not a lot more to be said here. Who doesn’t love a Sunday outing that costs nothing?
    1. It takes place at the Nature Museum. Instead of a giant, boring convention center, we hold the Chicago Volunteer Expo right here at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Not only will you get to learn about hundreds of volunteer opportunities all over the city, you’ll also have the chance to explore our exhibits. You can meet live critters, check out our historic collections, and get acquainted with urban nature. And I challenge you to find a more pleasant place to be on a February afternoon than our Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, which we keep at 80 degrees.
    1. You’ll have real conversations, with real people representing great causes. Sure, you could go online and search for volunteer opportunities, but an in-person conversation just can’t be beat when it comes to decisions like where to volunteer your time. Sometimes the most interesting opportunities are at tiny organizations that are not posted online and don’t show up in Google searches. Even if you do find a good opportunity listed, too often you fill out an inquiry and simply never hear back from anyone. At the Chicago Volunteer Expo, you can personally meet with more than 85 organizations and learn immediately how you can help make an impact with your valuable volunteer time.

    Volunteer at the Chicago Volunteer Expo

    1. Instant gratification. Even while you’re still browsing the options at the Expo, you can start lending a hand on the spot. We call it speed volunteering – it’s kind of like speed dating, but less awkward. All day long, you can help turn used plastic grocery bags into beautiful and functional sleeping mats for the homeless. It only takes minutes, and you can see your impact immediately.
    1. School credit or brownie points at work. Most schools now require service learning of some kind, but it can be hard for teens to find volunteer work. We carefully curate the organizations that come to this event, and 59% of them offer volunteer opportunities for teens. Another common challenge is finding opportunities for groups of coworkers to volunteer together – it’s great for teambuilding, but a lot of places just can’t accommodate groups. Never fear: 61% of the organizations at the Expo will take groups.
    1. Volunteering might make you happier. It’s been studied! People who volunteer are happier than people who don’t, and some researchers have even found a causal effect – volunteering actually caused the increase in happiness. If you’re feeling those wintertime blues, why not lend a hand for a cause you care about? You might find that it’s mutually beneficial.

    Volunteers at the Chicago Volunteer Expo

    Jill Doub
    Senior Director of Public Engagement

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  • Volunteering Makes You Live Longer


    Tags: volunteers, volunteer expo, happiness

    Created: 11/21/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

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    THIS JUST IN: Volunteers live longer.

    I swear it’s true. They’re also happier. As manager of volunteers here at the Nature Museum, I’ve been saying this for years – but now there’s empirical evidence to back me up.

    Dr. Suzanne Richards and her team at the University of Exeter Medical School recently published results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of the health and survival of people who volunteer. The researchers looked at 40 studies on this topic and found that volunteering is consistently associated with increased life satisfaction and wellbeing and decreased rates of depression and mortality. (Source:

    In a nutshell: People who volunteer are happier and healthier than people who don’t. 

    Anyone who’s ever taken a course in research methodology knows that we can’t infer causation from correlation. Just because two factors are associated with one another doesn’t mean one factor caused the other. So we can’t say for sure whether volunteering actually causes people to live a longer, happier life or whether there are other variables at work.

    But the fact remains that people who give their time and energy to help others end up better off themselves. 

    Why might this be so? I think there are a couple of reasons. First of all, volunteering gets you out of the house. It makes you more active and gets all those great energy juices flowing. Second, volunteering creates social connections. It expands and deepens your circle of friends, which sets off numerous chemical reactions in your brain that make you feel happy. 

    If all this happiness and longevity sounds appealing to you and you’re into nature and science, join our volunteer team here at the museum. Apply here to get started:

    Not sure if this is the place for you? Stop by in February for the chance to speak with over 50 different nonprofit organizations about their volunteer opportunities. The Nature Museum is hosting the second annual Chicago Volunteer Expo on Sunday, February 16, 10 am to 4 pm. I hope to see you there!

    Jill Doub
    Manager of Volunteers and Interns

    PS: If you’re a nonprofit organization looking to recruit volunteers at the 2014 Chicago Volunteer Expo, the application is now live! 

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