Only two days stand between now and Chicago Cares’ 20th Annual Serve-a-thon. This event started as an idea and has become a Chicago institution – today, Serve-a-thon is the largest single day of service in the city.
To help celebrate, we are partnering with the Clinton Foundation for a Day of Action on June 15 and Chelsea Clinton will help kick off the day, making our 20th anniversary event more exciting than ever. The Day of Action follows the two-day Clinton Global America Meeting in Chicago, which gathers leaders from the business, foundation, NGO, and government sectors to find solutions to promote economic recovery. And on Saturday, 5,000 volunteers will come together to join us – including hundreds of Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative (GGI) friends – in service throughout the city, transforming communities with volunteer projects that beautify and uplift classrooms, school libraries, playground, parks and more.
In the past 20 years, Serve-a-thon has mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers to serve in every neighborhood of our city. Over time, the event has changed, Chicago has changed, and the needs we serve have changed. But, in all this time, one thing has remained constant: Serve-a-thon’s ability to bring many different people together and inspire them to make real, lasting impact.
Over the past few Serve-a-thons, I’ve had a chance to talk to many of our community partners about what this day means to them. Last year at Earle Elementary in Englewood, the principal told me how the mood changed in her school building when the children came back on Monday to brightly painted hallways and classrooms, new line games for recess, and colorful murals. The work our volunteers did served to tell her students “you matter” and “we care.” It lifted spirits and brought hope. It also taught volunteers a little about the challenges facing our city and inspired them to continue their service long after the paint dried at Earle.
Our city’s – and our country’s – needs are great, but the passion and commitment that come from its volunteers is greater. Civic engagement is key to building stronger, more vibrant communities. Together on June 15, we will take action with the Clinton Foundation and confront the city’s challenges, support thousands of Chicagoans through service and become part of the solution.