Charlotte Kasparaitis, left, and Kate Gurion, both age 7 and of Palatine, double-team a push broom as they join with volunteers from HandsOn Suburban Chicago to transform the courtyard into their school -- Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine -- into an outdoor learning space. Chris Lewis of Arlington Heights assembles a bench as part of a Make a Difference Day event where HandsOn Suburban Chicago volunteers helped Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine transform its courtyard into an outdoor learning space. In the 1960s, local activist Lois Moore began filling a recipe box with the names of friends and neighbors who were interested in volunteering, but unsure of where to go. As that box began to overflow, Moore worked with the Arlington Heights Clergy Fellowship to found the Volunteer Service Bureau of Northwest Cook County, a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities. The bureau opened its doors on May 1, 1969, in a cramped high school office, connecting more than 100 people with opportunities to make a difference in the first year.

From these humble beginnings, HandsOn Suburban Chicago -- as we've been called since July 2011 -- has grown into a force for change, referring more than 5,000 volunteers annually and serving more than 200 social service agencies, nonprofits and schools in 40 communities in Northern Cook and Northern DuPage counties. While we continue the tradition of referring people to organizations, today's volunteer center goes further, with volunteer programs for youth and with Senior Corps-RSVP (a federal program to provide retirees with the opportunity to use their time, talents and lifetime experience to volunteer), and also by providing professional training and consulting services for area nonprofits. Due to the recent state budget impasse, as well as cuts from foundations and reduced donations, HOSC is seeking donations to keep our programs going to support volunteer opportunities to help communities in our service area.
Other giving opportunities include sponsorship for our annual Volunteer Recognition Breakfast held in April, as well as program sponsorships. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

For individuals and groups, up to 400 opportunities are available each day to help the community. Community members 55 and older interested in becoming a Senior Corps-RSVP member also are welcome as are younger people who would like to celebrate the accomplishments of the senior volunteers.

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