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Become a Lunch Buddy or CHiL Tutor this fall!

2016 August 24
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by HandsOn Suburban Chicago

We need you to help better our schools. Become a Lunch Buddy or CHiL Tutor this fall.

To kick off the new school year right, HandsOn Suburban Chicago (HOSC) has teamed up with area schools to manage Lunch Buddies and CHiL—community-based tutoring programs that provide students with the academic support they need to succeed.

Lunch Buddies launched last year at Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine. The lunchtime program will focus on strengthening the foundational math and reading skills of students in grades 4, 5, and 6. The program will also expand to serve 3rd graders at Plainfield Elementary School in Des Plaines. The tutors at Plainfield will enjoy lunch and read with small groups of students to foster their literacy development. What could be a more pleasant way to support a child’s academic growth?

CHiL (Cooper, Holmes, and London) supports the afterschool tutoring programs that take place at Cooper Middle School in Buffalo Grove, Holmes Middle School in Wheeling, and Jack London Middle School in Wheeling. This program prepares students in grades 6, 7, and 8 for high school by offering them homework assistance and various enrichment activities. Teachers with students enrolled in CHiL consistently report increases in grades, classroom engagement, and homework completion rates. During the 2015-2016 academic year, 67% of CHiL participants improved their reading grades and 48% of them upped their math grades. Outcomes like these would not be possible without the help of dedicated community members.

HOSC is looking for individuals who value education and want to get involved in a meaningful way. We need folks like you. We need you to contribute your talents and just an hour of your week to help students realize their own potential.

Lunch Buddies are needed on:

* Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm at Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine

* Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:10 pm to 1:00 pm at Plainfield Elementary School

CHiL Tutors are needed on:

* Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm at Cooper Middle School, Buffalo Grove

* Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm at Holmes Middle School, Wheeling

* Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:15 pm at Jack London Middle School, Wheeling

At most schools, fall session will begin in September and go through mid-December 2016. Session 2 restarts in January. Further program details and a link to our application can be found here.

HandsOn Suburban Chicago Featured in Daily Herald Posts

2016 August 4
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HandsOn Suburban Chicago was recently featured in two posts on the Daily Herald website. Follow the links below to learn more about the organization and the amazing volunteers working to improve our community:

7/25/2016 – HandsOn Suburban Chicago links volunteers with those in need

It all started in a box.

In the 1960’s, 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.


7/25/2016 – A closer look at people who volunteer

Seven Senior Corps-RSVP members were given special recognition in April at the HandsOn Suburban Chicago Celebration of Service breakfast at the Metropolis in Arlington Heights.


A volunteer works on a bench during a Make a Difference Day event at Jane Addams Elementary School.Photo Credit: Joe Lewnard | Daily Herald Staff Photographer October 2015


HandsOn Suburban Chicago Appoints New Executive Director and New Project Director of Senior-Corp RSVP Programs

2016 June 28
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Arlington Heights, IL – HandsOn Suburban Chicago (HOSC) is pleased to announce today that Jordan Friedman, MSW has joined the organization as Executive Director. Jordan fills the vacancy created in December by Chris Smith’s retirement. Jordan comes to HOSC with 28 years of experience within the nonprofit sector, including executive expertise in leadership, operations management, and expanding organizational capacity.

Jordan’s resume includes over 10 years of strategic planning, fund development, advocacy and communications in the nonprofit sector. Prior to his executive leadership roles, he served as a Senior Social Worker for Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.  As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Jordan was appointed as adjunct clinical faculty at the University Of Washington Graduate School Of Social Work, and has served as a board member of several local nonprofit organizations. Before to coming to HOSC Jordan was Director for the Family Focus/Family Network Center in Highland Park, IL. Jordan is excited to be a part of HOSC and looks forward to working with its staff, volunteers and community partners.

Additionally, HOSC is happy to announce that Carolyn Roberts as its new Senior-Corp RSVP Project Director. Carolyn brings with her 20+ years of experience in the corporate arena leading high performance teams and projects in the Chemical, Telecommunications, Retail and Food Service industries. Originally, from the East Coast, Carolyn has been a Chicagoland resident for a little over 20 years and has a deep passion to use her skills to make a positive impact on the lives of others.


About HandsOn Suburban Chicago

HandsOn Suburban Chicago has been a vital part of the community for 47 years, building the capacity of over 200 nonprofit agencies and engaging 5000+ volunteers every year. By collaborating with these organizations, HOSC provides them with the tools they need to effectively utilize their volunteers to sustain their mission.

HOSC’s mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize people to volunteer and take action that builds vibrant and prosperous communities. To learn more about how you can get involved in your community visit:

Contact: Benjamin Carr

Phone: 847.228.1320


HandsOn Suburban Chicago Celebrates Senior Corps Week

2016 May 17
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HandsOn Suburban Chicago and the Senior Corps-Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) recognizes the extraordinary impact Senior Corps-RSVP volunteers make across our northwest suburbs each year during Senior Corps Week. This year, Senior Corps Week is celebrated from May 16-20 and is designated by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service.

Senior Corps-RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over. In our northwest Chicago suburbs, there are 27 Senior Corps-RSVP members who are 90 years old or older. There are also 26 RSVP volunteers in the northwest suburbs who have volunteered for 20 or more years at one location. These volunteers offer extraordinary service to the many agencies and townships they serve.

Together, their 115,000 hours of lifetime volunteer service represents over $1,000,000 worth of value to the northwest suburbs.

Local Volunteers Honored For Service At Celebration of Service Breakfast

2016 May 11
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by HandsOn Suburban Chicago

HandsOn Suburban Chicago along with Senator Matt Murphy and Nokia celebrate the impact made by local volunteers and nonprofit organizations.

Murhpy AwardArlington Heights, IL – May 5, 2016 – HandsOn Suburban Chicago (HOSC) held its annual Celebration of Service breakfast on Tuesday, April 26, at the Metropolis Ballroom in downtown Arlington Heights. The event celebrated the hard work and dedication of volunteers serving in the Northwest Suburbs.

Among the 120 guests in attendance was State Senator Matt Murphy who acted as the keynote speaker. Nokia, a longtime friend of HOSC and active community supporter, was proud to be the breakfast’s premier sponsor. Tom Gaynor, HOSC board member and Nokia representative, said Nokia was thrilled to support an event and organization that engages volunteers who make an impact across 44+ communities in over 200 nonprofit organizations.

Other sponsors included the Korean Cultural Center of Chicago, Roosevelt University, and Zurich.

The breakfast honored seven Senior Corps – RSVP volunteers who were among 27 nominees selected by their organizations for their outstanding service and contributions to the community. The honorees were Marlene Dalacker, Vincent Kelley, James Kennedy, Judith Liles, Marilyn Neumann, Craig Power, and Doris Walther. Sponsored by the Corporation for National & Community Service, Senior Corps-RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over.

HandsOn Suburban Chicago has been a vital part of the community for 47 years, building the capacity of over 200 nonprofit agencies and engaging 5000+ volunteers every year. By collaborating with these organizations, HOSC provides them with the tools they need to effectively utilize their volunteers to sustain their mission.

About HandsOn Suburban Chicago

HOSC’s mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize people to volunteer and take action that builds vibrant and prosperous communities. To learn more about Senior Corps-RSVP or how you can get involved in your community visit: 

About Nokia

NokiaNokia is a global leader in the technologies that connect people and things. Powered by the innovation of Nokia Bell Labs and Nokia Technologies, the company is at the forefront of creating and licensing the technologies that are increasingly at the heart of our connected lives.

With state-of-the-art software, hardware and services for any type of network, Nokia is uniquely positioned to help communication service providers, governments, and large enterprises deliver on the promise of 5G, the Cloud and the Internet of Things.

The Children’s Advocacy Center Thanks You For a Successful Event!

2016 May 3
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by HandsOn Suburban Chicago

Children’s Advocacy Center’s Hope, Heal, Grow Gala a Success!

A very big thank you to all who attended, sponsored and supported the Hope, Heal, Grow Gala! The numbers are in and we raised over $195,000! These funds will directly support the children and families the Children’s Advocacy Center serves.

We would like to thank our Presenting Sponsors, Thermos and John and Rita Canning. We would also like to thank the table sponsors, auction donors, volunteers, and our event chair, Britten Follett. All of your efforts helped make Saturday’s gala a tremendous success. Because of your generosity, we were able to successfully reach our Fund-A-Program goal. We will now be able to replace all of our sensitive interview recording equipment!

Some photos of the event are available on our Facebook page. Official photos will be posted when they become available. Thank you again for your compassion and generosity. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s Hope, Heal, Grow Gala!


With much gratitude,

The CAC Team


Upcoming Events:

We have more events happening over the next couple months. Please click on the links below to learn more about our 9th Annual Champions for Children 5K Walk or our new CAC Golf Outing presented by ANGUS.


9th Annual Champions for Children 5K Walk

CAC Golf Outing Presented by ANGUS


April Senior Corps-Spotlight on Service

2016 May 3
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” ‘Cause You Gotta Have Friends…”

In this month’s Spotlight, we’re delighted to feature two inspiring volunteers and friends, Dorothy (Doris) Rzepecki and Gerri Hamilton.. They have volunteered weekly for 20 and 16 years respectively at Rolling Meadows High School. And as if that’s not enough, they also each volunteer four hours a week at Alexian Brothers Medical Center!

Doris and Gerri have been friends for over 70 years and watch out for each other. Gerri no longer drives, so Doris drives for both of them. The personal highlight for Doris of her long volunteer career was being nominated for the Pelican Award at Alexian Brothers, their highest volunteer honor. The pelican, a symbol used by the Alexian Brothers Congregation for hundreds of years, represents the sacrifice of Christian charity.

Both Gerri and Doris were nominated for the Celebrate Service Award through Senior Corps-RSVP this year, because of their long and consistent service to the community. Doris has over 8,200 reported volunteer hours and Gerri has 5,400 hours. That’s the equivalent of six years of full-time employment between them! Volunteers like Doris and Gerri, who give selflessly to their community, are one of the things that make America great.



“Alone we can do so little, together, we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

As you would imagine, Gerri and Doris are well respected by the staff at the High School. Robert R. Yerkan, College Counselor expresses it best. “With their years of dedicated service to the Student Services Department at Rolling Meadows High School, Doris and Gerri have become part of the Mustang Family. Their unwavering commitment to volunteering in our department every Wednesday, and other days if needed, is invaluable. Their sense of dedication is both admirable and unparalleled. In the rare event that they cannot come in, usually due to weather, they are profusely apologetic. They are perfect examples of, and role models for, the concept of “giving back.”   
Why do they volunteer? “Because it keeps me busy and I’m happy with all of the people I’m in contact with; everyone is very nice; they’re family,” says Doris as Gerri smiles in agreement. They agree that volunteering keeps your mind going.

That notion is backed up by good scientific research. Here’s some interesting data from the Corporation of National & Community Service.Over the past two decades we have seen a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits. This research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Comparisons of the health benefits of volunteering for different age groups have also shown that older volunteers are the most likely to receive greater benefits from volunteering, whether because they are more likely to face higher incidence of illness or because volunteering provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose at a time when their social roles are changing. Some of these findings also indicate that volunteers who devote a “considerable” amount of time to volunteer activities (about 100 hours per year) are most likely to exhibit positive health outcomes.” 1

What would they say to other people who are thinking of volunteering? “It’s the best thing you can do to keep yourself busy and to meet new people,” they both chime in. If you’ve been working on a friend to join you in volunteering, keep at it. Doris had to work on Gerri for a long time to get her started. “I kept telling Doris no, no, no and she kept saying yes, yes, yes,”laughs Gerri. But once Gerri started, she was hooked right along with Doris. And the best part is, they’ve done it together. If you’re looking for some good places to volunteer together with your friends or a place to make new friends, here are some ideas to get you started:

Let Your Love of Shopping Help Your Community:

Schaumburg Thrift Shop Assistants

Des Plaines Thrift Shop Helpers

Algonquin Thrift Shop Helpers

Make a New Friend Through the Friendly Visitor Program:


Arlington Heights


Help Travelers at O’Hare

Palatine Friendly Caller

Cook Together:

Des Plaines


Help the Environment Together:

River Forest

Elk Grove Village

Hoffman Estates



1The Health Benefits of Volunteering

March Senior Corps-RSVP Spotlight on Service

2016 March 20
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by HandsOn Suburban Chicago

This month we focus on “capacity building” an important term used by non-profits that may be new to most readers. It’s a phrase that speaks to how non-profits accomplish their mission by having the right skills in the areas of decision making, policy formulation, appraisal, and learning.

In nuts and bolts terms, that will include ongoing development in these important and diverse organizational areas:

  • governance and leadership
  • mission and strategy
  • administration
  • fund-raising/income generation
  • partnerships and collaboration
  • evaluation
  • advocacy and policy change
  • marketing

Capacity building is necessary to ensure an organization is able to continue to meet its mission. Skilled-based volunteers who help in capacity building areas provide invaluable expertise to their organization’s success.


sueSusan Litka volunteers with HandsOn Suburban Chicago (HOSC). After retiring in 2009 and marking off most of the items on her to-do list, Susan was looking for activities outside the house.  She volunteered to stuff envelopes at HOSC, but was quickly recruited for a different task, when it was discovered she had worked as a Grant Coordinator. Grants are crucial for most non-profits’ financial health and long-term viability.

In her previous work position, Susan looked for grants that would fit her organization’s expertise, tracked the outcome of submitted proposals and calculated their success rate. She brings those same skills to HOSC, where she maintains the spreadsheet to track grant progress and outcome. She also provides editing and proofreading skills for several HOSC publications and organizes Excel spreadsheet data.

As Susan reflects on her time at HOSC, she notes, “Like many of us, it is not the work per se that I missed when I retired, as it was the workplace environment, the social benefits of interacting with others. Having been with HOSC for over six years, I’ve gotten to know the staff and other volunteers, many of whom I now consider friends. That, and the feeling of accomplishment when certain tasks are completed.  Although my value is no longer measured in dollars, it is confirmed each day I spend at HOSC, as someone invariably says ‘Thank You’ as I walk out the door.”

 “Susan looks for new challenges and opportunities to add value to HandsOn Suburban Chicago and its Senior Corps-RSVP program. In addition, she provides vision and advice as a volunteer with Senior Corps-RSVP’s Community Participation Advisory Group. We consider Susan one of our closest advisors and most importantly a friend.”

Sarah Van Huis, Director, Nonprofit Development and Senior Corps-RSVP Director.



jamesJames Kennedy volunteers at the Children’s Advocacy Center. He also wanted to stay mentally and physically active after retiring and he saw volunteering as a means to that end. He began delivering weekly Meals-on-Wheels for the Kenneth Young Center, an opportunity he found through the HOSC website.

Buoyed by that success, he went back to the HOSC website and was surprised at the opportunities that needed the computer skills he used daily as an engineer.  The Safe From The Start/Childrens’ Advocacy Center sought Excel spreadsheet expertise to better tabulate assessment data, an important aspect in capacity building. Since it used his existing skills, James says he didn’t have to think twice about it.

And what does James get in return for volunteering?  “It’s a ticket to feel good about yourself every day you participate. To know you’ve done some good, contributed, maybe made some one’s life a little better. I also appreciate the exposure to people who are outside of my personal circle of colleagues, friends, and acquaintances.  It’s a reminder about the less familiar facets of the world we live in.”

 And that feeling of respect from James to the Children’s Advocacy Center is mutual.

“James is so knowledgeable in the skill set we needed help with – technology. He took into account the needs of our program and arranged our data in a meaningful way that we can submit to our funders. James makes a big difference for us and we look forward to engaging him in more projects!”

-Carrie Estrada, Safe From the Start Program Coordinator (a program of the Children’s Advocacy Center).


Please check out these important capacity building opportunities with area non-profits:

Governance and Leadership:

Board Member – NW CASA, Arlington Heights

Board Member – Arts Refreshing the Soul, Palatine

Board Member – Kenneth Young Center, Elk Grove Village

Senior Advisory Council Member – Kenneth Young Center, Elk Grove Village

Attorney – Center of Concern, Park Ridge

Board Member – Palatine Township Senior Citizens Council, Palatine



Public Relations & Media Support – Countryside Association for People With Disabilities, Palatine

Social Media Community Coordinator – Living Faith Economic Empowerment Center, Barrington

Social Media Expert – Faith Community Homes, Arlington Heights

Marketing Outreach Volunteer – Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Evanston

Youth Education Presenter, PHD Counseling Center, Inverness


Fundraising/Income Generation:

Fundraising for Abused & Neglected Children, Shelter, Inc., Arlington Heights

Grant Writer – Living Faith Economic Empowerment Center, Barrington

Money Management Volunteers – Hanover Township, Bartlett