by Cecilia Karl
When the weather takes a turn for the bright and sunny, we find ourselves in the giving mood. With extra sunshine and longer days, it’s certainly easier to find an hour here or there to share. So we rounded some of Chicago’s worthiest non-profits who all just happen to be on the hunt for volunteers. Fit for any type of woman, these Chicago charities promise to leverage your support to make a difference. Ready to lend a hand? Here’s how.

The Tree-Hugger
Chicagoland Environmental Network
(708) 688-8396

The Chicagoland Environmental Network is a hefty database of more than 200 nature-focused organizations. A resource for the Earth-loving Chicago woman, CEN caters to environmental non-profits engaged in important work, such as habitat restoration, urban gardening, composting, wildlife restoration, and more.

Volunteer opportunities: With so many charities in its fold, CEN is on the look-out for volunteers to fill a number of roles. Interested in community gardens? CEN can place you. Want to care for butterflies at the Nature Museum’s Butterfly Lab? CEN can take you there. Or, if you care to volunteer your time as a docent at the Shedd Aquarium, let CEN show you how.

The Health-Conscious
Bright Pink 670 N. Clark St., Suite 2

Bright Pink empowers young women to take control of their breast and ovarian health. Its founder, Chicagoan Lindsey Avner, became the youngest woman to elect for a risk-reducing double mastectomy after testing positive for a gene that put her at great risk for cancer. It was then, as she prepared for this life-altering surgery, that she realized the lack of education and support available to young women in her position. Thus, Bright Pink was born. Now, the organization provides education, support, and community to young women who are at high risk for developing breast and ovarian cancers.

Volunteer opportunities: Help educate and empower young women to take control of their health by sharing your time with Bright Pink. BP is always on the look-out for women to host informational workshops, distribute educational materials, and create peer-to-peer fundraising events.

The Animal-Lover
Red Door Animal Shelter
(773) 764-2242
2410 W. Lunt

Red Door Animal Shelter takes its name from an inspiring symbol. The Red Door, or so Medieval legend holds, is the unmistakable sign for a safe haven. For scores of rabbits, cats, and dogs—the most popular pets in the U.S.—this shelter is just that. This no-kill shelter focuses on finding homes for animals, though it does provide permanent residence for the few animals that are not placed.

Volunteer opportunities: Red Door has put out the call for volunteers interested in lending a hand in a number of ways. The needs at the top of their list include volunteer laundresses to help with the 6-10 loads of daily wash; drivers to shuttle pets from vet appointments and neuter and spay clinics; caregivers to look after the pets’ daily needs, and shoppers to make runs to places like Petco and Petsmart.

The Business Woman
Dress for Success
515 N. State Street, Suite 2340
(312) 527-0925

Dress for Success is a non-profit office-attire boutique for disadvantaged and job-ready women. Promoting independence and self-reliance, Dress for Success not only provides professional attire for job searches and new employment, but it also offers a network of support, career development, and job-readiness training.

Volunteer opportunities: Whether you lend a hand as a personal shopper, assisting women in crafting a professional look; a career coach, reviewing resumes and conducting mock interviews, or pitch in collecting donated clothing, the time you share to help ready a woman for her career, is sure to make a difference.

The Athlete
Girls in the Game
1501 W. Randolph St.
(312) 633-4263

Girls in the Game works to boost girls’ confidence, sportsmanship, and leadership skills both on and off the field. This non-profit provides sports and fitness opportunities, nutrition and health education, and leadership development to encourage young women to be their healthiest selves.

Volunteer opportunities: Share your time with Girls in the Game and help encourage strength, confidence, and good health in Chicago’s young women. The organization is always in need of volunteers to moonlight as one-time guest coaches for games, tutors and homework helpers, and game day activity leaders to organize and play along with the girls.
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