GENERAL EVENT INFORMATION
Serve-a-thon is Chicago Cares' biggest event and the largest single day of community service in Chicago. On a Saturday in June each year, we gather thousands of volunteers at Daley Plaza and bus them to project sites across the city to perform hands-on service that may include painting, planting, and cleaning under the direction of trained Volunteer Leaders. After the marathon day of service, we bus the volunteers back to Daley Plaza, where they take part in a celebration with food, drink, and live music.
A $15 fee covers everything you need for the day. We'll organize all the details, and hook you up with supplies, light breakfast, lunch, an event t-shirt, plus an after party with food and beer (for those of us of drinking age). You just show up and make a huge impact. Lots of companies sponsor their employees' participation, so if yours is one of them, you'll get a code for free registration.
Due to the nature of the service projects, volunteers must be at least 13 years of age on or before June 23, 2018, in order to participate. Each volunteer between the ages of 13 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (at least one adult per child between the ages of 13 and 17 is required). Volunteers aged 18 and over can participate on their own. Roadies must be 18 years or older.
Check-in will take place between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington. Volunteers will board buses to their service projects after check-in, and there will be a lunch break at each project. After the work is completed, buses will return volunteers to Daley Plaza for an after party with free food, drinks (beer for ages 21+, ID required), and live entertainment provided in large part by event sponsors. The post-event celebration ends at 5:00 p.m.
Unfortunately, no. Please look for Serve-a-thon next year and be sure to register as early as you can.
Yep! Just indicate your lunch preference during the registration process and your pre-ordered lunch will be delivered to your project site. Since Roadies only work a half day shift, they do not receive lunch.
Because projects may include painting, planting, and cleaning, wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Bring your ID and only items that can be carried on you, as there won’t be a place to store or secure belongings.
Serve-a-thon takes place rain or shine. In the event of rain, outdoor tasks will go on as planned, be modified, or be moved indoors as needed.
If you require wheelchair accessibility, please notify us of your needs at email@example.com once you have successfully registered. If you have other health considerations, such as pregnancy, asthma, or an allergy to latex, you may also notify us, and we will work to accommodate you.
There are many ways to participate in Serve-a-thon:
- Sponsor Volunteer (code required) – Participating with your company? Create a new team or join an existing one. If you don't know your code, please contact the Team Captain at your organization.
- General Volunteer – Want to volunteer with old friends or meet new ones? Create or join a team! Registration is just $15 and includes light breakfast, lunch, event t-shirt, plus an after party with food and beer (for those of us of drinking age), plus some fun extras along the way.
- Roadie – If you can't serve the whole day and want to save a buck, we have the gig for you! Work side-by-side with the Chicago Cares staff to make Serve-a-thon happen. Help out with event management duties like checking people in and handing out breakfast at Daley Plaza during a morning or afternoon shift, or both.
- Volunteer Leader – Logistics guru? Take on a leadership role and manage a team of volunteers and a project at a service site. This role has some special requirements and training; contact Maura York for more info.
REGISTRATION AND TEAMS
Visit the registration page to begin. Once you have completed your registration, you will receive a confirmation email. If you encounter problems with registration, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The volunteer registration deadline is Friday, June 15, or when the event reaches capacity, whichever comes first.
Yes, simply choose one person to register first and select "Create a Team" in the online registration process- this person will be your Team Captain. Once the Team Captain has registered, team members can select "Join a Team" and search for their team name in the online registration process to register themselves to that team.
Youth age 13 – 17 are welcome to participate in Serve-a-thon if accompanied by an adult. However, at this time, the online system is not able to process Serve-a-thon registration for youth. In order to process youth registration offline, please email Eva Lewis at email@example.com.
A team is any group of two or more volunteers. The more, the merrier!
All volunteers on the same team will be assigned to the same project site. If you would like to request that two or more teams be assigned to the same project site, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We do our best to keep larger groups together, but due to project requirements and space constraints, we can’t guarantee it.
Individual participants are welcome – in fact, participating in Serve-a-thon is a great way to meet new people! Visit the registration page and select "Register as a General Volunteer."
When you are ready to start your team, visit the registration page, indicate your Participant Type (sponsor volunteer or general volunteer), and choose "Create a Team." Select your team type (sponsor team or non-sponsor team) and then give your team a name.
Visit the registration page, indicate your Participant Type (sponsor volunteer or general volunteer), select "Join a Team," and click “search” to find your team. Type in the name of your team and select it from the list.
All registration types are nonrefundable but transferable, so you may have someone substitute for you. (The substitute attendee will have to meet the requirements of the participant role and sign their own waiver at event check-in.) To coordinate a substitution before the event, email email@example.com.
EVENT KICKOFF LOCATION/DALEY PLAZA
Volunteers are strongly encouraged to use one of the many public transportation options to Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, on the day of the event due to high congestion anticipated in the area. Parking fees are not included in event registration; self-pay parking near Daley Plaza is available in public garages.
As there will be no designated meeting places at Daley Plaza, we suggest you check in first then meet your team at a nearby intersection or on the bus to your project site.
Volunteers will be given project assignments at check-in on the day of the event. This year, all Serve-a-thon projects will be at a Chicago Public School. Projects may include painting, planting, cleaning, light construction, and other hands-on work, so wear clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
Given the needs of our project partners, the volume of projects, and the number of volunteers participating in Serve-a-thon, we're unable to fulfill specific requests.
Chicago Cares will bus all volunteers to and from their project sites. Volunteers must check in on the morning of the event in order to board the bus and attend a project. Volunteers will board buses at Daley Plaza after checking in between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and will return to Daley Plaza by approximately 3:30 p.m. The event buses are the only mode of transportation to and from the project sites.
No. Due to safety issues, logistical considerations, and parking limitations at our service sites, you may not drive to your project.
Due to the nature of the event and volunteer activities, all volunteers must participate in the entire duration of the event. If you aren't able to participate in the full day, consider serving as a Roadie for a morning or afternoon shift and help Chicago Cares staff make the event happen.
When you arrive at your project site, you will be greeted by your Volunteer Leaders. These individuals are volunteers who have gone through extensive training and preparation for the project, and they will provide instructions and guide your work throughout the day. If you have questions about the work, the schedule, or anything else taking place at your project site, the Volunteer Leaders are your go-to people! If you’re interested in serving as a volunteer leader, contact Maura York.
Everyone! Just like with a walk-a-thon, you can ask your family and friends to support the volunteer work YOU will do on June 23. After you have registered for the event, you will have an opportunity to set up a personalized fundraising page to share with your network.
The money we raise for Serve-a-thon helps cover the cost of Chicago’s largest day of service. The funds also allow Chicago Cares to provide over 200 volunteer opportunities every month to make Chicago a stronger, more unified city.
It's easy to collect donations online: after you have registered for the event, you will be prompted to create a personalized fundraising page. Share your page on your favorite social media channel or email a customized message to your friends and family. All your fundraising tools are available to you on your personalized fundraising page. You can also collect donations offline and submit checks at the Info Tent at Daley Plaza on June 23 or mail them to Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon, Attention: Meredith Weber, 2 N Riverside Plaza Suite 1800, Chicago, IL 60606.
Yes, your donations (and those of individuals who make pledges to support you) are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Quite possibly – many do. See if your company appears in our matching gift database or check with your Human Resources department to make your donation go even further.
Still have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.