ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 63 of 147

SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY LEFT: Chicago Cares Cofounder Leslie Bluhm makes an origami peace crane with a student in an anti-bullying project at Lloyd Elementary School. BELOW: Volunteers from Chicago Cares' annual Serve-a-thon are welcomed back to Daley Plaza after a day spent volunteering. At Y Service our AS CHICAGO CARES GETS READY FOR ITS ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF SERVICE, ORGANIZATION COFOUNDER LESLIE BLUHM STRIVES TO FIND NEW WAYS TO CHAMPION VOLUNTEERISM IN CHICAGO. AS TOLD TO J.P. ANDERSON I 've been a volunteer since I was in junior high school, so I've always known the impact I could make through service. I also realized the great impact that service had on me; it really shaped who I am today and informed my life choices and opinions, and I've been able to be out there in communities all over the city of Chicago. After law school, I was practicing law and still volunteering, but I realized most of my friends and coworkers were not. It wasn't because they didn't know how or didn't want to—they just didn't know where to turn. You think, "Gosh, I'd like to go volunteer at a shelter," and some people might even call the shelter, but the shelter is so busy that they actually don't have the bandwidth to respond to volunteers. This happens even though 90 percent of nonprofits acknowledge that they 62 need volunteers to fulfill their mission. Unless they're very well-developed, most nonprofits don't have a volunteer manager. So I knew there was a need, and I also knew that there were all these people out there who, if given the right sort of framework and the right type of organization, would jump in to serve and make an impact, which would also make them better leaders, decision makers, and voters for the rest of their lives. Making Connections I started Chicago Cares in 1991 with Mary Prchal. Our concept was to create very meaningful, impactful volunteer experiences while also meeting continued on page 64 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 062-067_MA_SP_Spirit_Winter2014.indd 62 11/19/13 4:50 PM

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