It’s the New Year’s resolution to end all New Year’s resolutions, and it’s so, so Girl Scouts! This year, do things a little differently, and resolve to give back to yourself by giving back to others. That’s right. We’re calling for a resolution of service! Because when you help others, you just can’t begin to imagine how much good it actually does for your own soul. It’s really the best kind of win-win.
And it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it’s really the accumulation of all the small ways we can be of service to others every day that can make our lives significantly brighter and more meaningful, while helping us feel more connected within our communities. In 2018, what do you say we all resolve to make the world a better place, together, by committing to practice these powerful and simple acts of service to others as often as possible?
Be kind, particularly to those who are not exactly your cup of tea, so to speak. It might be hard, but it will be meaningful.
Be gentle with the environment. Avoid littering, recycle, and regularly sign up for community cleanups. The more we do to keep the outdoors in good shape, the more we can all enjoy it!
Show compassion. Sometimes that’s the greatest gift we can offer someone.
Practice good manners. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way in making others feel appreciated and respected.
Be helpful as much and as often as possible. Help create a sense of community wherever you go.
Listen more. Sometimes all people truly want is to be heard, and to know they matter.
To commemorate the impactful work of all who have earned Girl Scouting’s highest awards, we’re celebrating with a council-wide service initiative known as #100DaysOfGold.
Service units, troops, volunteers, girls, families and supporters are invited to do good in their communities throughout our 100 days of service, starting on March 12 and going through June 20. Let’s show everyone what it means to go gold and make the world a better place!
Are you participating in #100DaysOfGold? We’d love to learn more! Please complete our quick online form and tag us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram when you share stories and photos.
Starting on March 1, anyone who participates can visit their local Gathering Place and grab a bright, fun and complimentary #100DaysOfGold slap bracelet!
Need some ideas to get started? Take a look at the list below and check back as new ones are added.
Chicago Youth Service Day: Join youth across Chicago for an interactive day of service and non-violent action. Projects are youth-driven and include beautifying community spaces, serving senior citizens and learning about world hunger. Click here to learn more.
April 30 and May 1:
Kits for Kids: Help Project C.U.R.E. through their Kits for Kids program by bringing “medicine cabinet supplies” and a nominal donation to give the gift of health to other kids around the world. Join the Packing Party on April 30 at the Friendship Center in Country Club Hills and May 1 at the Vernon Hills Gathering Place. Registration is $6 per girl.
Almost Home Kids: This Illinois-based organization provides transitional care in a home-like setting to medically fragile children with complicated health needs and respite care in Chicago and Naperville. Help them celebrate National Nurses Week (starting May 9) by honoring pediatric nurses who provide important care for the children at Almost Home Kids. Troops can bring a meal to nurses during the day or night shift. Or create goodie bags containing chocolate, hand lotion, pens and small snacks for the nurses. For more information, please email Lisa Snow, community outreach coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Things That Glitter: Do you have new or gently used accessories, such as handbags, jewelry and scarves sitting around the house collecting dust? Donate your items to under-served girls at Chicago Public Schools through All Things That Glitter’s accessory drive. You can drop off your accessories at our Vernon Hills Gathering Place (650 N. Lakeview Parkway). For more information, click here.
June 3-4 and June 10-11:
Forget-Me-Not Days: Help the Alzheimer’s Association raise awareness about the disease by collecting donations outside storefronts, business offices, tourist attractions and more. Chicago collections take place June 3-4 and collections in the suburbs will take place June 10-11. In exchange for a donation, volunteers will distribute Forget-Me-Not flower seeds to plant in honor of the more than five million people living with Alzheimer’s. To learn more or find a volunteer opportunity near you, please click here or contact Rebekah Marquez at email@example.com.
Beautify Your Gathering Place: Get your hands dirty planting flowers and spreading mulch at your Girl Scout Gathering Place, then make a recycled craft to take home. You’ll also receive a fun patch and a pair of gardening gloves. For more information and to register, click here.
Special Events for Girl Scout Alumnae:
Chicago Park District Service Day: At Nichols Park in Hyde Park (1355 E. 53rd Street, Chicago) from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., join your Sister Girl Scouts in cleaning up the park, mulching, weeding, gardening and other projects that may come up. It’s a great opportunity to work along with other Girl Scout alums to help make the world a better place. Suggested attire: closed-toed shoes, comfortable clothes and gardening gloves. Street parking is available.
Alexian Brothers: With locations throughout the Chicagoland area, there are plenty of opportunities to care and help others while learning about the healthcare field. For more information, click here or email Laura Ingrim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Heart Association Patch Program: A healthy heart is critical to a healthy lifestyle, which is why we’ve teamed up with the American Heart Association to promote heart awareness. To learn more about the program and to register, visit our blog.
Amnesty International: There are plenty of ways to get involved with Amnesty International and lobby for human rights. Sign a petition, attend an event or start a campaign at your school. Learn more here or email Emily Walsh at email@example.com for details.
Bernie’s Book Bank: Want to share your love of reading with at-risk children throughout Chicagoland? Volunteer for Bernie’s Book Bank in Lake Bluff, IL. You can drop in at the warehouse or collect books on the bank’s behalf. Learn more here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bridge Communities: Connect homeless families to a better future by volunteering with Bridge Communities in Glen Ellyn, IL. You can also earn “A Heart for the Homeless” patch. For more information, click here.
Chemo Survivor Kits: If you’ve ever had a family member or friend diagnosed with cancer, you know how difficult the process can be. By collecting a few simple items in a small tote bag, chemo patients will know the small difference you made. Register here.
Chicago Cares: Volunteer at locations around the city, such as Mercy Homes, local schools, and Garfield Park Conservatory, with Chicago Cares. Details here.
Clean up your playground or park: Make the world a more beautiful place by picking up trash in your neighborhood.
Clean your closet: Get a head start on spring cleaning by donating your gently used clothes to a local family or refugee shelter. Click here to find out how Girl Scout Madison Fanta started a clothing drive in Saint John, Indiana.
Connection of Friends: Enrich the lives of teenagers and adults with special needs by volunteering with Connection of Friends in Wheaton, IL. Learn more and apply today here.
Connections for the Homeless: Team up with your troop to host a donation drive for this nonprofit organization that helps people dealing with homelessness in Evanston. The most commonly needed items include household size toiletries, cleaning supplies, linens and blankets. You can also gather a group to cook and serve dinner at Hilda’s Place Shelter or sign up for a Second Saturday for Service where you can help clean the shelter, sort donations, organize the food pantry and more. For more information, click here.
Cradles to Crayons: Looking for a fun and easy way to give back? Create customized “KidPacks” for children in need. Click here for more details or email Kelsey Miklos at email@example.com.
Cuddle Comfort: Create cuddly small pillows or lap blankets as welcome gifts for pediatric patients, senior citizens, homeless shelters and emergency rooms. Register here.
Deborah’s Place: Help women heal, grow and lead at Deborah’s Place, a safe community for women experiencing homelessness in Chicago. With ongoing, individual and group opportunities available, there’s a chance to give back for everyone.
Donate gently used books, toys and games: Make another kid’s day by donating items you don’t use anymore to a children’s hospital or family shelter.
Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry: Volunteer during client shopping hours and food deliveries at the Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry. For details, click here.
Gilda’s Club Chicago: There are different ways to help people who’ve been affected by cancer by helping at Gilda’s Club Chicago. Whether it’s greeting members at the reception desk or playing with children and teens, find out how you can get involved here.
Girl Scout Help: If you want to give back and you’re not sure where to start, begin with Girl Scout Help, which connects Girl Scouts with various volunteer opportunities.
Greenheart Travel: Want to rescue animals in Costa Rica or save elephants in Sri Lanka? You can make a difference by volunteering abroad with Greenheart Travel.
Honor Flight: Pay homage to the brave women and men who served our country by becoming an Honor Flight volunteer. Help these heroes get their day of honor in Washington, D.C. by clicking here or emailing Kathi Krankoski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Humanitarian Service Project: Support families in need by volunteering with Humanitarian Service Project in Carol Stream, IL. Opportunities include food and toy sorting.
Host a bake sale or lemonade stand: Whip up a batch of your favorite sweet treat and donate the proceeds to your visit charity.
La Casa Norte: Serve youth and families facing homelessness by getting involved with this Chicago-based organization. Learn more about open volunteer positions here.
Little Hands – Big Hearts: This volunteer opportunity is perfect for little ones who want to make a big difference. For more information, click here.
Meals on Wheels Chicago: Visit with seniors residing in independent living communities with Meals on Wheels’ Friends Beyond the Years program. Details here.
Midwest Soarring Foundation: This nonprofit is dedicated to “educating the public about various American Indian cultural issues, environmental issues, and building community among all people.” To learn more or to volunteer, click here.
Northern Illinois Food Bank: Help the hungry by volunteering at one of three locations in Northern Illinois. Children ages 8 and older can volunteer with families or in groups with adult chaperones. For more information, click here.
Jamaica Volunteer Expeditions: Learn about agriculture and farming, environment and conservation and more when you volunteer abroad in Jamaica. Find out more here.
Organize a blood drive in your community: Recruit donors and help schedule appointments. Create thank-you cards to hand out at the drive. Visit the American Red Cross to learn more.
Ronald McDonald House Charities: Support the families staying at your local Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald Family Room by collecting wish list items, volunteering in the Houses to bake sweets and creating a craft for patients and siblings to enjoy. Each location has specific needs that groups can directly help with and support. Register here.
Send cards to soldiers: Thank women and men in the armed forces for their service to our country. While you’re at it, send cards to veterans, too!
Share Your Soles: Help provide shoes for children and adults in need by volunteering with Share Your Soles. Learn how you can get involved here.
The Puppy Mill Project: If you’re a passionate animal lover, check out volunteer opportunities with this Chicago nonprofit. To sign up, click here.
Visit a local nursing home: Take some time to visit senior citizens at a nursing home in your community. You can read with them or have fun making crafts. Don’t live near a nursing home? Offer to help an elderly neighbor with household chores.
Volunteer at an animal shelter: Help cute critters ready for adoption by volunteering to play with them and groom them. Or you can collect items for the shelter, such as food and supplies, or make toys for the animals.