Making an Impact: The Best Volunteering Opportunities for Chicago Seniors

Share this Post

Senior woman volunteer mentoring a young girl

As we gracefully age, many seniors find fulfillment and purpose in giving back to their communities through volunteering. Chicago, with its rich variety of neighborhoods and diverse needs, offers numerous opportunities for seniors to make a positive impact. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best volunteering opportunities for seniors in the Windy City.

Why Volunteer?

Volunteering is a rewarding way for seniors to stay active, engage with others, and contribute to causes they are passionate about. The benefits extend beyond altruism, encompassing physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A 2020 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine observed almost 13,000 senior participants and found if someone volunteered for at least 100 hours per year (less than two hours a week) for four years, they experienced:

  • Increased amounts of physical activity, thus improving health
  • Better psychosocial outcomes, such as increased optimism or a stronger sense of purpose in life
  • Reduced risk of physical functioning limitations and mortality

But for many of the seniors who reside at The Clare, community engagement and volunteerism are part of their weekly routines. Chicago provides a vibrant backdrop for seniors to explore a variety of meaningful volunteer roles. If you’re new to volunteering, there are a few things to consider before you dive in.

Things To Consider Before Volunteering

When you’re retired, volunteering is a great way to maintain connections with the community and add additional purpose to your day. However, volunteering experiences are varied, and you’ll want to ensure you find the one that best fits your needs. Keep these things in mind as you explore volunteering opportunities:

  • Narrow your search. Decide what sort of organization you’d like to engage with. Do you want to help children? Animals? The arts? Then hone in on those types of organizations.
  • Ensure the organization is reputable. Check sites like GuideStar or Charity Navigator to check the background information on nonprofit organizations. Check their 501(c)(3) status, and ensure the charity is in good standing.
  • Do your research on the mission and vision of the nonprofit. This will help ensure your beliefs align with the organization.

With endless places to give back, we know each senior can find something they love. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions in the Chicago area:

Best Volunteering Opportunities for Seniors in Chicago

Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a hub for fighting hunger in the city. This local community nonprofit, which was founded in 1979, is committed to addressing food insecurity and has newly added outreach and children’s programs. Seniors can contribute by sorting and packing food items or assisting in community outreach programs.

Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly

This organization focuses on alleviating loneliness among the elderly. With their national network of volunteer-based organizations, they focus on bringing happiness and goodwill, as well as the development of new friendships. Fellow seniors make great volunteers and can spend time with other older adults, offering companionship and support, or participating in group activities.

Chicago Cares

Chicago Cares offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities, allowing seniors to choose activities that align with their skills and interests. From tutoring to environmental projects, there’s something for everyone. Its mission builds on community partnerships in core neighborhoods on the city’s South and West Sides, contributing directly to neighborhood revitalization plans along the way. This is a great opportunity for seniors who care about equity and access for Chicagoans.

AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP

AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP connects volunteers aged 55 and older with various community organizations. Their online platform offers ways seniors can utilize their skills and experience in roles that make a lasting impact. There are many opportunities all over the Chicago area, with a variety of types of volunteer opportunities.

Senior woman volunteering at a nursery in the Chicago area

Habitat for Humanity Chicago

Seniors looking to get involved in community development can join the local Habitat for Humanity. Whether it’s building homes or assisting in the ReStore, there are opportunities for individuals of all abilities. Seniors with life experience in woodworking or home renovation can be especially helpful for this nonprofit, but all volunteers are welcome to assist.

While those are some of our favorites in Chicagoland, there are many other national organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Feeding America (which has 200 local food banks), and Canine Companions for Independence, which all provide important and essential volunteer programs that help them operate. There are endless ways for senior volunteers to make an impact!

Embracing volunteer work can bring immense joy and satisfaction to the lives of seniors. In Chicago, a city known for its generosity and community spirit, there are countless opportunities for older adults to contribute their time and skills. By becoming part of these initiatives, seniors can forge new connections, make a positive impact, and continue to lead purposeful lives.

Embark on a Fulfilling and Purposeful Retirement at The Clare

When building your perfect retirement, staying involved and making an impact matters to many seniors, including the residents of The Clare. Contact us at 312-784-8015 to schedule a visit and learn more about how our active residents spend their days.