Throughout the year, different service projects will be made available to our teens. Sometimes these will be for any teens willing to sign up; other times, they will be set up for individual Branches groups. I will try to find and highlight different service opportunities for all our teens. Check out the links below to learn about some great programs in our area.
I’ve highlighted a few here that I’ve learned about in the last few months, just to help you see some of the many places you may serve.
I look forward to participating in some of these together. If you do volunteer to do service somewhere, please send me a note and let me know about your opportunity. Just send me an email explaining what service you did and what you got out of it. Send it to Mrs. Knott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is it? The Discovery Retreat is for teens, put on by teens. It’s a 24-hour overnight experience of exploring faith and friendship with God and other Catholic teens. It’s a chance to discover who God created you to be and how to begin living out that dream. See form for details!
Journeys–The Road Home
Did you know that according to the Illinois Coalition to End Homelessness, “there are over 3,000 reported cases of homelessness in all of suburban Cook County. In the Northwest suburbs alone, there are 1,200 homeless people accessing shelters with approximately 400 additional homeless people residing on the streets, in cars and throughout forest preserves.”
Journeys is a shelter program that provides a range of counseling services for those who are homeless as well as those on the verge of losing their homes. These services include counseling for domestic violence, mental health and substance abuse, housing preparedness and vocation and job search. In addition, in their facility in Palatine, they provide food, clothing, laundry facilities and bathing services to those in need.
At The Hope Center, they say that one of the most difficult trends they have noticed over the last few years is the rise in families experiencing homelessness and housing instability. Last year in 2012, they serviced 316 children.
Check out their website to learn how you can help.
Timothy’s Ministry—a local church that holds Sunday lunch and prayer services for the homeless. Luncheons for the homeless are held every other Sunday at The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights. We could volunteer as a group of St. Raymond’s teens or a Branches group could volunteer to host a luncheon, which includes setting up the room, preparing and serving food, and cleaning up. In addition, individual volunteers are always welcome to show up on any luncheon date to help out. Volunteers are needed to help set up, clean up, serve food, visit with guests, and help in the clothing room.
My family and I went a few weeks ago to participate; we had a wonderful time serving food, visiting with the guests, and meeting other teens and families that had come to volunteer.
Hand’s on Chicago
The mission of Hands on Suburban Chicago is “to inspire, equip and mobilize people to volunteer and take action that builds vibrant and prosperous communities.” This is also part of a Catholic mission to serve others—feed the hungry, visit the lonely, and serve the poor.
This website provides an extensive list of hundreds of local volunteer opportunities. You can search by your age, what kind of volunteer work you want to do (with children, poor, homeless, elderly), and your area. I spent just 15 minutes on this website and found a bunch of wonderful opportunities that we as groups could do, everything from packing food at the Northern Illinois Food Bank to working with the elderly at different nursing homes. Take some time to check it out. The site makes it very convenient because it gives you contact information for many places, right in one spot.
Hands on Suburban Chicago
2121 S. Goebbert
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Teen learn best from other teens. We need you to help put on various retreats, prayer services and to recruit other teens.
Are you interested in taking a leadership role in building the faith life of other teens? Do you like to help others and lead them in discussion, activity, and prayer? If so, you might be interested in helping to lead the junior high retreats? Maybe you would like to take an even bigger role by participating in and considering leading a Kairos retreat (for juniors and seniors only). Would you like to help in planning a teen prayer service? How about working to recruit other teens to Branches?
Being a teen leader is an excellent way to develop your own interpersonal and leadership skills while deepening your own faith and helping lead other teens to God.
If you are interested in any of these activities, or you have other ideas of what you would like to see, please contact Mrs. Agnes Knott at email@example.com or (847) 253-8600 ext 150.