Being a UCAN Volunteer
Posted on 07/28/2012 @ 11:00 PM
Being a UCAN Volunteer
This summer at Impact Chicago I chose to volunteer at an organization called UCAN Chicago. At UCAN there are many programs that help people who have experienced some sort of traumatic event in their lives.
For my first two days spent at UCAN, I gave mock interviews to teens mainly from the projects, just a few years younger than man. These interviews were given to prepare the teens that may not end up going to college for the interview process in the real world. Going into this I really didn’t know what to expect and was somewhat nervous. Early on in the interviews I could see a trend developing; the kids were shy and closed off toward the beginning of the interviews but became more comfortable and open with me toward the end. Learning about each and every one of these kids has taught me to appreciate every minute of my life, and not take anything for granted.
On the third day with UCAN I spent my time in the Western offices filing, making a box for a supply drive, and learning about all that UCAN has done for the city of Chicago. I also learned a lot about this 143 year old organization from the wise women who are a big part of UCAN.
From something as big as preparing the teens for the real world to something that may seem as small as filing, I feel like I am making a huge impact in somebody’s life whether I know them or not. Impact Chicago has changed the way I see my life and surroundings as well as leading by example and helping out whenever and wherever help is needed.
Impact has already changed my life so much, and I can’t wait to work more with UCAN and make even more of an impact.
Posted on 07/28/2012 @ 11:00 PM
Shabbat is a unique experience away from home. Traditions are respected in old and new ways that can redefine the way we view our own Shabbats and the Shabbats we lead in our regions. Impact: Chicago gave us, as teens, a chance to lead our own services, while centering the focus on what we found to be important as we learned through service. Three service options were offered by the Saturday Shabbat committee; a traditional service based around Stand Up!, a meditation Shabbat, and “It’s all Interpretive (Dance)” service. I lead the interpretive dance Shabbat. We danced to songs around the story of the seven days of creation and recited traditional prayers as well as those of Kabbalah Judaism. We connected through mind, body, and spirit finding the things that inspire us the most on the day of rest. Most of all, I feel like we all found a way to look within and take a breather and discover Shabbat for ourselves. Though only one Shabbat we get to experience here in Chicago, it had meaning far greater. I was so glad that to spend Shabbat with my new friends and new-found love for interpretation.
With Undying Love for Impact Chicago 2012, The Gan Project, Philanthropy, and the wonderfully magical city of Chicago, I remain,
Zoey Rosen, Los Angeles.
Another Update from Abby Hoffman
Posted on 07/26/2012 @ 11:00 PM
Another update by Abby Hoffman…
The Gan Project has had its best and most productive day in the history of the organization. My friend Elena and I painted approximately 20 arrows in various shapes and colors in preparation for a huge event coming up this weekend. Also, I helped to build an upraised plant bed— I forget the actual formal name— and I used a power saw to cut a piece of wood. There are six days left to make an impact in the Chicago area and I cannot wait to see what those upcoming days might bring.
Posted on 07/26/2012 @ 10:00 PM
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) in downtown Chicago is an organization working to help undocumented citizens find and take advantage of opportunities to improve their quality of life in the state of Illinois.
On August 15th, they will host a large workshop at Navy Pier to help undocumented students apply for relief through deferred action. At this workshop, called Dream Relief Day, at least 1,800 undocumented youth will get help filling out applications for deferred action. If they qualify, they will not be deported and will be eligible to obtain work permits, social security numbers, and in some states, a driver’s license. The deferred action memorandum was announced by the Obama Administration on June 15th, and August 15th is the first day applications will be available.
The Impact: Chicago group volunteering at ICIRR has been helping ICIRR staff and interns prepare for this event by making phone calls to local schools, creating videos, publicizing on Facebook and Twitter, and putting together presentations to be shown to participating schools.
Today I got the opportunity to work with ICIRR’s public relations manager. I am currently working on an article about Dream Relief Day that will hopefully be published on the ICIRR blog. It is really exciting for me, because I get to do something I love (write) while also learning even more about ICIRR’s mission.
My Impact: Chicago experience, particularly working at ICIRR, has been extremely rewarding. At first, immigration was not an issue I knew much about, or was very concerned with. After spending even just three days at ICIRR, I have learned more than I thought possible, and have become passionate about this cause. I hope to continue my relationship with ICIRR after I return home, and spread awareness about immigration reform in my own region and community.
All About Town!
Posted on 07/26/2012 @ 12:00 AM
All About Town!
What a day we all had! From our travels to Millennium Park to an evening full of Fireworks, we certainly had a very busy day.
We started at Hillel for a fun activity that demonstrated class system throughout the world. We were given various supplies that we used to compete in a tallest building contest. Each group had a different amount of supplies available based on the class that they were assigned. It was eye-opening, and lead to great and heated discussions about social classes in our society.
After we all walked to the Metra (the Chicago train station), and were on our way to Millennium Park. We saw all the sights, from the Gigantic Bean, called “Cloud Gate,” to the beautiful Lurie Gardens, to the interactive fountain. Although it was super hot, we had a great time exploring.
We then went on a nice walk to the Chicago Jewish Federation (JUF) for a Philanthropy Boot Camp that discussed how donors go through the allocation process. We learned about Foundations, grant giving, and Tzedakah. It was incredibly informative, and helpful to understand how Philanthropists work. We ended the program creating our own mock Foundations and worked together to allocate our funds.
Fireworks and Farris Wheel time! We trekked off to Navy Pier for an evening of amazing food, friends and fun. We got to walk the boardwalk, take in a great view of the skyline, and even have a blast in the fun house.
We have arrived back home sleepy and ready for another great day!