Albany Park Community Center

Albany Park is a neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago and happens to be one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the country — more than 40 different languages are spoken among its residents. As a lot of these families are immigrants, the APCC exists to support them — and all residents of the neighborhood — as they strive toward the American dream with early education, after-school programs for kids up to age 12, and adult and continuing education programs.

For our Give Back, each one of us were sent to a different classroom to assist with a project the kids and the center are working on to put together string art. With this kind of art, nails are hammered into wood boards in fun patterns, then strings and yarn are tied and strung throughout the pattern to create beautiful works of art. The art will be hung up throughout the center, and some of it auctioned off to raise money for the center.

To hear more of Andy’s exciting experience, read his blog post!

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Misericordia

Quarter 3 of 2017’s Give Back was a very personal and memorable one for all of us—especially our Marketing and Social Media Specialist Intern, Hannah. “For as long as I can remember, my family has worked with Misericordia in Chicago. The way I always describe Misericordia to someone who is learning about it for the first time is that it’s almost a college-style campus for people with developmental disabilities. The 600 children and adults who live on this 31-acre campus participate in a wide range of activities that gives the residents profound purpose. My cousin has lived there for over fifteen years and I can personally attest to the enjoyment that the residents experience on a daily basis. When SIM Partners was selecting their next Give Back event, Misericordia came to mind immediately!”

The team met at the Misericordia campus on the north side of Chicago early in the morning for orientation. We were briefed on the daily lives of the residents, what our jobs would be, and how to interact with the residents as well as the history of Misericordia. After orientation, we split up to go to different areas that needed attention, which is different than past give backs we’ve done. Some of us went to the bakery, some went to the gardens, and others went to the art rooms. There is even an area for the new coffee program. All of us were working while interacting with the residents in their daily lives. After our volunteer time was completed, we visited the restaurant on campus, Greenhouse Inn, for a wonderful lunch. Some of the residents actually work there. Overall we had had an amazing time giving back to the community at Misericordia. If you’re interested in volunteering at Misericordia or would like to know more, visit their website.

For more of Hannah’s amazing experience giving back and working at the bakery, check out our blog!

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Anixter Center

On June 6, some of the SIM Partner employees volunteered their morning with the clients of the Anixter Center in Lakeview on Chicago’s north side. It is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the Chicagoland area that has different programming for all ages to help people with disabilities and the challenges that come with those disabilities.

From the moment we arrived that morning, we could feel the energy and support that this place offers all of its' clients. Everyone that was getting dropped off was smiling and excited for the day's activities.

To learn more about Anixter Center and our time there, please read Hannah's blog post or check out their website!

PAWS Chicago

PAWS Chicago is a No Kill animal rescue clinic that is focused on building No Kill communities (starting with a No Kill Chicago) that respect and value the life of every cat and dog. Since being founded in 1997, PAWS has helped to reduce the killing rate of homeless animals here in Chicago by nearly 70%.

On November 6, the SIM Partners team worked together with other PAWS volunteers to help make a difference in the lives of the rescued animals. Our team visited Dog Town and Kitty City where we cleaned, refilled water bowls and made comfortable beds for our furry friends. After we put in a few hours of work we had the chance to socialize with our newfound pals.

If you’re interested in adopting any of these adorable four legged guys and gals please check out the PAWS Chicago Website.

Give Back Chicago Food Bank

Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is Chicago’s food bank. They provide food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community, mainly distributing food where it is needed most throughout Cook County. Since 1979, the Food Depository has made a daily impact on hunger across Cook County. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 70 million pounds of food, 35% of which was fresh produce. Every day they distribute the equivalent of 160,000 meals.

On February 7, a dozen of us from SIM Partners gathered at the McCormick Tribune YMCA in Humboldt Park on Chicago’s west side to package and distribute produce for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This is the third time SIM Partners has volunteered to help the Chicago Food Bank. Fortunately on this chilly February day, we were mostly indoors packaging hundreds of bags of produce to given to families in need. We were behind schedule since the delivery trucks were still circling the block, so we had a lot of catching up to do. Good thing our SIM volunteers were up to the task because the work was non-stop from the moment the truck doors opened! By the end we were breaking down the boxes and sweeping the floors. It was an exhausting yet fulfilling morning at the McCormick Tribune YMCA that went by very fast. We are pleased that we could offer our time and effort once again to help the Chicago Food Bank provide for those in need.

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots has been distributing toys to needy children for decades. In 2015, Toys for Tots distributed 18 million toys to 7 million children throughout hundreds of drop-off locations in the United States. As announced on December 13, SIM Partners has made it easier for toy donors to find drop-off locations.

The improved functionality supports the mission of the Toys for Tots program, which collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which a Toys for Tots campaign is conducted. In 2015, Toys for Tots distributed 18 million toys to 7 million children.

Through our pro bono work, we have designed for the Toys for Tots website a locator tool that emulates the best store locators you find on retailer sites. The locator gives donors a map-based drop-down menu with essential location data for the closest brick-and-mortar drop-off centers. By making the search for locations easier through our Velocity platform,  we’re connecting more donors with needy children.

Our CEO Jon is very passionate about this cause! Read his blog post below to learn more.

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