Author: Brian Boros, R.I.S.E. Board Member

Way back in February, 2020, Chicago’s emerging nonprofits came together for the 8th Annual Chicago Volunteer Fair. What does that mean for us at Guitar Over Guns’ Chicago R.I.S.E. program? Thanks for asking. That means our team had the opportunity to meet, interact, collaborate, and have fun with over 1,000 volunteers and 85 Chicago organizations looking to make a difference in our community, the community of givers building a positive impact and growing the Chicago ecosystem into the future. 

The fair took place at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago’s Lincoln Park district, and we were thankful for participating. Have you been to the museum? If you come to Lincoln Park Zoo, stop by the museum as well, because it has some creative exhibits, and a 3rd floor outdoor overpass walkway with binoculars to look at the Chicago skyline.

 

Take a look at Pinqy, a Guitars Over Guns mentor and R.I.S.E. Program Coordinator, shortly after we set up our booth at the fair. We were so lucky to have the best booth location in the museum, with the largest windows and a nice view out front of the museum.

 

Chicago is one of the most diverse cities in the world, attracting culture from every continent and architectural brilliance to showcase all around the city. It is important to preserve what culture was built, but also cultivate, leverage, and harness new cultural innovation that makes a city such as Chicago a unique and vibrant experience for decades to come. This cultural vibrance can come from volunteering, being more in-touch with the local community, doing your part to support organizations making an impact. Therefore, we could argue, volunteers bring culture and are a major contributor to the dynamics of our city.

We were lucky to have some of our own volunteers at the fair with us, representing our mission at the booth and engaging with other volunteers with so much passion that made our booth feel like a rock show! Our students Aria, Miah, and Venisha took time out of their Sunday to come and support the organization which is supporting them. These students showed us commitment, courage, and self-esteem by confidently interacting with strangers. 

This is what makes our work worth it: the students and mentors we serve, endorse, and mobilize, and the camaraderie of community organizers from passionate volunteers who support mission-driven organizations. Do you volunteer? Have you volunteered in the past? When was the last time you volunteered in your community? 

If you’re reading this and thought to yourself, wow, this seems cool, I’d suggest you reach out to the volunteer fair and get involved for next year or find an organization to get involved with. Better yet, we’d love to hear from you here at Guitars Over Guns’ R.I.S.E. program, so don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re a fun group and welcome your thoughtful and kind gesture to take time from your busy schedules to reach out to us.