The organizers of Double Denim Bar Crawl have two goals: raise awareness of autism and have fun doing it. Their yearly bar crawls through historic Wringleyville gather revelers suited up from head to toe in denim jeans, jackets, and shirts to let loose amid raffles, dance-offs, and debates on the cultural degradation caused by khaki. Contests including ring toss and a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament complement prizes for best and worst double denim, denim princess, and achievement for drinking excellence. Celebrants can feel good about every sudsy libation they imbibe since profits of the crawl go to the Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to funding autism research, spreading awareness, and advocating for the individuals and families affected by autism.
Copy Cat Cleaning’s technicians arrive at residential and commercial sites to remove messes, dirt, and dust. They fastidiously dust and vacuum bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen fixtures. They also offer bathroom sanitation, snow removal, deep carpet cleaning, and power washing.
Each woman enrolled in the program is trained as an artisan papermaker, hand-crafting invitations, stationery, and notecards from recycled office paper and reclaimed flower petals. During their WomanCraft experience, participants sharpen their job-interviewing skills, build a resume and cover letter, and gain up-to-date employment references for future career opportunities.
Chicago Lost and Found provides visual-arts opportunities for children who no longer have creative outlets in their schools. Partnering with YMCA of Metro Chicago and Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, Chicago Lost and Found’s Creative Academy holds community art workshops and courses led by experienced instructors. The program’s Creative Studio repurposes unused or otherwise discarded materials to create sellable art that helps supplement community donations to fund the group’s programs.
Crossroads Fund’s Youth Fund for Social Change grant offers a $1,000 endowment to Chicago youth activists who want to change policies or structures that pose barriers to equality in their communities. Youth-led nonprofit organizations and young people 26 and under are eligible to apply, with a tangible idea for a project that aims to clean up the environment, combat LGBT-related violence, and improve school attendance. Past grant awardees have organized a youth forum to end gang violence in their neighborhood, and raised awareness for legislation to prevent bullying in Illinois schools.
Fed up with hearing about rude encounters between taxi drivers and the elderly, taxi dispatcher Dan Quiery decided to volunteer time in his retirement to righting these wrongs through Escorted Transportation Service Northwest (ETS/NW). Now the organization's 2011 Volunteer of the Year, according to the Daily Herald, Dan and a team of 70 volunteer drivers at ETS/NW offer both companionship and a vital service as they transport senior citizens to and from medical and dental appointments in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The seniors often have limited transportation options and would not be able to get to their appointments without aid. Though $12 donations are requested for each ride, the drivers chip in their own money to cover the cost of the trip's gas. Still, this does not deter founder Kathy Kasprowicz and her dedicated volunteers—honored with the 2012 STAR Merit Award from The Beverly Foundation—who were proud to have provided 2,453 roundtrip rides throughout the region in 2011 alone.