United Way of Metropolitan Chicago to Launch Inaugural Week of Caring, April 18-24

United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, in partnership with the City of Chicago, will celebrate National Volunteer Week with its first annual Week of Caring, Sunday, April 18 through Saturday, April 24, 2010. United Way Week of Caring is a celebration of volunteerism across Chicagoland and will link thousands of volunteers with nearly 200 projects at United Way partner agencies throughout the region. “Week of Caring is a great opportunity for people across Chicagoland to become more involved in their communities.  We are so encouraged by the number of corporate partners as well as individual volunteers and students who will take the time this week to help the people who need it most,” says Laura Thrall, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago President and CEO. In 2009, Mayor Daley joined 16 other mayors of major American cities to establish the Cities of Service coalition.  As part of this effort, the City of Chicago has partnered with United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and other community leaders to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy linking volunteers and community-based organizations in areas of greatest need. “Chicago has a long, rich history of community service and volunteerism sends a powerful message – people helping people to make our cities better places to live, work and raise a family,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “I commend the United Way and its partners for bringing new energy and new ideas to the service movement. Every hour that a person gives to the community truly makes a difference.” More than 185 Week of Caring volunteer projects, large and small, are slated to take place in the city and suburbs.  To supplement the volunteer projects, United Way has organized a book drive sponsored by UPS and area literacy organizations.  Books will be collected on Monday, April 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Daley Plaza on the corner of Clark and Washington and will be donated to Open Books.  The week will culminate on April 24 by celebrating Global Youth Service Day. More than 2,000 CPS high school and elementary school students will gather for service assignments from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. then travel to McCormick Place for a Civic Action Rally from 2–4 p.m. to celebrate their contributions and call on students to make an ongoing commitment to service. Last year, United Way coordinated more than 5,500 volunteers from 118 companies that completed 305 volunteer projects.  This effort saved United Way partner agencies nearly half a million dollars in labor, repair and upkeep costs. Sign up to Volunteer! To sign up for a volunteer project and learn more about the first annual United Way Week of Caring, please visit www.liveunitedchicago.org/volunteer.  You can also contact Dary Mien regarding any further questions at Dary.Mien@uw-mc.org or 312.906.2203.