Every year, members of the Junior League of Chicago (JLC) devote thousands of service hours to the Chicago community. In 2016, roughly 850 JLCers spent a collective 3,100 hours contributing their time to the league’s Done in a Day (DIAD) service events. The DIAD committee partners with 55 projects and organizations across the city, including the Chicago Public Library, Girls in Tech, the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Lincoln Park Zoo, to create impactful one-day service events. The committee has had more than 50 events this JLC year, reaching a more than a 130 percent year-to-year increase.
“Our events provide a direct opportunity to serve communities in various capacities that also align with supporting the Junior League’s mission,” said DIAD committee co-chair Marilyn Seefeldt.
DIAD works with certain partner organizations multiple times a year, allowing familiarity to be formed with the people being served. For example, DIAD regularly offers volunteers the opportunity to cook breakfast or dinner at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. Given that this is a long-term shelter, JLC volunteers can share stories and make connections with the residents several times throughout the year.
Seefeldt’s favorite DIAD event is the Basket Brigade. During this event, DIAD volunteers assemble and deliver Thanksgiving baskets to families in need, helping kick off the holiday season with cheer. During this year’s Gazebo event, DIAD facilitated the making of holiday cards for long-term community partners, including Well of Mercy, the Senior Levy Center, and the Ronald McDonald House.
In addition to being a great way to meet fellow JLC members, Seefeldt says participation in DIAD events can offer volunteers an added benefit.
“It’s a great deal of satisfaction to leave our events knowing the great work you’ve done as you get the benefit of seeing the immediate impact,” she said.
By Sierra Powel-Smith, 2017-18 Topics and Trends staff member