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  - What is a CAIR-Chicago VA?
  - Volunteer Activist Teams
  - Download Forms & Docs
Dear Friends,

Why volunteer? There are as many reasons for volunteering, as there are people who volunteer. The following are just a few of the reasons:
  • meet people
  • establish a "track record" and build a CV
  • develop new skills
  • contribute to the community
  • earn God's pleasure
  • get school credit
  • have fun!
Volunteer any number of hours, anytime, on any project you may. Even 2 hours a week can make a difference. Be part of the team that is determined to make a difference for Chicago! Click below to learn all about our system:

Full Story



Is this your first time volunteering with us?

STEP 1:  VOLUNTEER INFORMATION

First Name:
Last Name:
Title:


Address 1:
Address 2:
Address 3:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Country:
Telephone:
cell preferred   
Email Address:
Subscribe to e-Newsletter

STEP 2:  VOLUNTEER INTERESTS

I am interested mostly in:

General Volunteer Opportunities
CAIR-Chicago Data Maintenance Team [VA-DM] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Web Development Team [VA-WD] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Media Watch Team [VA-MW] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Research Team [VA-R] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Writer and Speaker Team [VA-WS] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Community Outreach Team [VA-CO] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Political Organizing Team [VA-PO] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Team [VA-CR] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Alert Response Team [VA-AR] What is this?
CAIR-Chicago Journalism Team [VA-JO] What is this?

Choose your weekday availability:
Monday Tuesday
Wednesday Thursday
Friday Saturday
Sunday

Hours per Week:

Time Preference:

Accessibility:
 I can work Downtown (Office)
 I can only work remotely

STEP 3:  EDUCATION & SKILLS

(Last) School Attended:
Education:
Field of Study:
Check your strongest areas:
English Language (Spoken)
English Language (Written)
Foreign Language
HTML
Graphic Design
Windows/Software Apps
Hardware/Networking
Typing
Researching
Outreaching/Bridge-building
Logical Analysis
Grant Research/Writing



    








CAIR-Chicago Data Maintenance Team [VA-DM]

This team will maintain existing Databases. Insert, delete, and modify entries. Export and Import Databases. Maintain mailing lists as subsets of databases. Document the link between mailing lists and databases. Ensure that the Database Schema Control Document is correctly implemented at all times. Knowledge of SQL is a plus.

CAIR-Chicago Web Development Team [VA-WD]

This team will update sections of the website with new material. Add press releases, alerts, responses, news & events, and articles to the website. Use template to create weekly newsletter based on the best of the website content for each week. Knowledge of HTML is necessary. Knowledge of Javascript is a plus.

CAIR-Chicago Media Watch Team [VA-MW]

Assist in monitoring major Chicago publications and media outlets (see list); flag and document cases of bias or slander for response team. Volunteers will be assigned to specific papers or TV/Radio shows as per their preference.

CAIR-Chicago Research Team [VA-R]

This team will conduct research and issue data reports to directors on any given topic. The directors then analyze this data for significance. An example of this would be gathering articles published within the last year for a given list of local reporters. Directors will analyze these articles for patterns, and hence gauge each reporter’s general disposition on Muslims and log a profile for him/her; another would be visiting libraries and compiling a list of the Muslim books available in that library. Alternatively, it could be something as straight-forward as gathering a list of all the MSA’s in Illinois and their contacts. Whatever the task, it will involve research and gathering information.

CAIR-Chicago Writer and Speaker Team [VA-WS]

This team will be comprised of volunteers with demonstrated writing and speaking abilities. Writers will be asked to write letters to editors, and to publish original material on a given list of websites covering issues suggested by CAIR-Chicago. Speakers will be asked to fulfill speaking engagements. This group will help assist in two areas: - Anti-Defamation efforts. - Recruitment efforts.

CAIR-Chicago Community Outreach Team [VA-CO]

Members of this team may be asked to formally attend fairs, conventions, or social events on behalf of CAIR-Chicago. If so they will be issued a ‘CAIR-Chicago Volunteer Activist’ badge with their name on it. Or they may be asked to give educational presentations in schools, churches, mosques, or community centers in their neighborhoods. They may be asked to work on specific community outreach projects as they arise

CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Team [VA-CR]

If you are disturbed by the recent abuses of Muslim civil liberties and rights, you can join this team and help bring about justice. Law and pre-law students are especially encouraged to hop aboard this team.

CAIR-Chicago Political Organizing Team [VA-PO]

If you are a political science, social science, or math major or graduate, CAIR-Chicago offers some interesting volunteer opportunities for you. We are embarking upon ambitious demographic studies and documentation projects. Become a part of ground-breaking organizing initiatives for Chicagoland's Muslim communities.

CAIR-Chicago Alert Response Team [VA-AR]

Each member of this team will have access to non-CAIR mailing lists (MSA, mosque, etc) to whom they will relay our action alerts and press them to act. In other words, this team will be our entry points to large numbers of Muslims that we need to rally for letter writing campaigns or media call-ins. Sign up for this team if you can be our VA-AR for your Mosque, center, school, or MSA.

CAIR-Chicago Journalism Team [VA-JO]

If you are a journalism student, we encourage you to volunteer for this team. You will be given assignments to cover and you will be able to create your own assignments as well. Your original stories will be published for a wide audience. Journalism volunteers will cover community events, plus regular sections like "proud to be a Muslim" and "the scoop".







CAIR-Chicago Volunteer Activist (VA) Program

CAIR-Chicago is a firm believer in the potent power of volunteering:

Harnessing the untapped treasure of talent and expertise that currently lies dormant in our community is one of CAIR-Chicago's primary goals. It is a cost-effective, grassroots initiative that promises to be the heartbeat of our efforts to uplift the social and political standing of Chicago's Muslim community.


Optimizing the power of volunteering holds endless benefits for our all of us

Empowering the community to take hold of issues that directly affect its future will render a more politically-mature, self-reliant Muslim constituency that is more aware of its civil rights and duties in America. Not only is such a community harder to debase and marginalize, but it is necessary for integration into the American mainstream. While we are proud of the values and beliefs that render us unique, integration within spheres not incompatible with our beliefs is necessary for the future of our community.


Hitting two birds with one stone

On an individual level, many feel frustrated at having to watch current affairs influence their daily lives directly while they stand by helplessly. Many believe they have the skill set and motivational drive necessary to make a positive difference, but do not know where or how to begin.

At the same time, Muslim organizations that have plunged head first into the daunting task of civil activism often find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done.


CAIR-Chicago's Organized volunteering initiative is the perfect solution for both parties.

We pair individuals with a desire to make a difference but without resources and direction, with well-structured programs that would take off into the sky but for an avid need of manpower.

Without this strategic pairing, each party will watch its exciting potential sadly put to waste.


CAIR-Chicago's Vision

Our volunteer program does not simply enlist random individuals to handle random tasks. A well-organized system is in place that takes into account the skill-set of the volunteer, their preferred area of work, and their availability; it then matches them with the best fit program available. This way we ensure maximum effectiveness of the work while ensuring that the work is enjoyable for our volunteers.

Ours is a case of organized community activism. As such, our volunteers are not thought of as simply volunteers, but full-fledged community activists, hence the title of Volunteer Activist (VA) that CAIR-Chicago has opted to use in labeling this crucial segment of CAIR-Chicago's team.


Drawing inspiration from our legacies

Volunteering is a cornerstone of our Islamic legacy. The Holy Qur'an 93:11 states, "And by the Bounty of your lord - Proclaim". This is a direct order instructing us to share whatever blessings God has showered upon us. This does not simply constitute wealth, but also one's time, talents, skills, and expertise. Volunteering time, talent, and expertise was indeed instrumental in establishing the first Muslim community in the days of the Prophet (Pbuh). CAIR-Chicago is keen to adopt this social model of our forefathers as one bearing the true Islamic spirit of how to bring about positive change.

Drawing from our American legacy, president John F. Kennedy famously said, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". Becoming a more politically mature, well-integrated, though uniquely Muslim community is good for our country. Fighting prejudices and bias whether levelled against us or against others will better the quality of life in America. And making America a better country fulfills the core of our Islamic message which instructs us to "enjoin goodness" wherever we may be.

Volunteering is therefore the epitome of good Muslim and American citizenship. Please join our team today, and start making a personal difference in causes that matter to you and your family & friends.

- CAIR-Chicago



 

2/21/2006 10:46am

Volunteer from Home!

There are several volunteer opportunities available from the comfort of your own home. For more information, please contact our Outreach Department at outreach@cairchicago.org. Kindly include the number of hours you can commit to, and we will email you a list of at home volunteer opportunities.

Keep an eye out for future announcements!

- CAIR-Chicago Team













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Our volunteer program does not simply enlist random individuals to handle random tasks. A well-organized system is in place that takes into account the skill-set of the volunteer, their preferred area of work, and their availability; it then matches them with the best fit program available. This way we ensure maximum effectiveness of the work while ensuring that the work is enjoyable for our volunteers. Ours is a case of organized community activism. As such, our volunteers are not thought of as simply volunteers, but full-fledged community activists, hence the title of Volunteer Activist (VA) that CAIR-Chicago has opted to use in labelling this crucial segment of CAIR-Chicago's team.
If you have not already done so, please read the full description of our volunteer activist program.

 
Not that we're bribing you, but part of the volunteer experience at CAIR-Chicago is an opportunity to socialize with fellow activists whom you may not get to meet during your regular volunteer hours. Our once a month Pizza party brings our staff, interns, and all volunteer activists from all the different teams and projects together for food, drink, and conversation. When you sign-up as a volunteer, you automatically receive the monthly invitations. During the summer, outdoor barbecue parties may substitute the usual pizza bash. Oh yeah, the Pizza is Halal, and the meat is Zabiha.
 
As a small token of appreciation for the hard work of our volunteers and interns, we organize a semesterly event for all of us to get together and have some fun. Our signature event is whirlyball. In case you are not familiar with the game, two teams face each other in a large basketball type court. Each player sits in a bumber car and is armed with a lacrosse type racket. The point of the game is to pass the ball around in the direction of the opponent's hoop and to chuck the ball into the hoop for a goal. A la American football, defenders can use their cars to wham into attackers and make them loose their balance, or to protect their own attackers from the opponents defense as they zoom towards a goal. Volunteers and interns, be on the lookout for the whirlyball emails. Alternatively, we could arrange for other events such as paintball, or a day in Six Flags Great America. Ideas are always welcome.



    


    


    


    







Volunteering is the lifeblood of any community. It is because of volunteers that communities are able to run organizations, social services, conferences, playgroups, drop-in centers, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, open libraries, run schools, set up blood banks, and the list goes on. Paid employees only make up a small part of the social services network; without volunteers such endeavors would come to a standstill.



As Muslims, our role isn't just to make our prayer and fast and pay almsgiving. We are encouraged to take on a broader role by working to improve the communities we live in; we should be visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, teaching people to read, helping people who have no one to turn to. It is by translating our love of Allah into good actions that we strengthen our imaan. Islam is a faith of action and we need to demonstrate our faith by working to make the world a better place.



In Islam there is a strong ethic of volunteerism. This does not simply extend to running study circles or fundraising for the masjid. As Muslims, we see our role as world citizens. The idea of working for a better society or community shouldn't be limited to the Muslim community but should extend to the broader non-Muslim community as well. Because we live in that community too, whatever weaknesses are present affect us also.



Dawah, the idea of inviting others to Islam, takes on myriad forms. The obvious one is educating people specifically about Islam and the principles enshrined therein. But the more important form is through doing good works and setting an example. This is where volunteerism plays a role.



  • As a community, Muslims need to cultivate a culture of volunteerism. There is a persistent notion that volunteers are essentially free labour. Their efforts are not appreciated and, indeed, are often criticized. We need to shift our perception and see that it is because of volunteers that so many of the services we need are available. Entire mosques have been built through the efforts of volunteers, conferences are run by volunteers, Eid prayers are organized by volunteers, schools are run, in large part, by volunteers, Muslim newspapers and magazines are written for and published by volunteers, and so on.

  • It is also important to note that volunteering should be a priority. Typically, Muslims see volunteering as something that should be done when you have nothing else to do. This should not be the case. If people generally see volunteering as something secondary and less important, the quality of the effort is greatly diminished. Volunteering must be at least as important as other pursuits.

  • Volunteering should be done by professionals. This is not to say that unless you have a graduate degree in mathematics, you shouldn't help with an after-school tutoring program. Rather, if you have that graduate degree or are a teacher, you should be the one who should take the initiative in starting the tutoring program. Your skills will be invaluable to that program. If all the math tutors are people who have weak math skills, the effort will be a waste of everyone's time and resources. Not to mention the students who will continue to fail their math tests.

  • It is exceedingly important to avoid volunteer burnout. In every community there are a core group of volunteers and the Muslim community is no different. We all know the one Muslim brother or sister who helps out at all the events and is always working at breakneck speed. This is not fair. It is of no help to leave all the work to a few frazzled people while the rest sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labour. The core group eventually burns out. They have other obligations -- family, work, social activities. When they are worn out and drop out, the whole community feels their absence.

  • Volunteering has many benefits. Because of people's willingness to work for free, many services can be offered at a lower cost or even for free; there is far more flexibility in the delivery of services since more people are available to help; volunteering gives individuals a broader sense of community; and people also feel a greater connection to one another when they are involved in volunteer activities.

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