Why volunteer? There are as many reasons for volunteering as there are people who volunteer. The following are just a few of the reasons:
- establish a “track record” and build a CV
- develop new skills
- contribute to the community
- earn God’s pleasure
- get school credit have
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 here to learn all about our system.
All volunteers may be contacted as needed, particularly assisting at special events such as the Annual Banquet, Taste of Ramadan Iftar and Cook-off, Open Houses, and other occasions either hosted in our office or at outside venues where CAIR-Chicago has a booth distributing informational literature, recruiting interns and volunteers, or selling items (e.g., conventions, career fairs, etc.). Volunteers may also be invited to participate in broad campaigns and initiatives that support CAIR-Chicago’s civil rights and advocacy efforts.
CAIR-Chicago Media Watch Team [VA-MW]
Assist in monitoring major Chicago publications and media outlets; flag and document cases of bias or slander for response team. Volunteers will be assigned to specific papers or TV/Radio shows per their preference.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.