Volunteers come to Hephzibah at many different stages of life — as preteens, teenagers, young adults, mid-lifers and retirees. They help out in a variety of ways, from serving as Homework Helpers and Technology Mentors to helping our garden grow. Take a look at the volunteer opportunities below and join our warm and welcoming volunteer community. Interested in becoming a Hephzibah volunteer? The best way to start the process is to attend one of our Volunteer Orientation sessions. Our next session is scheduled for Thursday, March 16th, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 946 North Boulevard in Oak Park. Register >
Group Home Volunteer Opportunities
Hephzibah Homework Helper
As a Homework Helper, you’ll provide much-needed homework tutoring at our After-School Academy for the children living in our group homes. Although the primary objective of this program is to help the children complete their homework assignments, an underlying goal is to create an environment where learning and reading are shared and enjoyed. Homework Helpers commit to one or two days a week. Our After-School Academy is held on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30-4:30 p.m. and Wednesday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Although Homework Helpers are not required to stay for the entire time period, we ask that you spend at least one hour per session with the children.
Hephzibah Big Sibling
If you are a student between the ages of 16-18 with a big heart and a desire to help a child in need of a positive role model, this volunteer opportunity could be a perfect fit for you. As a Big Sibling, you will volunteer onsite at Hephzibah Home or one of our eight after-school Hephzibah Day Care Program sites. Your role is to be a friend to your Little Sibling and act as a mentor and role model as you help with homework and engage in a variety of recreational activities such as reading, playing games or teaming up on an art project. We ask that you make a commitment to visit your Little Sibling for one hour, once a week, for at least three months. Some of our Big Siblings have grown so fond of their Little Sibs that they have continued their friendships for years!
As a Hephzibah Heartmate, you will make a long-term commitment to spend a few days each month mentoring a child in our group homes. At first, you will volunteer onsite at Hephzibah Home, where you can get to know your young Heartmate and learn about the child’s routine and staff expectations. You will spend time reading with the child, offering help with homework, playing games or engaging in art projects and computer activities. Our group homes staff will let you know when it is time to take your child into the community for activities such as lunch at a nearby restaurant, a stroll to a local ice cream parlor, a trip to the library or a local park, a shopping expedition, a movie, a bicycle ride or a trip to the zoo or a museum. We ask that you make a commitment to visit your Heartmate regularly, as consistency is crucial for developing a trusting relationship. We have a maximum of 26 children living at Hephzibah Home at any given time. Some children may not be ready to be paired with a Heartmate or may already be paired with a volunteer. Please keep in mind that this is an as-needed volunteer opportunity for adults over the age of 21. Opportunities to mentor a child may not always be available.
Hephzibah Technology Mentor
As a Technology Mentor, you’ll open doors to the digital world for the children living in our group homes. Our Technology Program was launched in 2012 to help the children in our group homes — who lag far behind their peers in technology skills — succeed in a world that has been transformed by computer technologies. As a member of our team of Technology Mentors, you’ll help these youngsters become tech-savvy citizens of the digital age by teaching them basic computer skills and introducing them to computer-based technologies. Technology Mentors volunteer every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon. If you love technology and want to share your skills with children in need, this volunteer opportunity is perfect for you. For more information, please contact Brian Druley.
Studies have repeatedly shown that time spent with a friendly animal can help traumatized children heal and learn to love and trust again. If your dog is currently certified with a licensed pet partner organization, we encourage you to serve as a Petmate for a child at Hephzibah Home. After being matched with a child, you will visit with your dog several times a month. During your visits, you will serve as a bridge between your pet and the child, facilitating a human-animal relationship that will help foster skills in caring, sharing, nurturing and appropriate behavior with a pet. A staff member will be present at all times. This is a great opportunity for a dog lover with a desire to help a traumatized child.
As a Hephzibah Helpmate, you will help out where the need is greatest — working individually or as part of a group on one-time projects, at special events and with day-to-day duties. Your activities will be as varied as planting spring flowers, helping Hephzibah’s children with art or music activities, assisting with fundraising or friend-raising projects, helping out during the holiday season and performing administrative tasks. If you have a specific skill or a project you’d like to suggest, please let us know!
Day Care Volunteer Opportunities
Day Care Volunteer
If you are between the ages of 13 and 22, this position is perfect for you. As a Hephzibah Day Care volunteer, you’ll volunteer after school at one of the Hephzibah Day Care sites located in each of Oak Park’s eight elementary schools. Your role is to be a friend and positive role model for the children in our Day Care Program as you with help with homework and engage in a variety of recreational activities such as reading, playing games or teaming up an art project. You will also assist our Day Care staff when necessary. We ask that you make a commitment to volunteer one day a week for at least three months.
Head Start Volunteer
If you like little tykes and want to serve as a positive role model for the preschoolers in Hephzibah’s early enrichment and school readiness program, you’ll love being a Head Start volunteer. We are looking for volunteers age 18 or older to assist our Head Start staff with games, lessons and other enrichment activities. Head Start sessions are held Monday through Thursday, with morning sessions from 8:30 a.m. to noon and an afternoon session from noon to 4 p.m. Volunteers commit to at least one hour, one day a week, for three months.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
Economy Shop Volunteer
The Economy Shop is a resale shop that has been a part of the Oak Park landscape for almost as long as Hephzibah. Housed in a stately Victorian on the corner of South Boulevard and Grove Avenue, the Economy Shop raises funds for Hephzibah and six other local nonprofits. In return for a portion of the proceeds from Economy Shop sales, each nonprofit provides volunteers to sort merchandise and work as sales clerks on sale days. Although the Economy Shop has provided vital support for Hephzibah and other nonprofits for 95 years, the shop always struggles to find enough volunteers. Those who do volunteer often stay for years, inspired by the Economy Shop’s mission and the friendship, laughter and camaraderie shared by Economy Shop staff and volunteers. Come join this committed group. You’ll make new friends and have a lot of fun while doing a world of good. This volunteer opportunity does not require an application. Sign up to volunteer at the Economy Shop >
If you are a student at Oak Park River Forest High School and want to volunteer, but have a busy school schedule, this club is for you. The Hephzibah Huskies are a group of high school volunteers with big hearts and a commitment to helping children in need. These young humanitarians enrich the lives of the children at Hephzibah Home with movie and game nights, a sports day and a holiday party. They also plan and host a Rodeo Jamboree summer street festival, complete with pony rides and a petting zoo, to reward the children for their hard work during the academic year. The Hephzibah Huskies meet every other Monday in the Oak Park River Forest High School South Cafeteria. Contact Volunteer Manager Hannah Weigel or check the event calendar on the home page of our website for upcoming meeting dates.
To learn more about Hephzibah volunteer opportunities or register for an upcoming Volunteer Orientation session, please contact Volunteer Manager Hannah Weigel >
Corporate, Business, Foundation or Community Partner
This highly successful program offers corporations, businesses, foundations and organizations a valuable opportunity to raise their visibility in the community while boosting employee or member morale and fostering a culture of teamwork and civic responsibility. Our partners can choose from a wide variety of activities with the children living in our group homes or suggest their own activities or projects. Learn more >
Interested in becoming a corporate, foundation or community partner? Please contact Development Director Juliet Yera.