Why Volunteer Locally? A Conversation with Apna Ghar, a Local Charity

In Chicago, there are countless opportunities to volunteer locally. One of my favorite parts of being a nonprofit outreach intern at Zealous Good are the opportunities to connect with the nonprofits we work with and learn about amazing different ways to volunteer locally with them.  One charity I particularly admire is Apna Ghar (Our Home), with whom Zealous Good has been partnered for over a year. Apna Ghar is an organization that works to end the cycle of domestic violence in immigrant communities in the Chicago area by providing a full spectrum of services for women and children, such as legal advocacy, emergency housing, and counseling. I was fortunate enough to chat recently with Kalpana Simhan, their Director of Development, and learn what its like to volunteer locally with their organization!

Q: Why volunteer with Apna Ghar?

A: Volunteering at Apna Ghar is a chance to change lives. When survivors come to Apna Ghar, they often leave everything behind—clothes, money, essentially all their possessions. We help them create a new home and secure life. Our volunteers help us do this by:apna_ghar

  • Painting rooms in our shelter and main service office so that our space is warm, comfortable, and welcoming

  • Answering hotline calls

  • Grocery shopping for the shelter

  • Collecting donations

  • Holding economic empowerment workshops to help survivors prepare for the job market

  • Providing legal advice and representing survivors in court

Q: What are current volunteer opportunities with Apna Ghar?

A: Currently, we are looking for volunteers who are willing to take the State of Illinois 40-Hour domestic violence certification course. so that they can provide support by answering our emergency hotline and provide other direct support to survivors. We are especially looking for volunteers who can speak South Asian or Middle Eastern/North African languages.

Additionally, we are looking for volunteers and Team Captains for our big upcoming event, Stride Against Violence,  held on Sunday, October 20 at Montrose Harbor, which is our annual 5K run/walk to raise awareness about domestic violence and raise critical funds to ensure that survivors have access to safe shelter, counseling, and legal services when they need it.

155Conversations like this one serve as great reminders of how important volunteers are when it comes to accomplishing the everyday miracles non-profits perform. If you would like to volunteer locally with Apna Ghar, please follow the links for the specific opportunities above, or click here.

You can also support Apna Ghar with monetary donations, which support their core programs for survivors, or with donations of new or used goods via Zealous Good. Items needed in particular are:

  • Auction items, such as airline miles, or tickets to major entertainment or sporting events

  • Brand-new toiletries and feminine hygiene products

  • Seating (sofas or chairs) for their waiting room

  • A new set of pots and pans for their emergency shelter

  • Shelving for their office space

Morgan Brock-Smith is a 2013 non-profit outreach intern at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Morgan on Twitter at @mbrocksmith or Zealous Good on Facebook and Zealous Good on Twitter at @ZealousGood.

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