A few years ago, #GivingTuesday became a new social media phenomenon. If you haven’t heard of this before, the concept behind it is that after the mass consumerism from both Black Friday and Cyber Monday (so soon after Thanksgiving), Americans remind themselves to be grateful again by giving back. This giving back can occur by promoting the message socially and/or donating money/time/possessions to charities.
Each Thanksgiving I do my best to recount the many blessings in my life. I’ve worked hard to get where I am today, but I’ve also had help along the way. Not everyone is so fortunate.
At KScope16 next year, the ODTUG team is proud to work with Cornerstone Community Outreach. For those of you who have not participated in a KScope community service day, this event occurs the Saturday morning before KScope. A group of volunteer attendees socialize over breakfast, don that year’s specially themed community service T-shirt, and work together to make a difference.
(Cornerstone is tucked into Chicago’s Uptown area)
Next year that difference will involve helping the less fortunate by serving the homeless population. We’ll be working with the wonderful Cornerstone group whose mission statement is to address homelessness by providing shelter, accepting people, and finding homes. Started in 1989, Cornerstone has grown immensely over the years and has become a shining star in the vast city of Chicago. They provide shelter, meals, and medical care for 350+ people every single day. 38% of their shelter population are minors aged 12 and under. Each Saturday, Cornerstone opens up their doors to the public to provide a meal to anyone who needs it. They are one of the few communities on the North side of Chicago who provide these types of services. They have an outpouring of support from Chicago’s businesses and residents, and they work with many types of volunteers to serve their homeless population.
(their rooftop playground mural)
This particular community outreach cause means a lot to me personally, and I did my best to persuade the conference committee to help this group. My husband has made a career of serving the underprivileged for over a decade. Shortly after we got married, he went back to school, earned his Masters degree, and promptly changed careers. He’s been working with the underserved population in Dallas ever since. He’s very familiar with this particular type of organization, as he works for a similar nonprofit. For years I’ve heard stories of the people he’s worked with, helped, and even saved. It means the world to me that I can walk a bit in his shoes, even if it’s just for half a day.
Myself and several other conference committee members jumped on the chance to visit this awesome organization during our onsite planning meeting in November. We heard their great story (I won’t spoil the amazing details!), the challenges facing the homeless population in Chicago, and the group’s mission; toured the grounds, and got a good look at the ways that we can help their residents.
(the free clothing store for residents)
If you’re curious about Cornerstone, take a look at this 10 minute documentary:
The KScope annual community service day has fast become one of my highlights of the conference. It’s free to attend and you get breakfast and a fantastic T-shirt in return! You just need to bring your great spirit and donate your time and energy. You can sign up on your conference registration form.
I won’t lie – you will have to get up early on a Saturday and you won’t get back until mid-afternoon. But it should be completely worth it. And if you’re wondering how you’ll spend the rest of your weekend…the conference committee can always use volunteers Saturday afternoon for bag stuffing. Or you can spend a night on the town – the downtown area is completely walkable from the venue! Sunday Symposiums await you all day Sunday with a nice welcome reception Sunday night.
I hope to see you at the KScope16 community service day!