Please consider volunteering with NAMI Chicago. You can make a real contribution to our mission of providing resources and information on all facets of mental illness in the Chicago area. Volunteers will receive training for the area(s) in which they are interested.
*Note for individuals completing their CRSS credential: Volunteer hours at NAMI Chicago are not sufficient to fulfill the Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) requirements. For more information on CRSS requirements, click here.
In the Office
Office Support: Office volunteers typically dedicate one day per week, generally from 10 AM to 2 PM, to assist staff with a variety of office tasks including mailings, filing, data entry, research into various issues, and manning the telephone HELPLINE. Persons who answer the HELPLINE receive additional orientation and training for this task.
Data Entry: We regularly update the information in our information and referral files and need assistance in input changes and additions to our database.
Word Processing: We have a steady flow of documents in need of typing.
Library Assistance: Our library is a lending library available to members of the organization. Additionally it is used by an assortment of students and professionals.
Membership Recruitment: The success of this organization is based upon the strength and the quality of its members. We work to increase membership in NAMI Chicago and also plan activities which bring members together to share information, experiences and obtain support.
Newsletter Editing: Editing drafts, graphic design, layout, editorial contributions and distribution.
Special Events Planning: A major source of financial support for our organization is special events, ranging from our annual benefit dinner/auction, Light the Darkness, and our annual NAMIWalks Chicago. Volunteers are needed to assist with all aspects of event production including: corporate sponsorship, publicity, ticket sales and day-of-event activities.
Fundraising Appeals: Letters go out several times a year to solicit donations. Creative ideas for these direct mail campaigns are needed as well as assistance in updating mailing lists, copying materials for the mailing, etc.
Out of the Office
Writing/Calling Legislators: We keep tabs on legislative issues related to mental illness and, as needed, prepare an
organizational response to issues. We regularly ask our members to contact their legislators to inform them on issues.
Occasionally, we provide testimony about the needs of individuals and families.
Media/Anti-Stigma Writing/Calling: We monitor the print and verbal media for evidence of ignorance, misinformation, and stigma. Letters and phone calls are made to editors and those in charge to educate them about serious mental illness.
Housing Advocacy: A safe and adequate place to live is an important part of recovering from a serious mental illness. Supporting the development of a range of housing opportunities is a task that needs to be addressed. We will connect you with others who are committed to this area.
Minority Outreach: We provide information and support to minority communities in culturally appropriate and sensitive
ways, including our own bilingual publications and support groups in Spanish.
Support Group Leaders: Of the hundreds of phone calls received by NAMI Chicago each month, a majority are from callers
seeking emotional support. There is a need for support groups dealing with specific needs including: parents, spouses, siblings, adult children, specific ethnic groups, or persons diagnosed with a mental illness.
Public Education: Volunteers help disperse accurate information about mental illness to the public. This includes staffing exhibits at health fairs, and distribution of flyers, brochures, and pamphlets throughout the community.
Family to Family Teachers: We provide the 12-week Family to Family (F2F) Education Program in English and Spanish. Teachers are required to attend a 3 day training, and must commit to teaching at least 2 sets of classes in addition to being an active member of the organization. Most instructors are graduates of our Family-to-Family course themselves, and we encourage those who are interested in teaching to sign up for the class as a participant first.
Pathways in Living Teachers: We developed the eight-week Pathways in Living Education Course for persons living with a mental illness taught by individuals living in recovery. This is a highly successful program and additional trained teachers are needed to achieve expansion of the delivery of this program. We encourage individuals interested in teaching this class to register for Pathways in Living and complete the class first.
Our inaugural Associate Board started in January 2013 and is a dedicated group of emerging leaders in the community who strengthen our organization through social media presence, attracting the next generation of donors, members, and volunteers, fundraising events, outreach, and developing strong ties with other associate boards and agencies in Chicago.
Staff Liaison: Ashley Fontaine
Interested in what they’re doing? Follow the NAMI Chicago Associate Board on Facebook.