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Building a Committed, Connected Community

Volunteers are an essential component to supporting the work of any nonprofit agency. Allendale is so fortunate and grateful to have some of the most engaged, compassionate, and generous volunteers around… so giving of their time, talent and treasure.

“Collectively, our volunteers provide hundreds of hours of their time in support of our youth and families through a number of different ways. While it may be difficult to place a precise value on what they do, what is never in question is the impact they have and how profoundly grateful we are for their genuine commitment!” says Tamara Conley-Lee, Allendale’s Volunteer Coordinator.

Our volunteers are an extension of our staff, enabling us to expand our reach and increase awareness about the critical mental and behavioral health services Allendale provides. Volunteers have an extraordinary capacity to convey an earnest passion to their friends and family as they share heartfelt stories about their interactions with the youth here at Allendale. Stories like how excited Allison was to be the first to (finally!) taste a fresh tomato from the garden she helped plant and grow from seed months earlier or how shy Devon was at first, but then couldn’t stop talking about his collection of matchbox cars, or how surprised, yet heartbroken, they found themselves when they heard Jeremy, a 17 year old teenager, share that this was the first time he’d ever gone trick-or-treating.

As adults, we often take so many things for granted. At Allendale, we take pride in affording our youth the opportunity to just be a kid and enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood. Our volunteers not only understand and support us in this endeavor, but they go above and beyond to seek out additional ways they can help, such as raising funds or other in-kind donations for activities like our end-of-the-school-year carnival, gifts and other fun events that celebrate holidays, birthdays and other significant milestones. Perhaps a bit more subtle but no less important are creating memorable moments with a caring adult doing simple everyday things like baking a cake or cooking a favorite meal – moments that so many of our youth were unable to experience before coming to Allendale.

We seek to inspire and empower those in our care to dream and envision a future of hope and success. Allendale volunteers are an integral part to this. Take the Waukegan chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, for example, whose “Guide Right” mission is to mentor and encourage young men on the importance of education and doing your best in school, exploring careers and higher education opportunities and teaching life skills. This devotion of the Kappas and the impact they have had on Allendale students spans generations as their group mentoring program has been volunteering at our Lake Villa campus on and off for more than 21 years! Under the leadership of Eric Williams & Bond Thomas, the group has been reenergized this last year, planning monthly group mentoring sessions and a variety of community service projects for this summer and beyond.

“I volunteer because it is the right thing to do. These young men deserve to be treated with respect. I believe with guidance; they will be able to succeed. All of us were mentored at some point in our lives. Many of us continue to be mentored while, at the same time, we mentor others. Our plans are to continue to work with the students at Allendale… because not only do they learn from us, we learn from them too,” says Eric Williams, Guide Right Chair, Waukegan Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi.

Bond Thomas adds, “I want to make a positive impact in the lives of young people. I want to show them that Black men can achieve success in life by getting a good education and training in a profession of their choice to make a positive impact on their community.”

Volunteers, both individuals and groups, can significantly impact the lives of kids and families. It just takes that one teacher, one coach or one compassionate adult who genuinely cares enough to share their time to offer guidance, provide hope, or to just listen that can inspire kids to reach for their goals and beyond. If you have a special talent or skill you’d like to share with others or if you simply enjoy talking and spending time with kids, please reach out to us at volunteer@allendale4kids.org or 847-245-6204 to speak with our Volunteer Coordinator to see what opportunities are available.

Don’t have a lot of extra time? You can still help! Check out our agency wish list for items that you can add to your shopping list that will help our youth grow and thrive.

A tradition of care and service.

For 125 years, Allendale, a private, not-for-profit organization, has led youth with serious emotional, mental, and behavioral health challenges and their families on a journey towards resiliency.

At Allendale, our aim is to offer every chance for healing and growth – through myriad programs and services and a continuum of care including 24/7 therapeutic residential treatment, therapeutic day school programs, outpatient counseling services, foster care and community support services. Allendale is a place where kids and families have the opportunity to restore their lives and discover a better future.