Smile Politely

The Chambana Volunteer, May 10–17

Spotlight on a Cause:

Head Start

Head Start, which is a part of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, has had a program in Champaign since 1985. This Federal program aids child and family development, focusing on the development of children’s cognitive, social-emotional, and health readiness for kindergarten. Head Start serves families with children from birth to kindergarten age and pregnant mothers. Their local facilities care for children aged six weeks to five years.

Other than child care, Head Start offers a number of resources for low-income children and families. Head Start and Early Head Start provide services for children with special needs, health, nutrition, and mental health assessment and aid for families, and transportation services. Of their 106 staff members, 62 are teachers and 12 are family advocates. There are also a family services specialist and a mental health specialist on staff who work with families to ensure that children are receiving the care they need in and out of the classroom.

Head Start’s staff does an excellent job attending to children’s needs in and out of the classroom, and volunteers can help contribute to their success by mentoring and tutoring children at their facilities. All new volunteers at Head Start will undergo an initial interview before applying, as well as a criminal background check, have an updated physical and TB test, and be fingerprinted. A brief orientation will follow upon the start of volunteering. To learn more about how Head Start works and how you can help their program, see their website.

Volunteers Needed

Champaign County Sherriff’s Office

Volunteers are needed to collect cell phones and IDs of Courthouse patrons, label them, and then return both back to guests as they leave. There is an immediate need for volunteers on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Volunteers shifts can be flexible according to availability. For more information, please email Lieutenant Shane Cook at the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, or call 384-1214.

Carle Auxiliary Resale Boutique

Staffed by Carle Auxiliary volunteers, the Carle Auxiliary Boutique carries a variety of new and gently used merchandise. The Boutique is located on the corner of University and Lincoln Avenues in Urbana. Their current hours of operation are Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 a.m–6:00 p.m, Saturday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m, and Sunday 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help gather donations, price items, greet and help guests, and ring up items being purchased. For more information on the Boutique and the Carle Auxiliary, please contact Megan Holland.


Upcoming Events

“Those Who Teach, Can” Opening Reception

Champaign Unit 4 Artists/Teachers are displaying their work in this annual district-wide exhibition at Indi Go Gallery from May 11–20. The opening reception will take place on May 11 from 6:00–9:00 p.m. at Indi Go. The artwork is from 17 artists/teachers using a variety of media. These artists/teachers prove that they CAN with their creative, inspirational, and thoughtful works of art. For more information call 649-5508 or email.

Twin Cities Twosome

On Saturday, May 12 at 9:00 a.m., join local runners at Crystal Lake Park to help support causes in our community. Post race festivities will include refreshments, door prize drawings, and awards to top finishers in each division. All race proceeds go to the T.I.M.E.S. Center, Center for Women in Transition, and Crisis Nursery. More information and race registration is online.

National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Food Drive

May 12 will be the 20th annual NALC Food Drive. Folks are asked to place non-perishable food items near their mailboxes and their Letter Carrier will pick them up on their route. All collected items will be taken to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank to be distributed locally to people in need. Hours of pickup will be between 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. For more information.


ACCESS Initiative/Community Elements Block Party

The ACCESS Initiative, Community Elements, and SOFTT are joining together to celebrate Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week May 5–12.  Included in this week-long celebration is a block party for families, youth, and community members on May 12 from 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. The event’s focus is to establish awareness of children’s mental health and to provide and inform the community of available resources to support family resiliency. This event will be hosted in the Community Elements/ACCESS Initiative parking lot at 202 West Park Street in Champaign. Contact Melissa Kearns for more info.


Disclaimer: I gather this information based on local community calendars and from colleagues at local service organizations. Some of the wording is based directly on what I receive and research. Please feel free to email me if you have any comments, questions, or have anything you would like to see posted. Thank you. (MER)

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