The Volunteer Center Invites Nonprofits to a FREE Training Program: “The Basics of Board Governance” on June 15th


Program Agenda

Nancy’s Profile

25+ Years of Experience

Nancy has more than 25 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant. Prior to starting her own firm, Nancy worked for many years as a consultant with a “Big Four” CPA firm. During her tenure she gained experience in both audit and tax departments of the firm’s Austin, Texas and Chicago, Illinois offices. Nancy also worked in a managerial capacity for a local and then a regional CPA firm serving Chicagoland. In February, 2008, Nancy organized a new kind of accounting firm, Nancy L. Gonsiorek, CPA, LLC, intent to serve nonprofit organizations. The firm currently serves nonprofit clients in Northeastern Illinois.

Nonprofit Specialty

Nancy has served nonprofit organizations of various sizes throughout her career, providing audit and other attest services, information return (form 990) preparation, and other business advisory services.  The Firm practice is exclusive nonprofit organizations, currently serving approximately 60 organizations.  The Firm library is well-equipped with nonprofit accounting and policy manuals and other specialized nonprofit practice aids to provide clients with exceptional business resources.  Nancy has written a monthly column on nonprofit governance for a regional newspaper and serves on the Not-for-Profit Organizations Committee of the Illinois CPA Society, providing support to CPAs and nonprofit leaders throughout the state of Illinois.  In 2018, The Illinois CPA Society Board of Directors presented Nancy with the Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to the Committee.

About Nancy

Nancy has resided in Crystal Lake for the past 25 years, along with her husband, John, where they raised their two children. Nancy is an avid community volunteer, having served two terms on the local school board, and volunteering with several local nonprofit organizations.  Nancy loves to garden and became a University of Illinois Master Gardener in 2002.

There is No Fee for This Event, but Registration is Required

The Basics of Board Governance

Wednesday, June 15th from 8:30-10:30am, Skokie School Loft, 520 Glendale Avenue, Winnetka

Questions?  Contact Barb Tubekis at or call (847) 4417665

May 31, 2022

Volunteers Needed for Community Shredding Event Saturday May 7th. Bring Your Documents Too!

The Volunteer Center is joining with New Trier Township and Regina Dominican High School to sponsor a free community-wide document shredding and disposal event.

We need volunteers!

WHEN:    Saturday, May 7th from 8:30am-11:30am (or until we fill the truck)

WHERE: In the parking lot of Regina Dominican High School, at 701 Locust Road in Wilmette.


This contactless, drive-through event is a great opportunity to protect your financial privacy and prevent identity theft by destroying financial and other private documents before you dispose of them.  Please note there is a limit of 2 bags or boxes per person

We are looking for volunteers to help unload documents from donor’s cars and load them into the shredding truck, and to help with cleanup.

To volunteer, or for more information, email Barb Tubekis at

May 2, 2022

The Volunteer Center and James Martin Associates Host Earth Day Service Event April 23rd


Join us for Special Restoration Projects in Honor of National Earth Day

When is the Earth Day event?
Saturday, April 23rd, from 9:00 -11:00am (an additional shift from 11:00 – 1:00pm may be added if there is a large overflow response) 

Where is it?
Harbert-Payne Woods in Evanston on the North Shore Channel.

Who is invited?
Families, individuals and service groups of all ages are invited to participate in this year’s Earth Day projects. There are no strict age limits. However, youth under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and younger children would need to be closely supervised.  

Volunteers should wear long pants and close-toed shoes and, keep in mind that generally clothes can get very dirty.  If possible, participants should bring their own work gloves, shovels and trowels.

What will we be doing?
Volunteers will be helping maintain and restore native habitat for birds and pollinators:

Those interested need to reserve space in advance. Simply email and Identify your group and let us know how many volunteers will be attending. We will then email the exact location to meet at the Park and provide a link to the waiver that needs to be signed for the City of Evanston as protocol. 

Questions?  E-mail


April 12, 2022

This Year’s Recognition Event Featured an Inspiring Group of Volunteers Who Are Making a Difference in Our community

2 Years Later We’re FINALLY LIVE!

Location: The Historic Wilmette Theater
1122 Central Avenue, Wilmette

More Detail About Our Honorees

Kate and Neal Shapiro

Kate and Neal Shapiro
Community Support

Kate and Neal Shapiro purchased a laundromat in the Belmont-Cragin area of Chicago as a project to enable their adult son with disabilities an opportunity to have meaningful employment. They enhanced it to provide an interactive educational and community center where children can have an enriching read, learn, play experience. They have given away nearly a thousand books and provided many other activities and valuable supportive contributions to this community.

Nick Drivas

Nick Drivas
Philanthropic Restaurateur

Nick Drivas, owner of the successful Grill House restaurant in Northbrook. Drivas is a generous supporter of local causes and organizations in need. He provided food for first responders and hospital workers during the pandemic, as well as provide 1,000 meals to children who would normally receive free lunches at school. He also hosts “Dine and Donate” programs, in which he donates a portion of a given day’s sales to local organizations. His support doesn’t end there!

Pickles Group Youth

Pickles Group Youth

Pickles Group Founders

Pickles Group Founders

The Pickles Group

Pickles Group’s mission is to provide free peer-to-peer support and resources to kids affected by their parent or guardian’s cancer. Pickles’ kids develop resilience, have fun with friends who get them, and heal along the way.

Kerry Brown Hasbrook, Clara Nowkenkwo, Mandy Breaker
Radical Generosity

Radical Generosity Chicago (RGC) provides necessary donations of food and essential household items to thousands of families living in low-income, food and housing unstable communities in Chicago and its near north suburbs. The RGC team engages and mobilizes families, schools, local civic groups and businesses of volunteers nationwide to donate and distribute the critical support in those communities.


To receive a digital copy of our video of the event please email

March 25, 2022

Volunteers of All Ages Honor Dr. Martin Luther King With Remote Service Projects

Thanks to Our Amazing Volunteer Community for Supporting This Year’s Remote MLK Day of Service

The pandemic did nothing to dampen our loyal volunteers’ enthusiasm for serving those need.  Hundreds of volunteers picked up project kits, took them home to complete them, and returned them to be delivered to local nonprofits and their clients clients who needed a little winter cheer.


If You’re Looking for At-Home Volunteer Projects: Ideas and Instructions

Materials:  Most of these projects use materials you can find in your home, or are not difficult to purchase. Feel free to be creative with any supplies you have. However, please do not use any glitter in your projects – they are dangerous inhalants for those in the hospital or those with breathing issues, and a MESS to clean up.

Completed Projects: We have provided some ideas of the kind of nonprofits who would LOVE to receive your thoughtful volunteer projects.   Please feel free to choose an organization you already support, or search our database to find a nonprofit that would be happy to receive your donations.  You’ll find our searchable database on our homepage.


NO-SEW BLANKETS For the homeless




KINDNESS ROCKS dedicated to our very hardworking healthcare workers.


Messages should relate to healthcare workers. When you are finished, find a public area outdoors you would like to place the rock – if you know a healthcare worker, put it outside his or her door or someplace where others will see it. Please keep their names anonymous. Then kindly take photos of the rock – you can be in the photo as well, and send a good quality jpeg of your photo to us at: and we will put it on our website and our e-news.


FRIENDSHIP AND/OR VALENTINES NOTES For Seniors, Veterans, Children in Hospitals


Carefully plan your cover and message inside, keeping in mind the recipient category of your choice. We have included colored pencils for the artists and adults and crayons for the rising artists. Of course, if you have the 240 count crayon box at home, dig in and use them!

If you want sign your name, please use your first name. If your very young child creates a card all on his or her own (recommended), please feel free to sign it “from a caring 2- (or whatever age) year-old”.  Adults can do it, of course, but understanding it came from a very young child makes it very special too.


TRAY FAVORS For Seniors in Residential Facilities

Coffee Filter Butterflies

Materials:  White Coffee Filters  • Markers Clothesline clips


  1. Color Coffee filter with markers
  2. If using water-based markers, mist colored filters with water – the colors will bleed, making interesting designs. Dry for 20-30 minutes.
  3. If using permanent markers, do not mist with water. Draw with any design, or duplicate actual butterfly patterns found in nature like monarchs, etc.
  4. Clip middle of filter with clothesline clip and draw a face on the butterfly




Have fun being creative with patterns and colors! Make as many as you would like. This bracelet is intended to let the recipients know there are kind people out there who wish them well. If using the pipe cleaner, twist the ends a few times, then tuck into the first and last bead.


T-SHIRT BRAIDED DOG TOYS For Dogs at Orphans of the Storm



  1. Lay the T-shirts flat. Begin by making each T-shirt a square or rectangle, by cutting straight across both back and front of the shirt from one armpit to the other.
  2. Starting from the bottom of the shirt, cut three 5” high horizontal bands across the width of the shirt, cutting through both front and back of the t-shirt. Discard any bands that are not 5”.
  3. Cut one end of each of the bands to form 3 long ropes of fabric.
  4. Tie the 3 ropes together at the top.
  5. Braid the ropes very tightly with1person firmly holding the knot at the tied end.
  6. Secure the end with another knot.

Each set of 3 T-shirts should make 1 to 2 of the long toys. Use the rest of the T-shirts by braiding shorter swatches of T-shirt fabric cut from the sleeves across. (Instead of having a band to cut and make a long rope, you will have 2 half sized ropes)


Looking Forward to Next Year’s MLK Day Service — Hopefully In-Person Once Again!

As always, we couldn’t be more grateful for the volunteers who support all of our Days of Service, and are looking forward to meeting in person again soon!   A few memories from past MLK Days….

Questions?  Email, or phone 847-441-7665.


January 6, 2022

Recycle Your Goods for Good at This Year’s Make A Difference Day on Saturday, October 23rd

Now is your chance to clean out your closets to help nonprofits who serve people in need in our local community.  Make A Difference Day is one of the North Shore’s premiere days of service that is a perfect opportunity to join with your family, friends, school and community group to recycle your gently-used goods to benefit nonprofits who need them.  Please sort, bag & label your items then drop them off at the Indian Hill Train station in Winnetka (111 Green Bay Road) on Saturday, October 23rd from 9-12.  See you there!


Please Sort, Bag & Label Your Items for Each Organization Below Before You Donate

Books4Cause — Gently used books, all genres, including textbooks, CDs, DVDs and vinyl

Connections for the Homeless — Disposable NEW men’s razors, men’s coats and warm outerwear (boots, gloves, etc.), duffels, backpacks and rolling suitcases

Counseling Center of the N.S. — Women’s clothing and coats, & men’s clothing (Connections for the Homeless is collecting men’s coats)

Gears 4 Goals — Sports equipment – no golf, hockey or ski equipment

Glass Slipper Project — Jewelry and dressy purses

Hadley Institute for the Blind — Eyeglasses and cases

Infant Welfare Society — Baby diapers (any size), wipes and formula (any kind)

Junior League of  Evanston/North Shore — Casual Purses, formal dresses, warm outerwear (no men’s), household items and
      NEW travel-sized or small toiletries:

Lawrence Hall  Educational games and puzzles

Madonna MissionNEW School Supplies:

Northfield Food Pantry — Non-perishable food, household cleaning supplies and paper goods

Northwestern University Settlement House — Baby, toddler and children’s clothing, coats and shoes

Orphans of the Storm — Any pet supplies & toys, food, twin size & small blankets, gently used towels

Support for Developing Country Social EnterprisesGently used adult sized athletic shoes (no holes, tears)

Working Bikes — All bikes (adults and youth) in repairable condition


For more information:


September 20, 2021

Take action today to help victims of crisis in Afghanistan. Here are some ways you can help you can help.

The crisis in Afghanistan has humanitarian implications across the globe, including right here in Chicago.  VC partners Madonna MissionRefugee One and World Relief are springing into action to help refugees fleeing the danger in Afghanistan settle into new homes and build new lives as we welcome them to our community.  They need help.

VOLUNTEER – Support refugee neighbors in Chicago by volunteering as a mentor for 2 educational programs:

DONATE – Make an immediate difference today through in-kind donations of basic teaching tools, or financial support.  Donate here.

To learn more about Madonna Mission, click here.


VOLUNTEER – With new arrivals, we will need all hands on deck and are especially in need of volunteers, with flexible schedules, to help with the arrival process. Volunteers help us with critical needs like setting up apartments and welcoming families at the airport. Apply to volunteer here.

LOCATE HOUSING – Not only will we be in need of volunteers, but we will also be in need of housing opportunities for those coming to the Chicagoland area. If you, or anyone you know, has access to rental property that is available at an affordable rate, contact Robin Johnson at

DONATE – Make a one-time or recurring gift to help families fleeing violence and persecution. Your gift helps cover the immediate basics like food, housing, transportation, and also supports families to begin to rebuild their lives here in Chicagoland. Donate here.

To learn more about World Relief, click here.


VOLUNTEER TO BE A MENTOR OR TUTOR – As families arrive, they’ll need volunteers to support them! See more here about becoming a volunteer mentor or tutor for refugee adults or youth.  Find out about being a volunteer mentor or tutor here.

ORGANIZE A CO-SPONSOR TEAM – Interested in organizing a co-sponsor team to help welcome a newly arriving refugee family by raising funds, setting up an apartment, and walking alongside them as they adjust? Join the live co-sponsor info session on September 29 or 30. Find out more and sign up here.

DONATE –  Help provide housing assistance, English classes, employment coaching, academic support, mental health services, and more. Donate here.

To find out more about Refugee One, click here.



August 24, 2021

Looking to Volunteer this Summer? We Can Help!

Summer is a great time to volunteer at a local nonprofit.
Let us help you help others!

Have a particular cause you would like to support? Not sure what you would like to do? Simply visit our listing of 165 nonprofits to check out their missions and volunteer needs.   When you see something that might be of interest, you can send a message directly to the nonprofit letting them know you’re interested and available.  It’s that easy!

Click here to visit our VC Nonprofit Page and start your search!


Questions?  Contact the Volunteer Center at
July 22, 2021

Volunteers Needed for Community-Wide Document Shredding Event Saturday, November 13th



The Volunteer Center and New Trier Township are sponsoring a free community-wide Document Shredding and Disposal Event  — and we need volunteers!

WHEN:    Saturday, November 13th from 8:30am-11:30am

WHERE: In the parking lot of Regina Dominican High School, at 701 Locust Road in Wilmette.


This safe, contactless, drive-through event is a great opportunity to protect your financial privacy and prevent identity theft by destroying financial and other private documents before you dispose of them.

We are looking for volunteers to help unload documents from donor’s cars and loading them into the shredding truck, and to help with cleanup.

To volunteer, or for more information, email Barb Tubekis at


April 29, 2021

Celebrate Earth Day 2021 with The Volunteer Center and our Partner James Martin Associates Saturday April 24th

Get down and dirty and help “Restore our Earth”!

The Volunteer Center and James Martin Associates
Host A Special Opportunity to Honor 
Earth Day

 Saturday, April 24th, from 9:30-11:30 am

Individuals and families are invited to participate in this year’s National Earth day theme, “Restore Our Earth” by removing invasive plants and other projects that will help restore native habitat for birds and pollinators in Harbert-Payne Woods in Evanston on the North Shore Channel.

Registration is required, as the project is limited to 30 people, ages 5 through adult 

In order to accommodate safe distancing — and to facilitate small group led projects by the Woods’ lead volunteers — registration is limited.  Please do not delay your reservations!  To Reserve space(s),  email Barb Tubekis at  Once we have your registration we will provide you the exact park location to meet us the morning of the 24th. We will also email you a waiver to sign and bring with you from the City of Evanston as protocal. There will be some supplies available, but volunteers are encouraged to bring shovels or hand trowels, work gloves, water bottles and sun protection and Masks are required. There are no fees required, but donations are welcome for the Channel Habitat Fund to purchase more plants to support the restoration work at Herbert-Payne Park and the Ladd Arboretum.

More info About the Project and Harbert-Payne Woods  

Allison Sloan, a steward of the Channel will provide information about the project and its importance of these three acres of cottonwood forest along the east bank of the North Shore Channel. Over time, the woods have become overgrown with invasive buckthorn bushes and strewn with dead ash trees killed by the invasive emerald ash borer beetle. Community members have come together to replace the invasives with native shrubs and wildflowers to provide food and cover for native songbirds, and to plant a forest of native food-producing plants for humans to educate future generations about the critical role of wild foods in our ancestors’ survival. After all, wild onions are the namesake for “Checagou” by Native Americans.

About James Martin Associates Landscaping 

Project sponsor and Volunteer Center partner James Martin Associates has been designing and managing practical, creative and award-winning landscapes in the Chicagoland region since 1977. They are a nationally recognized, employee-owned landscaping firm as well as a steward of our environment. Through the use of recycled materials created at their facility and an emphasis on green and lean strategies, they do their part to help maintain the environment for their clients.

About the Volunteer Center 

Established in 1960, The Volunteer Center (VC) works with over 165 nonprofit partner organizations to help individuals, families, and service groups find ways to volunteer their time and help others in the community. We also help groups develop and implement effective service-learning programs in schools, faith-based organizations and civic groups, and sponsor community Days of Service.



April 15, 2021
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