I recently volunteered with other C.A.R. staff, members and affiliates at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. While bagging pasta in a 40 F degree room, we had a blast singing “RESPECT” (trying our best to imitate Aretha Franklin—the voice of God). We also tried the theme song to “Laverne and Shirley” but only remembered the ‘schlamele, schlamazel, hossenffer’ part. (When you work on an assembly line, you think you have the creds to sing this stuff. But I digress.) Of course we also sang everyone's favorite campfire song: BOOM BOOM POW by the Black Eyed Peas (That chick is jackin my style... SING IT, DEENA!)
We volunteered for three hours (a long time when you're in a meat locker setting), but we had an amazing crew. Deena Zimmerman of Helios Realty and President-Elect of Women's Council of REALTORS® Chicago volunteered at Bark in the Park last month with other Chicago REALTORS®. Tammy Hajjar, an affiliate member and Secretary of the Women's Council, is in training for the Breast Cancer 3-Day.
I told them about the Illinois Association of REALTORS Corps, which for the past two years has been working on rebuilding the Gulf Coast. (By the way, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® has a REALTORS® Renewing America site where you can share how you have been giving back.) Thinking about IAR’s efforts, I wondered ‘How about a local REALTOR® Corps to work on projects in Chicago?’ We could partner with other organizations or support each other in charitable and volunteer efforts, and everybody can sign up until capacity is met. Additionally, this could be a network where other REALTORS looking for helping hands can post projects and see who's up for the challenge.
For instance, Chicago Cares puts together two service projects a year. Volunteers sign up, pay $25 for a delicious sandwich and transportation to the project—and then make an impact in a variety of ways. Our group could paint a school, clean up a park, tutor kids; there are endless possibilities. My co-volunteers thought it was a great idea, because sometimes people just don't know where to go or what to do. This would allow us to join forces to form a strong collective of REALTORS® making a positive impact in the places we live, work and play.
As a local association, we do well with advocacy on housing issues, working with the media to dispel myths about the market, and the political side (CARPAC and RPAC, which I will address at a later date). How about some human advocacy? As Thomas Paine said, "The world is my country, all it's citizens are my brethren and TO DO GOOD is my religion." Let's do some good--the strength of the individual to strengthen the collective known as the City of Chicago, Our City, Our Home.
What do you think? A do-gooder gone overboard, or a solid plan for us to come together, NOT talk business and instead be all about the business of goodwill? I want to know—so don't hold back; let me have it, or tell us where to start!
LOG ON and BLOG ON!