Why We Get Involved

Every year, volunteers provide thousands of hours of service to Heartland Alliance programs. Each volunteer has their own reasons for getting involved but most center on a strong sense of community and a deep love of service to others. In honor of National Volunteer Week, we asked four Heartland Alliance volunteers to tell us in their own words, why they love serving others.

Fay Abushaban, Women’s Empowerment Project, Refugee and Immigrant Community Services

“I volunteer because I love helping others, especially because I know how it feels to need help. 14 years ago, Heartland Alliance gave me peace of mind by providing me with a pro bono attorney to help me with my immigration status. So now, I’m trying to pay it forward by volunteering for Heartland. My favorite part is to see that I’m helping someone make good changes that will help them have a better life. It’s an experience that leaves you with new skills, teaches you knowledge, and makes you appreciate what you have.”

Paul Richard, Travelers Aid, O’Hare Airport

“My background is Naval aviation, so one of the reasons I volunteer at Travelers Aid is because I love airplanes. I used to work on them in the Navy during WWII. I’m an airplane nut and here, you’ve got airplanes all over the place. That’s part of what gets me out here. But how I originally got out here was that I was having breakfast with a friend who was already a volunteer and she said to me, ‘Paul, please come out and see us at O’Hare,’ – that was 15 years ago and here I am!”

Christina Campbell, Refugee and Immigrant Community Services

“I love to give back to the community, and feel more involved and engaged with others around me. Heartland Alliance has such a profound effect on different communities in Chicago, and helps us strive to make ourselves and each other better people and citizens. I have worked both as a volunteer teacher and tutor and knew this was the right place for me after my very first time teaching. Volunteering is so rewarding, for both the students and volunteers, and I’m excited to have the important role of helping immigrants and refugees transition and adjust to their lives here.”

Gerri Miller, Travelers Aid, O’Hare Airport

“I’ve been volunteering for Travelers Aid for 20 years. I just enjoy helping people and in the airport, there’s always something exciting going on. You’re talking to different people all the time. I enjoy traveling and I know how helpful it is to be able to have a question answered by a smiling person rather than always getting the answer from an iPhone. Knowing I’ve made a difference by making someone’s trip a little easier makes me happy.”