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Volunteering FAQ

We would be lost without our volunteers

Students on a tour of the chicago recovery alliance
  • I want to volunteer! How do I get started?
    Awesome! You’ll find a volunteer form below. Upon completion of the form you’ll receive a confirmation notifying you that we received your form and you will be provided with details on how to get started volunteering.
  • I’m an educator and have a class I’d like to bring to CRA. How do I go about this?
    This is totally doable and we’d love to have you! We just need to coordinate a bit. Please complete our group volunteer form and our volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you shortly thereafter.  
  • What is the role of volunteers at CRA?
    During program drop-in hours volunteers help pack harm reduction supplies that CRA distributes at outreach sites to help people navigate risks and lead healthier lives. CRA’s work is truly not possible without the help of volunteers!
  • What are the days and times volunteers can plug in?
    There are 3 regular days/times throughout the week when volunteers can plug in which include both a weekday and weekend option as well as day time and evening hours. You will learn more about the exact days, times and locations during our volunteer orientation.
  • Is there any kind of orientation for new volunteers?
    Yes! When you come in for the first time after completing our online volunteer form you will be provided with a brief orientation for new volunteers.
  • How much time is required?
    We don’t ask for a time commitment! We understand people’s schedules are hectic and vary week by week. After completing our volunteer form and attending a volunteer orientation, we just ask that you drop in at any time during our volunteer hours as your schedule permits! You don’t have to notify us ahead of time. Volunteering at CRA is a community effort and many of our volunteers have been coming for years!
  • Do I need experience to be a volunteer?
    No experience required! If you’re totally new to harm reduction and to CRA we do recommend you familiarize yourself a bit by perusing our website before completing a volunteer form and visiting us.
  • Will I be able to ride on the van?
    You are guaranteed an opportunity to tour the van while not in use during volunteer hours. Volunteering on the van during an actual site is not guaranteed due to the volume of requests we receive as well as our commitment to protecting the privacy of our participants.
  • I’m a student seeking an internship opportunity. Does CRA take interns?
    Good question! We unfortunately do not have the capacity to host internships outside of our counseling program, an initiative run by our colleague Geoff Bathje who works collaboratively with CRA. Once a year Geoff identifies a couple of clinical interns for this opportunity. If you are someone interested in harm reduction and need to complete a clinical internship you can contact Geoff by visiting the counselling services page.

    Counseling Services
  • Working on a research project?
    Research requests and school projects are separate from volunteering and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please email any and all research inquiries to our Director of Research, Suzanne Carlberg-Racich.
  • Is it okay to be a volunteer and a recipient of CRA services?
  • What do I get out of volunteering?
    • Knowledge about harm reduction philosophy and practice.
    • Knowledge about harm reduction supplies and services for people who use drugs in Chicago and beyond.
    • Information about upcoming events.
    • Cuddle time with CRA’s resident furry friends (only if desired of course!).
    • And most importantly, you get to meet other people who love harm reduction which includes CRA staff and other short and long term volunteers.

Thank you for considering volunteering at CRA!

To get started with volunteering please select from these two options and complete the form.
  • Individual Volunteers Form

    Thank you for your interest in volunteering for our organization. CRA greatly appreciates the effort and dedication of volunteers in meeting community needs. The following questions are designed for CRA to learn about you and see where you might fit within the scope of services. This is not an application.

      StudentSocial WorkerCounselorMedical providerCommunity MemberResearcherMedia personOther

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      Thank you so much for your time in filling out this form, and your interest in the Chicago Recovery Alliance.

    • Group Tour & Volunteer Request Form

      Thank you for your interest in visiting and volunteering for us. CRA greatly appreciates the effort and dedication of volunteers in meeting community needs and in having the opportunity to provide some education about some of the issues most deeply impacting people who use drugs.

      We welcome visitors during our weekly Wednesday drop-in hours (4-6pm) interested in learning about our work. We also believe that the best way to learn about work is through volunteering which is why we combine elements of a tour with hands-on volunteer work packing supplies. This program is a time commitment of 2 hours and includes the following:

      • A brief welcome and overview of CRA
      • A brief tour of the van while not in use so as to respect the privacy of our participants
      • An introduction to the supplies we offer on a daily basis to our participants which includes hands-on packing
      • An opportunity to meet and network with other long-time volunteers

        Will a group coordinator be present or will people be arriving individually?

        Co-ordinator presentArriving individuallyDon't know yet

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        Thank you so much for your time in filling out this form, and your interest in the Chicago Recovery Alliance.