House In The Wood exists primarily as a place of community service. The missions of both House In The Wood and Northwestern Settlement include serving the members of our Chicago community in a variety of ways. Everything that happens on our campus either directly or indirectly contributes to this mission of community service.
Supporting Community; Supported by Community
As a nonprofit organization, we depend on the efforts and generosity of like-minded individuals who choose to join us in service. Their belief in and commitment to our cause has led to their continued support for generations. This support keeps our doors open for the transformative experiences that enrich the lives of all of our visitors year in and year out.
There are always projects that need doing at House In The Wood. Our small full-time staff do amazing work putting on all of our youth and adult programs, but the help of our wonderful volunteers makes our campus really shine. If you have a talent you'd like to share (or just a desire to help), there are many ways to get involved at House In The Wood.
What Volunteers Do
Here are just some of the ways our volunteers lend a hand.
Teaching trail lessons
Caring for live animals
Building a split rail fence
Building aquatic study areas
Adding to the marsh boardwalk
Chipping brush piles
Putting in rain gardens Maintaining five gardens
Building a natural fence for gardens
Clearing invasive plant species
Cutting back growth on the road
Dog show for campers
Clearing the trails
Building a raised garden bed
Tuning the pianos
Repairing the staff bicycles
Making curtains for cabins
Building the Bird's Nest
Cutting up fallen trees
Decorating for holidays
Bring a Group to Serve Together
Adult and student groups looking for a community service site need look no farther than House In The Wood. Whether you have a specific project in mind or are just starting with the desire to help out others in your community, our staff are happy to find ways to make your ambitions a reality. Groups who come to House In The Wood are offered all of the accommodations of retreat groups at a discounted rate. Contact us to plan your community service visit.
Volunteers from the Community
House In The Wood counts on the volunteer support of members of the Delavan community as well as those from the greater Chicago area. Many of these volunteers come to help us with work around the grounds on scheduled days throughout the year. Others share their interests in talents as programs for our youth programs. Examples of these programs include everything from soccer to gardening to dancing to nature lessons. If you'd like to get involved, we'd love to have you - contact us today!
House In The Wood's programs and their lasting impact are made possible by your generous support. Your donations pay for life changing experiences in the outdoors for children who need them most.
If you prefer to give by check, please make it payable to Northwestern Settlement with House In The Wood in the memo, and mail it to the address below:
Attn: Katie Taylor
1400 West Augusta Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60642
Have gently used clothing, furniture, or other items? The Settlement also accepts a wide range of gifts for our programs, including items from the wish list below. Please contact the development team with questions.
For those who would like to support House In The Wood with an in-kind donation, we have put together a list of some of the items we need most. Large or small, your contribution is greatly appreciated and helps make possible the great experiences offered in our programs. Thank you!
- Small Outboard Motor or Small Motor Boat (for rescuing sailboats across the lake)
- Utility Vehicles (John Deere Gators) — We are a four season facility so we need a four season work vehicle.
- New Swimming Dock Boards (Our current dock is over 30 years old.)
- Vest Life Jackets - Large and X-Large
- Canoe Paddles
- Row Boat Oars (8ft)
Rummage Sale Treasures
- Sports Equipment
- Children’s Books
- Children’s Magazines
- Art/Crafts Supplies
- Cooking/Baking Basics-measuring, pans, pots
- Yoga Mats
- Exercise Mats
House In The Wood is part of Northwestern Settlement, a 501(c)(3) legal, designated charity that serves needy children and families of Chicago’s west side. 100% of your donation is tax-deductible.
Join the Team
House In The Wood accepts applications on a rolling basis for our seasonal/temporary positions. We prefer to hire experienced workers, and we like to have our staff return as often as possible. You are welcome to apply at any time and to contact us about your application. However, we will only contact applicants when we are hiring for their specified positions. See the positions available and other details below.
Steps to Apply
- Read the information on this page.
- Decide which position(s) you're interested in.
- Complete an online application.
- Have two people complete and turn in a reference form.
- Contact us to follow up on your application.
Who Works at House In The Wood?
All kinds of people! Our resident program staff is often made up of college students or recent graduates intereted in teaching or natural sciences. They usually come from all around the country. Our support staff are typically from the local area.
Program staff earn a daily or weekly salary that varies by position and experience. Support staff are paid an hourly wage that also varies by position and experience.
Trail Leader with Cabin Responsibilities - 2-7 Week Commitment (Spring, Fall or Winter) - Work during the day and supervise cabin overnight Monday through Friday with time off each day. Work with a co-leader throughout the day to teach 5 hours of lessons and facilitate social-emotional learning opportunities during non-lesson times and cabin wakeup/tuck. Paid training.
Trail Leader Only - On Call As Needed (Spring, Fall and Winter) - Work during the day (about 8 hours). Responsibilities include teaching 4-6 hours of lessons and supervising your trail group at meals and other activities. Paid less than full-time trail leaders or cabin counselors. Paid training.
Cook - Prepare meals for groups of 40-100 with the assistance of two or more kitchen aids. Follow strict guidelines for health and safety in kitchen and dining areas. Lead cleanup after meals. Meals included. .
Kitchen aid - Assist in preparation of meals. Setup tables for meals and assist in cleanup after meals. Meals included.
Health assistant - Help in providing basic care for visitors. Supervise children in the health center and escort them to/from their groups as needed. Follow strict protocols to ensure health and safety as well as appropriate record keeping. Work during the day or overnight. Meals included. Residency is required for overnight shifts.
Office Intern - Assist with routine office work such as organizing and sending mailings, taking and uploading photos, answering phonecalls, etc. Meals are included. Residency is optional.