Helpful Articles

Helping Others While Helping Yourself

A new service helps connect you to volunteer opportunities in the community.

Tips for Getting Started

First, ask yourself if there is something specific you want to do. For example, do I want...

  • to make it better around where I live.
  • to meet people who are different than me.
  • to try something new.
  • to do something with my spare time.
  • to do something I am good at.
  • to do more with my hobbies or interests.

The best way to volunteer is to match your personality and interests. Having answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search.

Source: World Volunteer Web

What is 2-1-1?

Every day, individuals go without essential services while help is readily available.

The Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 provides comprehensive information and referral line to connect callers to critical health and human care programs throughout Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall, Stark and Putnam counties.

More ...

By Greg Chance, Advanced Medical Transport

One of the better known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Unpaid volunteers are often the “glue” that holds a community together. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the most minor task can make a real difference in the lives of people, animals or organizations in need.

Start With the Why

Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work which you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine. Many people volunteer in order to make time for hobbies outside of work. For example, if you have a desk job and long to spend time outdoors, you might want to consider volunteering to help plant a community garden, walk dogs for an animal shelter or help out at a summer children’s camp.

Your volunteering experience will be richer and more enjoyable if you first take some time to identify your goals and interests. Start by thinking about why you want to volunteer; then think about what you would enjoy doing. Volunteer opportunities that match both your goals and your interests are most likely to be fun and fulfilling for you.

In the Greater Peoria Region, there are numerous volunteer positions that you would enjoy, and at which you are capable of being successful. It is also critical to make sure your commitment matches the organization’s needs.

Find Your Match!

Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) would like to make finding these matches with organizations easier by offering a new volunteer-opportunity portal on the Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 website at 211hoi.org. We have integrated volunteer opportunities into the website’s extensive help and assistance database.

By using the “Find Volunteer Opportunities” link on the home page of 211hoi.org, you can search and explore volunteer opportunities from an array of different organizations within the Greater Peoria Region. You can sort and filter based on the category, location or keyword of the volunteer opportunity you are trying to match. Information on who to contact and the needs of the organization are available for each opportunity to make sure you can find the match that best fits you. In addition, organizations that are seeking volunteers are able to submit their information via the portal so they can become part of the database.

AMT and the Heart of Illinois 2-1-1… helping people get connected and get answers regarding volunteer opportunities.

Greg Chance is Vice President of Strategy for Advanced Medical Transport.


Rebuilding Hope After a Natural Disaster

Rebuilding Hope After a Natural Disaster book cover

After the November 2013 tornado, central Illinois residents continue to unite in support of their neighbors, family, friends and coworkers who lost their homes in Tazewell County. The Heart of Illinois United Way established a tornado relief fund to support long-term recovery needs of central Illinois in the aftermath of the natural disaster.

Survivors of a natural disaster need concise calming and coping strategies to help for both short and long-term needs. To identify and respond to local emotional health needs, the Heart of Illinois United Way has produced the book, Rebuilding Hope after a Natural Disaster: Pathways to Emotional Healing and Recovery.

The purpose of this book is to provide valuable assistance to survivors, caregivers and support groups. Included are personal first-hand experience stories, emotional recovery strategies, and resources for a variety of post-disaster time periods and age groups. "Rebuilding Hope" is meant to serve as an effective tool to offer emotional support during the healing process, to help communities recover, and to ultimately rebuild hope.

For more information and to download or read the book online, visit hoiunitedway.org/tornadorelief.


You've Survived One Disaster,
Don't Let it Lead to Another

Help for the lingering trauma of surviving a natural disaster

In the years following a disaster, symptoms of anxiety can still be present years following an event. When individuals do not recognize anxiety symptoms as being associated with a traumatic event, they can often turn to unhealthy coping skills or behavioral patterns to manage their feelings. It is important for citizens of a town that has experienced a disaster to be aware of how anxiety can manifest in the years following the event. While an individual may not experience these symptoms directly, they can help their friend, family member, or loved one, by encouraging them to talk about how they are feeling. If the person is need does not feel comfortable discussing the issue, they can be referred to an online support group, counselor, to a clergy member, or to any person they trust. Know the signs, know the symptoms, and know the numbers to call.

Connecting Central Illinois with the Social Services They Need

Connecting those in need to critical social services is only a call away. The Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 team understands that finding the assistance you need to lead a healthy, stable life can be challenging and oftentimes, overwhelming.

Finding Child Care And After-School Services

The Heart of Illinois 2-1-1’s free, confidential hotline offers people a convenient way to access a wide variety of services from basic necessities such as food and shelter to parenting programs such as child care and after-school services.

Home Repair Help for Elderly and Disabled Homeowners

Did you know that the last Saturday in April is National Rebuilding Day? As a part of this national celebration, Rebuilding Together Peoria helps to rehabilitate the homes of low-income elderly or disabled homeowners so that they may live in warmth, safety, and with independence.

What to Do When the Utility Bill Is Due

Unable to make ends meet and in danger of not being able to pay your utilities bill? The Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 program is a free, completely confidential number that you can call at any time. Trained staff can talk you through different options and connect you to the help you need.

The Importance of Parental Involvement

Positive and effective parenting is key to a child’s success. When a parent is actively and positively involved in a child’s life, that child can overcome many environmental risk factors that might hinder future success. If you need help, 2-1-1 can connect you to many resources, and our trained team is here to talk with you about different options and situations, and to refer you to organizations that can offer you ready assistance.

Every Brush Leads to Better Health

Oral health is vital to a child’s overall health and wellbeing, and there are sources available to help you afford care. Call 211, or visit the website at 211hoi.com to get connected with an organization that can help you.

Be Prepared for Cold Weather

When wind chill temperatures fall below zero and you are in need of a place to find warmth but are unsure where to go, there are many places in the Peoria area available to help you. The team at 2-1-1 is always available to direct you to various warming sites and to the resources that you need in winter.

A Good Mentor Has Wisdom to Share

One highly effective way to break the cycle of poverty is for a child to have a relationship with a positive, older role model. Studies show that when paired with a mentor, young people are more likely to stay in and succeed in school, are less likely to engage in risky behavior, and are more likely to show improved self esteem. It is vitally important that young people have mentors to look up to. The more successful our youth are, the more success we as a community will be.

A Little Help Can Make Ends Meet

Have you, or someone you know, ever been in a situation where you are unable to acquire the basic necessities? If you are unsure about where to find help, the Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 is a confidential, free number that will connect you with a trained staff member who will be able to put you in contact with local organizations that are able to assist those in emergency situations.

How Healthy Are Your Relationships?

February has Valentine’s Day and is also Relationship Wellness Month. Our relationships include more than just the romantic ones. Take this month of February to examine all of the relationships in our lives, including those with our families, friends, and coworkers.