CHICAGO, February 26, 2014 - If you have traveled through O'Hare International Airport, you've probably seen or have been helped by them - friendly people wearing blue vests stationed at information desks or walking the terminals. They are the volunteers of Travelers Aid Chicago, a support network for passengers at O'Hare since the airport's opening in 1955.
Today, Travelers Aid hosted an open house at its office past security in the main hallway of Terminal 2 for the O'Hare airport community. The day-long event offered an opportunity for airport employees to meet Travelers Aid staff and learn more about the services they provide, which include crisis intervention, information and social services for O'Hare travelers and visitors.
Whether it's a mother looking for a private place to nurse her child or distressed passenger who has lost a passport, Travelers Aid is there to help. They assist more than 600,000 O'Hare passengers annually, from answering common airport customer inquiries to managing crisis situations such as helping a stranded traveler reconnect with family overseas. The office is open seven days a week, 359 days a year.
Travelers Aid staff and volunteers also provide one-on-one service for at-risk passengers by accompanying them through such processes as flight check-in; going through security; transferring to gates; getting to baggage claim and/or sitting with them during a layover. In 2013 more than 600 O'Hare passengers were assisted thorough this Travelers Aid Protective Travel Service.
In recent years, Travelers Aid Chicago has expanded its presence, with more than 125 volunteers now serving at O'Hare. Travelers Aid volunteers come from all walks of life and ages - from young, tech-savvy professionals fresh out of college to retirees with encyclopedic (or Wikipedia-like?) knowledge about the city of Chicago and the airport. Currently, the youngest volunteer at O'Hare is 19 and the most senior is 92.
At a global gateway such as O'Hare, where thousands of passengers from around the world arrive each day, overcoming language barriers is crucial. Travelers Aid volunteers and staff speak a combined 28 languages, fulfilling a critical need at an international transportation hub.
Want to learn more, need travel assistance, interested in becoming a volunteer or know a good candidate to become a volunteer? Visit the website at travelersaidchicago.org, call (773) 894-2427 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.