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Chicago Adventure Therapy

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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Crime & Law, Mental Health, Mental Health Treatment, Recreation & Sports, Sports, Youth Development Programs, Youth Violence Prevention

Mission: Using outdoor adventure sports such as kayaking, orienteering, cycling, and rock climbing, Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) helps under-served youth in Chicago have a lasting positive impact on their communities and become healthy adults by teaching effective social skills, increasing participants’ sense of possibility, and fostering a sense of empowerment and personal responsibility.

Results: Go here for read the preliminary results from our 2 year program evaluation! http://2011.chicagoadventuretherapy.org/about-us/

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 5

CAT worked with the clients I served-adolescent girls in foster care that lived in residential treatment. It was amazing to see their transformation as they participated in new experiences that put them in situations where they had to work together, trust each other and communicate effectively. At the end of our time kayaking one of the girls stated, "I wish we had our own kayak--it's such a good coping skill for me!" There are not many other nonprofits that are giving youth in need such a unique and life changing experience.

1 Hether H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a teacher of twice exceptional students, I am amazed at the work they do!


Rating: 5

Excellent people who are making a difference in the area. Shows what we can do if you put differences aside.


Board Member

Rating: 5

Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) is doing excellent, needed work with youth in Chicago. CAT's unique approach is working wonders as the programs continue to grow!

1 Emily28


Rating: 5

I loved volunteering with Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT). I was involved in a variety of programs: kayaking on Lake Michigan, biking across the city, and navigation programs in iconic Chicago parks. CAT's programs provides a unique insight into understanding a youth’s lived experience and coping skills that I have not observed in other therapy or programming modalities. CAT programs foster an environment where individuals are able to push personal boundaries, explore new identities, and share openly in a context that is built on trust and safety. As a volunteer social worker, I have observed CAT participants building lasting connections between peers, exploring the city in new ways, and gaining a deeper sense of self. It is always a blessing and blast to volunteer with CAT!


Rating: 5

I know there are a lot of good causes out there, but let me tell you why I donate to CAT. For low income city kids, there are pressures from a lot of directions – and many of them make bad decisions because they’re not aware of all the choices available to them. There are many examples on their website, but CAT removes these kids from their usual environment and puts them into adventure situations like kayaking or rock climbing, and they see the world differently – by facing a new challenge it educates them to reconsider their options in their daily lives. The “therapy” part of it helps them to process this experience so they re-frame their thinking to consider college or other avenues that enriches not only their life, but society as a whole.