View the 2020 Chicago Lights Annual Report!

Response to COVID-19

Chicago Lights continues to care for Chicago’s youth and adults through supportive relationships and life-changing programs during this crisis.
Social Service Center
– In-person, essential programming for adults continues on Tuesdays through Fridays with safe curbside services providing clothing, hygiene items, snacks, inclement weather gear, and Food Pantry pickup. In addition, virtual case management continues with existing guests to provide resources and on-going support in obtaining identification, employment, stable housing, and more.

– New donations are being accepted. Donors can order from any online retailer and have it shipped to ATTN: Chicago Lights Social Service Center, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago, IL 60611. We are not accepting any drop-offs of donations for the foreseeable future. Please see the current wish list here.

Urban Farm

– Agriculture is deemed as an essential business in Illinois, so in-person farm work continues each day with limited staff members going on site to water, plant, harvest, and donate produce. 

– Produce is being distributed to local residents through the Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Salad Share program, a partnership with the Near North Health Service Corporation and Mercy Housing, the on-site Farmstand, community gardening plots, and donations to the Chicago Lights Social Service Center’s Food Pantry.

Tutoring and Summer Day

– Our first-ever online summer program is four weeks, July 6–31. While tutoring relationships between mentors and students continue through a structured, virtual meeting space, students are also engaging in small group academic classes and socio-emotional learning.

– Each registered child received a backpack with books, school supplies, art kits, and snack packs for the summer. Grades 1–6 are receiving a STEM kit, and grades 7 and 8 are receiving entrepreneurship kits.

– Career Development internships continue this summer for 18 high school age youth, with some students engaging in classic internship experiences with partner companies and organizations either safely in person or virtually. Other students are participating in an earn-and-learn curriculum focused on STEM and socio-emotional learning. 

Dance Academy

– The four-week Summer Dance Intensive is online. Our robust virtual curriculum for students in grades 1–12 is Monday–Friday, June 29–July 23, featuring two live Zoom classes in the styles of ballet, jazz, musical theater, tap, and hip hop, plus pre-recorded dance lessons and independent study. More advanced choreography is offered twice a week for seasoned students.

– Classes in ballet, jazz, musical theater, and yoga are on YouTube here.

Safety Precautions For In-Person Programming
– Staff are adhering to the guidelines and closely monitoring the changes to the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Health, and the Chicago Department of Health, especially the following guidelines about practicing good hygiene, avoiding close contact, disinfecting surfaces, and what to do if you are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick.

– All staff members are wearing gloves and masks when providing supplies to Social Service Center guests or Tutoring families or when on site at the Urban Farm. The Farm is closed to any visitors, program participants, and volunteers. Staff among all programs are maintaining six feet of social distance at all times.

– Participants in need of supplies/services are being asked to wait outside the building, six feet apart. Staff members are meeting participants outside, six feet apart, to provide supplies/services.

– Regular sanitizing of tables, supplies, and doors is occurring before, during, and after program operation hours.