True Impact: Inside Chicago Lights  |  Virtual Chats

Response to COVID-19

2021 Spring Programming Updates

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

– In-person farm work continues each day with staff and limited volunteers on site to water, plant, harvest, and donate produce. 

– Virtual learning this spring is engaging high school students in growing edible crops and gaining transferable job skills.

– Access to fresh, local produce will be available through community gardening, the farmstand, a voucher program, and an online Plant Sale with curbside pickup in May.

Tutoring and Summer Day

– Over 300 students are participating in dynamic virtual programming each week, Monday-Wednesday evenings. Students engage in enrichment classes, followed by one-to-one tutoring with their mentors. 

– Small group Reading Clinics, a new program designed and led by our reading specialist, occur several times per week for students most in need of literacy development. The reading specialist also designs personalized Reading Intervention Plans—assigning books, educational games, and library resources—for tutors and parents to use with students.

– High school scholarship students continue to meet virtually each month for additional academic and leadership development. 

Dance Academy

– Virtual dance classes engage students in the arts at our five partner schools: Belmont-Cragin, Manierre, Salazar, Ogden, and Ariel. Professional dance instructors offer four classes a week at each school for all grades.

– Saturday classes in ballet, jazz, tap, and Latin fusion are offered virtually for students to promote wellness and build confidence and creativity.

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.