Volunteer at our Social Service Center this spring!
Chicago Lights urban farm
Work alongside staff, youth, community members, and volunteers to cultivate an engaged learning community at our farm in Chicago’s Near North neighborhood.
The Chicago Lights Urban Farm is a ¾ acre farm in the Near North community of Chicago. The Farm is dedicated to cultivating a thoughtful and engaged community of youth and adults through economic and educational opportunities, hands-on learning, and access to fresh, local, and sustainably grown produce.
The Farm provides a safe sanctuary for community members, grows a variety of annual and perennial crops, offers programming for youth, distributes produce to the community, hosts volunteers, holds several community events, and provides space for community gardening.
The Program Coordinator is an integral member of the Urban Farm team, working alongside staff, youth, community members, and volunteers to cultivate an engaged learning community.
This role oversees many important Urban Farm initiatives: manages a high school development and job training program that engages high school age youth in farm-related tasks, community building, educational activities, and workshops on agricultural and social justice-related topics; coordinates recruiting, scheduling, and onboarding individuals and corporate groups for the seasonal volunteer program; and assists with other community engagement efforts.
The primary responsibilities of the Program Coordinator include, but are not limited to:
Youth Development Program
• Plan and implement the high school program up to three sessions per year, including planning curriculum and recruiting students. Lead activities and teach workshops for youth, recruit guest speakers, and identify off-site experiences. Offer hands-on experience in farm and marketing skills through engaging with Farm microenterprises and education practices.
• Act as lead instructor and liaison for the Farm’s partnership with After School Matters (ASM) through protocol compliance and relationship cultivation.
• Attend professional development trainings through ASM and other organizations.
• Seek and cultivate partnerships that strengthen the youth program.
• Stay connected with past program participants and organize a yearly Youth Advisory Council meeting for program input.
• Coordinate the seasonal Volunteer Program. Serve as point of contact, schedule individuals and groups, and lead regular volunteer experiences (registration, set-up, orientation, task delegation, clean-up).
• Recruit, retain, and supervise individual and group volunteers for special events and programs. Organize and attend volunteer events for recruitment as needed.
• Collect volunteer information and manage the Volunteer Database to ensure that volunteers comply with all protocols.
• Cultivate connections with past and present volunteers—both groups and individuals—to leverage for continued financial and in-kind support of the Farm (at times in partnership with Development staff).
• Help manage the Farm’s Square payment site for utilization in the Volunteer program and for other uses, including the spring Plant Sale.
• Assist the Director in coordinating the Community Garden, including communication with gardeners, technical assistance, and organizing volunteer tasks and workdays.
• Input participant info and other data from all programs into the Farm database.
• Assist with farm production tasks and public events as needed.
• Use the S.P.I.R.I.T. principles of hospitality when interacting with visitors, guests, members, and staff of Fourth Presbyterian Church and Chicago Lights.
• Attend staff meetings as required.
• It is impossible to convey every single task into one job description. As the role evolves over time, this job description will be adjusted accordingly.
• Demonstrated experience with high school age youth with education and interest in youth development models.
• Experience with gardening and/or urban farming principles and practices.
• Experience scheduling and hosting volunteer groups and maintaining participant databases.
• Comfort working with basic Microsoft applications – Word, Excel, Forms as well as Google Forms.
• Commitment to social justice values and engaging youth and volunteers on these topics.
• Strong communication and interpersonal skills. Able to build relationships with youth and adults.
• Flexible availability (with advance notice) and able to shift gears quickly and efficiently.
• Physical and mental endurance – ability to lift 40 pounds, stand for long periods of time, and work outside in any weather.
• Comfortable operating as a member of a team and working with people of all ages.
• Understanding of and commitment to providing trauma informed care.
• Strong work ethic, judgment, apparent collaboration skills, and a commitment to Chicago Lights’ mission.
• Commitment to racial equity and social justice. Recognize the role of race, income, age, immigration status, and other identities in shaping disparities, and work toward amplifying community voices to advocate for equity. Recognize how your own identities show up in the work, and welcome, reflect on, and act on feedback with an eye toward continuous learning about race, ability, and other lines of difference.
Majority of this position is site-based. There may be opportunities for some remote work on a seasonal basis. This position is full-time and will have seasonal fluctuation in the weekly schedule. During Spring and Fall sessions of the youth program, weekly hours will include two evenings per week. Exact days and hours may change and will be determined based on Chicago Public School schedules, After School Matters requirements, and seasonal farm operations. Occasional Saturdays and Sundays may be required for special events or program days.
Compensation + Benefits
• $37,000-$41,000 annual salary
• Employer contributes 85% of employee health Insurance premiums and 75% of dependent coverage
• Employer paid life insurance and short-term disability
• Generous paid time off policy plus 11 paid holidays
• 403b retirement savings plan—employer contributes 3% after one year
Please send cover letters and resumes to email@example.com. No phone calls, please.
Fourth Presbyterian Church and Chicago Lights are committed to equal employment opportunity for all qualified persons, without regard to race, color, citizenship status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, creed, physical or mental disability, marital status or familial status, veteran status, military status, source of income, political affiliation, or any other factor protected by law.
Please note that upon accepting an offer of employment from Fourth Presbyterian Church or Chicago Lights, you will be required to share proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. This requirement is subject to accommodation in compliance with applicable laws.