Black lives matter to Chicago Lights. 

Get Involved

Your time, talents, and generosity make this work possible.


Build brighter futures. Change lives.

Due to COVID-19, volunteer opportunities are limited to protect the health and safety of our volunteers.
Our typical volunteer opportunities are below. For more information, contact us at


Volunteer with Chicago Lights and change lives with us!

Youth Programs


Due to COVID-19, Tutoring volunteer opportunities are limited to protect the health and safety of our volunteers.
Our typical volunteer opportunities are below. For more information, contact Mark Dennison at

Chicago Lights Tutoring for the 2020-2021 school year is taking place virtually this fall.

Create a meaningful team-building environment, deepen your impact with Chicago Lights, and give back to the local community by participating in a corporate volunteer experience.

To me, there is nothing better than making a difference in the life of a child. Whether that’s helping them with homework, playing games, or just talking with them, I love having the opportunity to have a positive impact on their lives.

Vince DiGirolamo, Tutor/Mentor, Chicago Lights Tutoring

Permanent Weekly Tutor, 6:00–7:30 p.m.
Have a lasting impact by meeting with your student once a week, 1.5 hours on the same day each week.
Substitute Tutor, 6:00–7:30 p.m.
Volunteer when you’re free and work with a student whose regular tutor is away.
Meal-Time Volunteer, 4:30–6:00 p.m.
Assist with preparing and serving a healthy dinner to our students, and then support our enrichment classes before one-to-one mentoring.
Arts & Enrichment Teacher, 4:30–6:00 p.m.
Share your passion, hobby, or skill with students before their one-to-one mentoring time. Previous classes have featured visual arts, healthy cooking, acting, computer skills, yoga, creative writing, chess, knitting, and more.

Once a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday)

Virtual in 2020 but typically is held at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago

Questions? Contact Program Coordinator Mark Dennison at / 312.274.3828

Summer Day

Due to COVID-19, Summer Day volunteer opportunities are on hold to protect the health and safety of our volunteers.
Our typical volunteer opportunities are below. 

Help students get a jump start on the school year while having a safe and fun summer. By participating in this program, 94% of our students improved or maintained their language arts skills, and 96% improved or maintained their math skills.

I volunteer at Summer Day because I love the kids. A certain portion of them appear to be quite a bit behind, and I am able to work with them during the summer and help them get less far behind. It’s a good feeling to help these kids with their education.

Cathy Flaa, Volunteer, Chicago Lights Summer Day

Academic Class Assistant, Mondays–Thursdays, 8:45–11:45 a.m.
Volunteer in a small group or one-to-one setting, and help students with reading, writing, and math.
Arts Class Assistant, Mondays–Thursdays, 12:00 noon–3:00 p.m.
Get your creative juices flowing by volunteering in one of our arts classes: art, dance, acting, singing, or digital music production.
Meal-Time Assistant, Mondays–Fridays, Breakfast: 8:15–9:00 a.m., Lunch: 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Assist our staff in serving healthy meals to students.
Field Trip Chaperone, Fridays, 8:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m. (other days as scheduled)
Join us on a field trip and help broaden students’ horizons at places like the Ravinia Festival, the Museum of Science and Industry, Oak Street Beach, and more.


On hold due to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines

Questions? Contact Program Coordinator Mark Dennison at / 312.274.3828

Urban Farm

 Due to COVID-19, limited volunteer opportunities are available on Wednesdays, 1:30-4:00 p.m. New volunteers MUST attend orientation. No drop-in volunteer opportunities. Please sign up for orientation or to volunteer by contacting Program Manager Deja Stout at

Get your hands dirty at our Urban Farm! Work side-by-side with other volunteers, students, and young adult interns to help cultivate over 5,000 pounds of produce each season while supporting job opportunities and urban agriculture.

Typical volunteer tasks may include weeding, shoveling compost or woodchips, seeding/planting, painting, organizing, and general site beautification.

Volunteering at the Urban Farm helps connect me to my local food system, it gives me opportunities to come together with like-minded individuals to achieve a common end, it creates work opportunities for amazing teens and young adults, and it provides a healing nature oasis in the middle of the busy city.

Halle Miroglotta, Volunteer, Chicago Lights Urban Farm

Individual Volunteering

New to volunteering at the Urban Farm?

New volunteers must attend an orientation.
Limited spots available every other Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. Sign up by contacting Program Manager Deja Stout at


Already attended orientation? Are you a returning volunteer?

Limited spots available Wednesdays, 1:30-4:00 p.m. Sign up by contacting Program Manager Deja Stout at

Group Volunteering
Bring friends, your workplace, or church group to our Urban Farm!

To schedule your group (5–15 people), contact Program Manager Deja Stout at

All volunteering is on site at the Urban Farm, 444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago (intersection of Chicago and Hudson Ave.).

Questions? Contact Program Manager Deja Stout at

What to Know before Volunteering at the Farm

  • Please dress in clothes that can get dirty and close-toed shoes. Bring your own sunscreen if needed.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle if you have one. We have drinking water on site.
  • For facilities, there is a porta potty and hand-washing station only.
  • Plenty of picnic tables in the shade to take a break.
  • Wear a mask or face cover at all times.
  • Bring your own gardening gloves if you have them (we will have a limited number of new small and medium gloves to purchase for $3).
  • Practice 6-ft social distancing (all tasks will be assigned with this in mind).
  • Please do not bring personal items. We do not have storage for these items and cannot be responsible for your belongings.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have any COVID-19 symptoms, do not come to the Farm and follow all guidelines provided by the CDC and your doctor.  If you do test positive or have symptoms and have been to the Farm in the two weeks prior to your symptoms first occurring, please contact the Farm Director, Ben Jaffe (, immediately. 
  • Do not come to the Farm if you have visited any state, country, or municipality in the previous two weeks that the CDC deems as “higher risk” than Illinois. 
Social Services

Due to COVID-19, Social Service Center volunteer opportunities are on hold to protect the health and safety of our volunteers.
Our typical volunteer opportunities are below. For more information, contact Patty at

Our Social Service Center supports an average of 35 guests each day. Help welcome them with dignity and respect, as together, we walk alongside adults during some of their greatest times of need.

I used to be a guest at the Social Service Center, and the community is amazing. I always feel wonderful when I’m here. People talk about wanting to do something, so I put my words into action. I now volunteer and help guests in the Food Pantry and organize the clothing Share Shop.

Hilda, Volunteer, Chicago Lights Social Service Center

Individual Volunteering
Food Pantry Shopping Aide Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 noon
Assist guests as they shop through our consumer-choice Food Pantry.
Food Pantry Delivery Aide Second and Fourth Mondays, 8:30–11:00 a.m.
Assist with our bi-monthly Food Pantry delivery from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Volunteers need to be able to lift 40-pound boxes.
Share Shop Sorter/Aide Weekdays, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 noon or 1:00–4:00 p.m.
Help sort, clean, and organize clothing donations for our Share Shop or assist guests during their appointments.

Questions about individual volunteering opportunities? Contact Program Services and Volunteer Manager Patty Sokolow at / 312.981.3388.

Good Neighbors Street Outreach
Mondays, 2:00–3:00 p.m.; Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 noon; Fridays, 1:15–2:15 p.m. Must be at least 18 years old.
Volunteer with a small group, including staff, and connect with neighbors experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Volunteers provide snack items and hygiene kits to individuals on the streets.

Questions about street outreach?
Contact Outreach and Education Manager Ebony Harris at / 312.981.3567.

Group Volunteering
Want to volunteer with your workplace, church, or other social group?
Contact Community Partner Manager Jill Keiser at / 312.981.3590.

All volunteering at the Social Service Center is at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago.

Associates Board
The Chicago Lights Associates Board is a group of committed young adults across various industries who support the work of Chicago Lights and raise awareness throughout Chicago by engaging in volunteering, networking, and fundraising.
After tutoring with Chicago Lights, I joined the Associates Board because I wanted to find a way to make a bigger impact in my community, but I’ve found much more than that. I’ve gained a community of young professionals who are passionate about furthering Chicago Lights’ mission. Whether it’s putting together a large fundraising event or volunteering together on the weekend, we’re all here with the same mission of making Chicago a better place.

Taylor Wong, President, Chicago Lights Associates Board


Join the Chicago Lights Associates Board! Become a member, and you’ll help build brighter futures for 4,000 of our city’s youth and adults who face the challenges of poverty each year.
Our Associates Board hosts fun philanthropic events throughout the year to raise funds for Chicago Lights.
We further our impact by volunteering with Chicago Lights’ programs! You can serve as a one-to-one mentor at Chicago Lights Tutoring, attend a group volunteer day at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm, do street outreach with the Chicago Lights Social Service Center, and more.
Join Us
Attend a monthly meeting! First Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago.