Volunteer at our Social Service Center this spring!

Get Involved

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


Due to COVID-19, volunteer opportunities are limited to protect the health and safety of our volunteers.

If you are volunteering in person with any Chicago Lights program, you are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Please send a copy of your vaccination certification card to vaxproof@fourthchurch.org by October 15, 2021. Medical records will be kept confidential, but if you have questions, please contact the program you are volunteering with.

Our typical volunteer opportunities are below. For more information, contact us at chicagolights@fourthchurch.org.


Volunteer with Chicago Lights and join a community that is helping build brighter futures.

Youth Programs


Chicago Lights Tutoring is beginning virtually this fall 2021. Become a virtual tutor and connect one-to-one with a student!

Due to COVID-19, Tutoring volunteer opportunities are limited to protect the health and safety of our volunteers.
For more information, contact Mark Dennison at mdennison@chicagolights.org.


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, 5:30–6:30 p.m.

Have a lasting impact by meeting with your student once a week, on the same day each week.

Arts & Enrichment Teacher, 4:30–5:30 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.


October 12, 2021–May 2022
Once a week: Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday

Tutoring is beginning virtually via Zoom this fall 2021 but typically is held at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago.

Questions? Contact Program Coordinator Mark Dennison at mdennison@chicagolights.org / 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 mdennison@chicagolights.org / 312.274.3828

Urban Farm

Get your hands dirty at our Urban Farm! Work side-by-side with our Urban Farm team to help cultivate over 6,000 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.

Register at the links below for orientation and community farm days.

What to Know before Volunteering at the Farm

  • Fourth Presbyterian Church and Chicago Lights instituted a policy requiring COVID vaccination for all paid staff. In alignment with that policy, we have decided to require that all volunteers serving in person must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

    If you are volunteering in person we ask that you please send a copy of your vaccination certification card to vaxproof@fourthchurch.org before you volunteer with us.

    Please be assured that this information—which will be received directly by our Human Resources Department—will be kept confidential and will only be used to verify your ability to volunteer with Chicago Lights. Volunteers can show a copy of their vax card with appropriate ID on arrival.

    Those who do not have a vaccination certification card on file indicating full vaccination against COVID-19 will not be able to volunteer in person.

  • 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.
  • Masks are optional; please do what makes you feel most comfortable.
  • 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).
  • 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 (bjaffe@chicagolights.org), immediately.
Individual Volunteering


New volunteers must attend an orientation.
Limited spots are available on certain Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m.

Volunteering: Community Farm Days

Spots are available on Wednesdays, 2:00-4:00 p.m. Please sign up only if you can stay the entire time as spots are limited.


Group Volunteering

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

To schedule your group (5–15 people), contact Associate Director Deja Stout at dstout@chicagolights.org.

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

Questions? Contact Deja Stout at dstout@chicagolights.org.

Social Services

Due to COVID-19, Social Service Center volunteer opportunities are limited. All volunteers must follow COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. For more information, contact Director Theresa Thornburg at tthornburg@chicagolights.org or 312.274.3826.

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


Food Pantry Shopping Aide
Temporarily on hold

Assist adults 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. Sign up here.

Share Shop Sorter/Aide
Temporarily on hold

Help sort, clean, and organize clothing donations for our Share Shop or assist adults during their appointments.

Questions about individual volunteering opportunities? Contact Director Theresa Thornburg at tthornburg@chicagolights.org or 312.274.3826.

Good Neighbors Field Outreach

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Wednesdays and Fridays, 12:00-1:00 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.

Group Volunteering

Temporarily on hold

Contact Community Partner Manager Jill Keiser at jkeiser@chicagolights.org / 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, Former 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!