Empowering Chicago’s Youth

Chicago Lights offers comprehensive programming for youth to help them unleash their potential—because all children deserve a bright future.
See all programs
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Our educational and creative programs connect youth with the tools they need to succeed.

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Supporting academic
and personal growth

440+ students from under-resourced neighborhoods are paired one-to-one with caring volunteer mentors to foster students’ academic and personal growth.

I wouldn’t be here without my mentor Liz’s love and support.
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Xavier, 2015 Tutoring alumnus, was paired with his mentor, Liz, when he was in third grade. Twelve years later, he’s a senior at Albion College studying public policy and plans to attend law school.

Summer Day
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Promoting dynamic summer learning and enrichment

Summer Day keeps 125 students engaged each summer through six weeks of academic, arts, and enrichment programming.

I definitely think Chicago Lights gave me an advantage when entering the workforce. People always comment on my professionalism and interviewing skills.
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Pierre first came to Summer Day as a shy twelve-year-old, but over the years, he gained confidence and his talent for acting began to shine through. He graduated from Millikin University with a theater degree and is now giving back to the community as co-founder of the CornerStore Chicago, connecting youth to accessible mental health resources and creative arts outlets.

Urban Farm
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Growing food, community, and job skills

Students and young adults gain on-site job skills through urban farming—setting them up for success as they pursue fulfilling careers.

I have a passion for food and farming, and the internship at the Urban Farm helped me pursue a career in both.
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Marlon came to the Urban Farm after rehabilitating from a gunshot wound and was ready to make changes in his life. After working as an Assistant Grower intern at our Urban Farm, he was hired at the Stein Learning Gardens at St. Sabina, where he helps provide education and community programs for residents of the South Side Gresham neighborhood.

Dance Academy
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Building confidence and creativity through movement

More than 1,500 students receive dance instruction at our 5 partner schools to support their academic and personal growth.

This is a safe space. I don’t have to be scared to be who I am.
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Nita got involved with the Dance Academy after her elementary school closed and she lost the opportunity to take dance as part of her school day. She says her classes with Chicago Lights have filled that void and then some.

Make a difference
with Chicago Lights.

Volunteers make our life-changing work possible and help our students thrive.


Build brighter futures. Change lives. Volunteer with Chicago Lights!

Get Involved

Invest in changing lives with us.


Every dollar you give goes directly toward empowering youth in need.

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