Takayla

Volunteering as a mentor is a daunting prospect for most adults, and ending a match before its mutually agreed upon time may leave the child with a harmful sense of abandonment.

What questions should you ask as you look to take the leap of faith to volunteer? Here is some advice:

  • Decide if location matters. Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth supports several high-quality, Chicago-area programs, but the Serve Illinois website allows a potential mentor to search for mentoring and other programs across the state by zip code.
  • Think about how you envision being matched with a mentee:
    • Is your match elementary or high school age?
    • Are you willing to tutor as well as mentor a child?
    • How structured would you like your ongoing meetings to be?
    • Is faith an important part of your volunteer experience?

Do not be afraid to take things slow. Before agreeing to be a mentor, you can ask programs in which you are interested if they have any short-term volunteer opportunities.

Above all, enjoy the experience. Patrick M. Collins, partner with Perkins Coie and founder of Horizons for Youth, a local mentoring and scholarship program, once said:

A mentoring program embodies the paradox of service. When you extend a hand, the hand that comes to meet you strengthens both of you. Often times, the one who lent a hand gains more from the relationship.

Many of our grantee programs also offer short-term volunteer opportunities in addition to long-term mentoring.

LOCAL VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

All mentoring programs need a steady influx of volunteers. The programs listed below are funded (or have been previously funded) and supported by Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth. If you choose to devote the time, you may find the rewards of volunteering immeasurable.

If you are interested in volunteering with one of our supported programs, you may contact the program directly or contact Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth. Recognizing that becoming a mentor is a big commitment, Lend-A-Hand’s partner mentoring programs have also compiled a list of short-term volunteer opportunities. Some of those opportunties are one-time; some are recurring.

AMERICA NEEDS YOU (ANY)’s Fellow Program serves low-income, first generation college students. The Fellow Program pairs transformative mentoring with 28 intensive career development workshops during the fellows’ sophomore and junior years of college to ensure students maintain college enrollment, earn four-year degrees, and secure full-time employment within six months of graduation.

Contact
Tiffany McQueen
312.848.5744
tiffanymcqueen@americaneedsyou.org
Location
200 E. Randolph St.
Suite 63
Chicago, IL 60601
https://www.americaneedsyou.org/our-programs/illinois/

 

CHANGING LIFE EDUCATION INITATIVE, INC. has a dynamic tutoring and mentoring program that serves youth ages 6-18 in Englewood, Auburn Gresham, and Grand Boulevard. The program is a safe-haven for latch-key youth and provides one-on-one mentoring, fun activities, and academic support.

Contact
Audrey Johnson
773.633.2165
johnson.audrey100@gmail.com
Location
Carrie Jacobs Bond Elementary School
7050 S. May St.
Chicago, IL 60621
www.changinglifeinc.com

 

CHICAGO YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES INITIATIVE works with youth who are wards of the state. Their one-to-one mentoring program cultivates social, academic, and career skills through workshops, networking, discussions, community service activities, and group outings. CYOI pairs its youth with young professionals to work on a curriculum designed and directed by a Whitney Young High School teacher.

Contact
Brittiney Jones
734.330.9159
johnson.audrey100@gmail.com
Location
Lydia Home
4100 W Irving Park
Chicago, IL 60641
http://www.chicagoyoi.org

 

CHICAGO LAWNDALE AMACHI Mentoring Program (LAMP) is a community-based program that connects over 200 youth in North Lawndale with adult mentors, who provide academic, social, and developmental support. LAMP aims to break the cycle of generational incarceration, prevent school dropout, build problem-solving skills, and reduce recidivism by providing a safe and enriching environment to youth ages 4 to 18.

Contact
Leticia Robinson
773.521.9463
tisar87@gmail.com
Location
3508 W. Ogden Ave.
Chicago, IL 60623
http://www.chicagolamp.org/

 

CHILDREN’S HOME + AID DANIEL F. and ADA L. RICE CHILD + FAMILY CENTER, located in Evanston, offers residential treatment for children with mental health and behavioral problems due to traumatic abuse and neglect. An important service is its Rice Foster Friends Mentoring Program, which matches residents with long-term mentors.

Contact
Vera Junge
773.455.5222
vjunge@childrenshomeandaid.org
Location
1101 W. Washington St.
Evanston, IL 60202
http://www.childrenshomeandaid.org/

 

CLUSTER TUTORING provides one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to students in grades K-12th from the Austin community. The program has a focus on literacy. Elementary school students work on reading for 30 to 60 minutes a night with materials provided by Cluster, and older students spend most of their time on homework. Tutoring takes place in the evenings at a site in Austin on Tuesday and one in Oak Park on Thursday.

Contact
Kara Kalnitz
773.378.5530
kalnitzk@clustertutoring.org
Location
Tuesdays:
5460 W. Augusta Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60651
Thursdays:
848 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
http://www.clustertutoring.org/

 

HEARTLAND HUMAN CARE SERVICES‘ Refugee Youth Mentoring Program matches refugee youth ages 6-18 with trained and qualified mentors who provide guidance and support. Mentors and mentees meet at least twice a month, working towards the mentee’s goals and building healthy relationships.

Contact
Léa Tienou-Gustafson
773.728.5960, ext. 6306
ltienou@heartlandalliance.org
Location
4419 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
www.heartlandalliance.org/rics

 

INSPIRED YOUTH, INC. offers tutoring/mentoring to low-income, neighborhood children, K-12th grades, from Uptown/Edgewater/Albany Park/East Rogers Park on Mondays, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Wednesdays, 3:00-4:30 p.m., and Thursdays, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Contact
Beth Struck Palmer
773.561.4759
inspiredyouth2@gmail.com
Location
Bezazian Branch
Chicago Public Library
1226 W. Ainslie St.
Chicago, IL 60640
http://www.inspiredyouthchicago.org/

 

KELLY HALL YMCA‘s Mentoring Program provides one-on-one mentoring and tutoring for at-risk youths ages 6-18 in the West Humboldt Park community. Mentees meet for one hour weekly with their adult mentor for academic support, cultural enrichment, and guidance. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 2:00-8:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Contact
Kenneth Maddox
773.886.1220
Kenneth_Maddox@ymcachgo.org
Location
824 N. Hamlin
Chicago, IL 60651
http://www.ymcachgo.org/

 

LAUNCH U is a mentoring program that has one primary purpose — to help underserved youth achieve collegiate and career success. Mentors work directly with scholars on a one-to-one basis to help with all aspects of the college application process and preparation for post-secondary life.

Contact
Allison Foley
312.805.3198
alli@launchu.org
Location
416 W. Ontario, Unit C-2
Chicago, IL 60654
http://www.launchu.org/

 

LAWNDALE CHRISTIAN LEGAL CENTER provides holistic legal services, integrating legal representation and social services, for youth, age 24 and younger, in North Lawndale. One-on-one mentoring is a critical component of these wholistic legal services.

Contact
Margaret Waickman
773.762.6381
mwaickman@lclc.net
Location
1530 S. Hamlin Avenue
Chicago, IL 60623
http://www.lclc.net/

 

LIVINGWORKS HIGH SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAM works with 6th-8th grade students from Joyce Kilmer Elementary School to prepare them for success in high school. The program hopes to improve high school graduation rates and overall student academic performance. It draws on Loyola and DePaul universities to find young adult mentors with skills and interests similar to their mentees.

Contact
Katherine Vincent Lamb
513.255.0601
s.katherine.vincent@gmail.com
Location
6700 N. Greenview Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626
http://www.livingworkschicago.org

 

MINDS MATTER OF CHICAGO provides a mix of academic tutoring and mentoring in order to help inner-city high school students achieve academic excellence and expand their educational horizons. Tutors/mentors help their mentees prepare for college by navigating the financial aid process, improving grades and standardized test scores, and developing goals. Matches meet on Saturday at John Marshall Law School.

Contact
Kristen Siebert
314.369.7357
kesiebert@gmail.com
Location
P.O. Box 3149
Chicago, IL 60654
http://www.mindsmatterchicago.org/

 

PASSAGES ALTERNATIVE LIVING PROGRAMS INC. operates an individualized mentoring program for youth ages 6-18. Mentors provide weekly sessions with mentees for one to three hours. The objective of the program is to engage participants in interactive self-improvement and esteem building activities geared at avoiding anti-social and criminal behaviors.

Contact
Christine Smith
312.225.3800, ext. 32
csmith@passagesalt.org
Location
10 W. 35th St.
Chicago, IL 60616
http://www.passagesalt.org/

 

STRIVE TUTORING serves 1st-12th grade students in Hyde Park and Kenwood. Many of its tutors are from the University of Chicago. Strive focuses on academic enrichment and also encourages students to work with their hands in their on-site kitchen. It also offers a free summer program in July where students study math, language arts, nutrition, and history.

Contact
Angela Paranjape
773.268.4910
director@strivetutoring.org
Location
5001 S. Ellis Ave
Chicago, IL 60615
http://www.strivetutoring.org

 

YEAR UP CHICAGO (YUC) is a one-year intensive workforce development and education program for urban young adults from ages 18 to 24. Once accepted to the program, participants enter a 6-month long program Learning and Development phase, wherein they receive college-level training in IT, business communications, and professionalism. This is followed by a 6 month professional internship with a corporate partner, during which each participant is matched with a professional mentor to further their development.

Contact
Jenny Wolfe
312.982.8231
jwolfe@yearup.org
Location
223 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60606
http://www.chicagobhgh.org/

 

BOYS HOPE GIRLS HOPE (BHGH) helps academically capable and motivated children-in-need and at-risk from neighborhoods including Cabrini Green, Lawndale, Austin, and others on the south and west sides of Chicago. Student scholars are ages 13-18 in the BHGH residential program, and BHGH graduates attending college. The program is a mentoring and tutoring program.

Contact
Peter Beale-Delvecchio
847.920.2783
pdelvecchio@bhgh.org
Location
1100 Laramie Avenue
Wilmette, IL 60091
http://www.chicagobhgh.org/

 

BRIDGE YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES matches youth ages 7-15 one-on-one with a caring adult for at least one year, meeting two-four hours a week. The Bridge offers young people a healthy relationship in which they can develop strengths and skills to avoid high-risk behaviors such as alcohol/drug use, gang involvement, sexual activity, teen pregnancy, and school dropout.

Contact
Liz Dobrzynski
847.485.3061
ldobrzynski@bridgeyouth.org
Location
721 S. Quentin Road, Suite 103
Palatine, IL 60067
http://www.bridgeyouth.org/

 

CHICAGO LIGHTS TUTORING serves students in grades 1st-12th providing tutoring and mentoring on a weekly basis from October through May. The focus for younger students is on reading and math skills. While working on academic skills, older students also gain leadership skills, assistance in applying for college, and internship opportunities. The majority of students come from Chicago’s Near West and Near North neighborhoods. Students are also provided free transportation and a hot meal.

Contact
Fernie Tiflis
312.981.3381
ftiflis@fourthchurch.org
Location
126 E. Chestnut
Chicago, IL 60611
http://www.chicagolights.org/

 

CHICAGO SCHOLARS identifies energetic and promising students from almost every Chicago neighborhood who are determined to make the most of their college experience and provides them with programming, tools and mentoring to help them succeed; beginning with college choice and access and continuing through college graduation.

Contact
Brian Socall
312.784.3320
bsocall@chicagoscholars.org
Location
247 S. State Street, Suite 700
Chicago, IL 60604
http://www.chicagoscholars.org/

 

CHICAGO YOUTH PROGRAMS’ (CYP) Tutoring and Teen Tutoring Programs are outcome focused, tutoring and mentoring programs serving youth ages 13-16. CYP operates in three broad neighborhoods – Cabrini Green/Near North, Washington Park, and Uptown. (Lend-A-Hand funding supports the Washington Park program.)

Contacts
Monique Cook-Bey (Washington Park)
773.924.0220, ext. 123
washingtonpark@chicagoyouth.org
Location
5350 S. Prairie
Chicago, IL 60615
http://www.chicagoyouthprograms.org/

 

COLLEGE BOUND OPPORTUNITIES coaches economically disadvantaged students in north suburban Districts 113 & 115 on how to get into college, find financial aid, and graduate from college. Each CBO scholar is paired one-on-one with an adult mentor who works with them from junior year in high school through college graduation to achieve the student’s goals.

Contact
Susan Bell
847.943.9226
info@cbo4success.org
Location
2033 N. Milwaukee Ave., Suite 246
Riverwoods, IL 60015
http://www.cbo4edu.org/

 

ERIE NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE seeks volunteers for its “Tutoring to Educate on Aims and Motivation (TEAM)” program which matches volunteers with 8th-12th grade students to focus on a mix of academic tutoring and mentoring that helps students transition to high school and college.

Contact
Rosalba Castrejon
312.432.2282
rcastrejon@eriehouse.org
Location
1701 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60622
http://www.eriehouse.org/

 

FAMILY MATTERS‘ Community Tutoring program offers tutor-mentoring activities after school to students (grades K-12th) in the North of Howard/Rogers Park community. Students and tutors commit to working together for an academic year. In addition to academic support, students gain tools to be their own educational advocates and make healthy academic choices.

 

Contact
Brooke Turner
773.465.6011 x123
brooke@familymatterschicago.org
Location
1701 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60622
http://www.eriehouse.org/

 

GADS HILL CENTER partners with Orozco Community Academy to offer the New Horizons mentoring program. The program provides one-to-one mentoring relationships for at-risk 6-8th graders. Gads Hill is currently developing a partnership with Finkl Elementary School to pilot a new, school-based cohort and maximize program impact in Chicago’s Pilsen community.

Contact
312.226.0963 ext. 240
info@gadshillcenter.org
Location
1919 W. Cullerton St.
Chicago, IL 60608
www.gadshillcenter.org

 

HORIZONS FOR YOUTH is a community organization committed to helping low-income, Chicago children recognize and achieve their full potential. Horizons works with students as early as kindergarten through high school graduation offering them an array of support services including: scholarships, mentoring, tutoring, summer academic programs, and monthly enrichment outings.

Contact
Brian Broccolo
312.627.9031
brian@horizons-for-youth.org
Location
703 W. Monroe
Chicago, IL 60661
http://www.horizons-for-youth.org/

 

LIFE DIRECTIONS‘ Peer Mentor Program (PMP) serves CPS students, ages 13-18, targeting underserved youth attending Farragut and Community Links High Schools to make college or a quality career a viable option.

Contact
Van Bensett
773.265.5806
vanb@lifedirections.org
Location
Community Links H.S.
2400 S. Marshall
Chicago, IL 60623
Farragut H.S
2345 S. Christiana
Chicago, IL 60623
http://www.lifedirections.org/

 

LINK UNLIMITED, Chicago’s most experienced African-American high school mentoring and scholarship programs, brings together the comprehensive resources required to shape high potential youth from underserved neighborhoods into academic achievers and life-long community leaders.

Contact
Dr. Rosalind Blasingame-Buford
312.225.5465 ext 12
rbuford@linkunlimited.org
Location
2221 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60657
http://www.linkunlimited.org/

 

McGAW YMCA’s Project SOAR mentors children in grades 4th-8th from the Evanston community. Hours and locations vary. SOAR’s purpose is to enrich the life of individual Evanston youth.

Contact
Jace Smith
847.475.7400, ext. 218
jaces@mcgawymca.org
Location
1000 Grove Street
Evanston, IL 60201
http://www.mcgawymca.org/

 

METROPOLITAN FAMILY SERVICES, DUPAGE‘s MetroMentors is a youth mentoring program provided in partnership with schools and community organizations in DuPage County. Screened and trained adult mentors are matched one-to-one with at-risk youth ages 7-14. Occasional group activities are held to facilitate social skills development for youth.

Contact
Marsha Lightfoot-Ndoko
630.784.4836
ndokom@metrofamily.org
Location
222 E. Willow Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187
www.metrofamily.org/metromentors

 

THE MIDTOWN EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION (MEF) provides one-on-one weekly tutoring/mentoring sessions for inner-city students in grades 4th – 6th and weekly academic classes and one-on-one mentoring for grades 7th – 12th. MEF’s mix of academic and character education helps at-risk students enroll in college at nearly five-times the rate of their peers nationwide.

Contact
Carolyn Madigan
312.226.4886, ext. 232
cmadigan@midtown-metro.org
Location
718 S. Loomis St.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://www.midtown-metro.org/

 

The PARTNERSHIP TO EDUCATE & ADVANCE KIDS (PEAK) provides mentoring services and scholarships for at-risk high school students to attend Holy Trinity High School. Mentors commit to mentoring a student for their four years of high school, to meet and communicate monthly, and to attend coordinated PEAK student/mentor events.

Contact
Shawnee Bernstein
773.235.8003
sbernstein@peakchicago.org
Location
1658 N. Milwaukee, Number 301
Chicago, IL 60647
http://www.peakchicago.org/

 

PENEDO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION‘s program is designed to support not only the long-term achievement but also the social and emotional growth of its students. Each year, the program enrolls ten at-risk 6th grade girls and guides them through a tutoring and mentoring program that provides sustained intervention and resources throughout their middle school, high school, and post-secondary education.

Contact
Nely Bergsma
312.340.4776
pco@spced.com
Location
Unity Lutheran Church
1212 West Balmoral Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
http://www.penedocharitable.com/

 

TUTORING CHICAGO helps economically disadvantaged students succeed in elementary school and beyond. The program pairs students with volunteer adult tutors and provides educational and life skill resources.

Contact
Bradley Troast
312.397.9119
btroast@chicagotutoring.org
Location
2145 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
http://www.cabrinigreentutoring.org/

 

UCAN‘s Mentor and Volunteer Program pairs the talents and interest of responsible men and women with youth, aged 12-19, who are in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services. The program helps young people build positive relationships with adults and broadens a child’s social and cultural experiences.

Contact
Nichelle Simmons
773.290.5888
nichelle.simmons@ucanchicago.org
Location
3737 N. Mozart
Chicago, IL 60618
http://www.ucanchicago.org/

 

WORKING IN THE SCHOOLS (WITS) increases the reading proficiency and learning capacity of low-income and minority students in the Chicago Public Schools. WITS recruits and supports dedicated business, university, government, and community volunteers who deliver measurable and consistent tutoring and mentoring services within five unique programs reaching students from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.

Contact
Maria Villarreal
312.269.4514
mariav@witschicago.org
Location
641 W Lake Street #200
Chicago, IL 60661
http://www.witschicago.org/

 

YOUTH UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION’s (Y.O.U.) is a mentoring program designed to reduce delinquency, violence, and gang involvement through comprehensive positive youth development services and structured mentoring opportunities. Mentor Y.O.U.th provides opportunities for vulnerable youth, ages 11-18, in Evanston and Skokie to develop long-term, positive relationships with community volunteers.

Contact
Tori Robbins
847.866.1200 ext. 300
trobbin@youthopportunity.org
Location
1027 Sherman Ave.
Evanston, IL 60202
http://www.youevanston.com/

 

For other volunteer opportunities, you may want to research the following resources:

daisyMENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership http://www.mentoring.org/
daisyServe Illinois – Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service http://www.serve.illinois.gov/