Service Learning Community Partners

Community organizations and agencies play an integral role in the Service Learning experience. They are co-educators with specific expertise in the issues related to their organizations and in most cases the communities they serve. Service Learning Community Partners are useful to every stage of Service Learning .

Partners can assist in the preparation stage by deepening student’s knowledge of issues, they can serve as a hub where the actual action takes place and they can facilitate discussions that allow students to merge course content with their service experience.


Service Learning Community Partners

Community organizations and agencies play an integral role in the service learning experience. They are co-educators with specific expertise in the issues related to their organizations and in most cases the communities they serve. service learning Community Partners are useful to every stage of service learning.

Partners can assist in the preparation stage by deepening student’s knowledge of issues, they can serve as a hub where the actual action takes place and they can facilitate discussions that allow students to merge course content with their service experience


service learning Community Partners are community organizations that provide civic action and service learning opportunities for classroom-integrated or individual service learning projects for Chicago Public Schools. service learning Community Partners provide project opportunities that meet the preparation, action and reflection criteria for service learning. Partners should complete the partner process and obtain certified approval status with the Department of Social Science & Civic Engagement .


  • Active Transportation Alliance

    Meaghan Lyons,

    The mission of Active Transportation Alliance is to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift towards clean, active travel. They would like to develop MB Bike The Drive into a large service learning opportunity.

  • Adler Planetarium

    Jennifer Bundy,

    The mission of the Adler Planetarium is to inspire exploration and understanding of our Universe. Adler Teen programs create experiences enabling youth participants to build and engage in a STEM community.

  • Alliance for the Great Lakes

    Katie Larson,

    To conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife.

  • Allowance for Good

    Karin Scott,

    Allowance for Good (AfG) develops the rising generations of philanthropic leaders who cultivate global citizenship and empower others around the world to achieve their full potential. We educate and engage youth ages 13-18 in topics such as philanthropy, leadership development, and social entrepreneurship in order to create successful 21st century global citizens.

  • Art Institute of Chicago

    Hillary Cook,

    The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world’s diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public. We ask youth to research and vision for their time in the program and to set goals for what they want to achieve and how they want to have impact on the museum, their peer youth communities, and themselves.

  • Autism Speaks

    Tamara Golden,

    At Autism Speaks, our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with an autism spectrum disorder.   We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a possible cure for autism. We strive to raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society. Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen to our concerns and take action.

  • Black Metropolis Convention and Tourism Council

    Harold L. Lucas,

    BMC&TC mission is to help create African American heritage tourism attractions and destination, in underserved communities through the State of Illinois. We do this by going into Bronzeville elementary schools and teaching the children about their authentic African American cultural heritage and how to utilize their heritage as a tool to break the cycle of poverty by creating revenue generating projects run by the students.

  • Center for College Access and Success of Northeastern Illinois University

    Aaron Cortes,

    Northeastern Illinois University's Center for College Access and Success (CCAS@NEIU) is the largest school improvement organization in Chicago. Founded in 1978, we develop collaborative partnerships that engage the entire community to help students succeed academically and socially. Through these partnerships we seek to address real needs and improve educational equity and excellence.

  • Center for College Access and Success of Northeastern Illinois University

    Aaron Cortes,

    Northeastern Illinois University's Center for College Access and Success (CCAS@NEIU) is the largest school improvement organization in Chicago. Founded in 1978, we develop collaborative partnerships that engage the entire community to help students succeed academically and socially. Through these partnerships we seek to address real needs and improve educational equity and excellence.

  • Chicago Botanic Garden

    Amaris Alanis Ribeiro,

    We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Students that participate in Science First and College First will learn about projects they can do in the in their neighborhood or school. They will be exposed to the background content, lab and library resources, as well as experts.

  • Chicago Cares, Inc.

    Nancy  Plaskett,

    Chicago Cares creates volunteer experiences that connect people and communities to meet critical needs and build a stronger Chicago. We create programming from the ground up for more than 200 schools, parks, and nonprofits. We offer a channel for long-term change and empower people to connect, lead, and transform.

  • Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

    Hannah Willage,

    We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness, because we believe housing is a human right in a just society.

  • Chicago Freedom School

    Naomi Milstein,

    The mission of the Chicago Freedom School is to create new generations of critical thinking young people who use their unique experiences and power to create a just world.  We provide trainings and workshops that build knowledge and skills to address issues of social justice.

  • Chicago HOPES for Kids

    Patricia Rivera,

    Chicago HOPES for Kids provides after-school tutoring and literacy mentoring 4 days per week to elementary school children living in homeless shelters in Chicago.  Our goal is to help the children succeed in school despite the challenges of homelessness.

  • Chicago Ideas Week

    Rachel Graham,

    Created by Chicago Ideas Week, CIW YOU(th) is a dynamic program that provides approximately 500 Chicago High School Students in grades 9 through 12 with the opportunity to connect with the city's most influential leaders, CIW speakers, their peers and the broader community. Students will be inspired by hands-on experiences across the city through CIW Labs, attendance at CIW Talks and active participation throughout all CIW events. Access to CIW YOU(th) programming will empower students to seek new opportunities, pursue their passions and walk away with a newly inspired outlook on their own potential.

  • Chicago Oxfam Action Corps

    Kathryn Sokolowski,

    Oxfam Action Corps is a grassroots effort to stand up to poverty, hunger, and injustice around the world—starting right in your community. The Action Corps is a group of trained grassroots advocates in 14 US cities who organize with other local volunteers in support of Oxfam's campaigns for policies that will save lives, defend rights of women and farmers, and protect communities worldwide from rising food prices and climate change.

  • Chicago Park District Natural Areas

    Forrest Cortes,

    The Community Stewardship Program connects neighboring communities to volunteer opportunities at local Natural Areas in order to inspire investment and care of these shared spaces.

  • Chicago Park District Natural Areas

    Forrest Cortes,

    The Community Stewardship Program connects neighboring communities to volunteer opportunities at local Natural Areas in order to inspire investment and care of these shared spaces.

  • Chicago Public Library

    Jennifer Steele,

    We welcome and support all people in their enjoyment of reading and pursuit of lifelong learning. Working together, we strive to provide equal access to information, ideas and knowledge through books, programs and other resources. We believe in the freedom to read, to learn, to discover. Teen Advisory Council members along with Teen Branding Team participants will engage in deep research, survey development and distribution, investigation, and strategic planning, to understand the teen audience, literary communities, potential sponsors, and more to gain intuitive and documented insights into what will make a successful city-wide youth-led event.

  • Chicago Votes

    Rudy Garret,

    We believe in the potential of our generation to use organizing and advocacy to change politics as usual. We have a deep sense of community and have a higher rate of volunteerism than any generation before us. The Chicago Votes Action Fund aims to channel these fundamental qualities into the local electoral process. We’re creating young people power that allows us to work for the issues that matter to us.

  • Common Cause IL

    Trevor Gervais,

    Common Cause Illinois is a nonpartisan, political advocacy group dedicated to promoting open, ethical, and accountable government on the local and state level. Currently CCIL is working on passing Automatic Voter registration on the state level as well as instituting a public campaign financing program in Chicago.

  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago

    Gerald Hankerson,

    Defending civil rights. Fighting bigotry.  Promoting tolerance. Our office conducts presentations and interactive workshops that aims to educate and bring awareness to issues affecting the Muslim American community.

  • East Village Youth Program

    Jenn Romero,

    For over 25 years EVYP has provided high-quality college resource and support services to low-income, primarily Latino youth. Our mission is to encourage and prepare underserved youth for college and career success by increasing the probability that participants will enroll in a four-year college or university and graduate. EVYP provides college readiness and support services to more than 850 students and their families.

  • Family Matters

    Devon Lovell,

    Family Matters is founded upon three guiding tenets which provide for

    1. a method of thinking and being that opens pathways to encouraging possibilities;

    2. an approach to resolving conflicts that fosters both harmony and new beginnings, and

    3. a reframing of consequences as opportunities for learning and growth.

    These principles operate within all of Family Matters’ programs and yield strong relationships, meaningful communication, and empowering environments – foundations upon which personal and collective achievement can unfold.

  • Forest Preserves of Cook County Volunteer Resource Center

    Kevin Kuhn,

    The Forest Preserves of Cook County Volunteer Resource Center  staff will work with any CPS staff to prepare students for a quality outdoor environmental service learning project.

  • Free the Children

    Caitlin Botsios,

    We empower people to change the world, locally and globally, achieving transformative outcomes for themselves and others.  The We Schools Program is a year- long educational program that nurtures compassion while developing skills for success academically, in the workplace, and as active citizens through service-based learning.

  • Friends of the Chicago River

    Mark Hauser,

    The mission of Friends of the Chicago River is to improve and protect the Chicago River system for people, plants, and animals. Our vision is making the Chicago River one of the world's greatest metropolitan rivers.

  • Friends of the Forest Preserves

    Ilana Federman,

    Friends of the Forest Preserves works to protect, restore and promote the 69,000 acres of forest preserves in Cook County for the benefit of people and nature. The 2,000 members of Friends do this through advocacy, ecological restoration, community outreach, and paid internships for high school students and young adults.

  • Global Glimpse

    Morgan Aycox,

    Global Glimpse is an innovative non-profit that works to inspire America's next generation to become responsible global citizens through after-school programming and immersion in the developing world We are committed to serving youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • Good News Partners

    Peter Horth,

    Our mission is to end homelessness and hopelessness with everyone we meet.

  • Grand Crossing Park Advisory Council

    CeCe Edwards,

    To advocate for quality of life improvements and activities for our youth, seniors and patrons at Grand Crossing Park in partnership with Chicago Park District.

  • Hostelling International Chicago

    Anna Lucas Marin,

    To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people, through hostelling.

  • Illinois Security Department

    Ronetta DeWitt-Hall,

    The Securities Department is responsible for the regulation of the securities industry in Illinois and protection of investors by ensuring compliance with the law and investigating any complaints of fraud or improper practices. The Illinois Securities Department has made investor education a top priority.  It is the goal of the Department to inform and educate all Illinois investors.

  • Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program

    Charles Lindquist,

    The Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program is a two-year academic enrichment program for high-achieving Chicago-area teens. We seek to inspire students to serve and lead their communities through STEM and to pursue higher education.

  • KidKnits

    Steve Zika,

    Founded by a nine-year old knitter, KidKnits directly imports handspun yarn from women living in poverty in developing countries and offers a curriculum and simple knitting kit to empower students to directly impact the lives of these women. Students then impact local communities through the donation of their finished hats.

  • Kuumba Lynx

    Kiela McNair,

    Kuumba Lynx is committed to the lives of youth using urban art and performance to cultivate strong communities built on a foundation of love.

  • Lead2Feed Student Leadership Program

    Debby Dodge,

    The Lead2Feed student leadership program is the nation’s leading and fastest growing free service learning program, attracting more than a million students in 3,500 schools and clubs across all 50 states. Aligned to standards and 21st century skills, Lead2Feed is making a huge difference in participants’ lives and the programs they create.  Enter student projects and win up to $25,000 for your charity AND up to $25,000 in technology products for your school.

  • Lincoln Park Community Shelter

    Fawn O'Brien,

    The Lincoln Park Community Shelter brings communities together to empower homeless men and women to make and sustain life changes.

  • Maker MOB

    C. Meghan Hausman,

    The Maker MOB aims to reach families unfamiliar with the maker movement to create a community of makers in communities underrepresented in the STEM fields using students and Chicago institutions to lad STEM activities at neighborhood events.

  • Mentorship Institute

    Darryl E. Allen,

    We change lives by facilitating community learning projects.  The Mentorship Institute provides formal project-management and leadership training for professional staff, while high school participants are taking separate courses in college readiness, workforce development, and interpersonal skills. The two groups are paired to complete service projects.

  • Mikva Challenge

    Jill Bass,

    Mikva Challenge develops youth to be informed, empowered, and active citizens and community leaders.  We do this by engaging youth in action civics, an authentic and transformative learning process built on youth voice and youth expertise.

  • Navona Ovarian Cancer Coalition

    Karen Young,

    The mission of the NOCC is to save lives by fighting tirelessly to prevent and cure ovarian cancer, and to improve the quality of life for survivors. Through local Chapter initiatives, the NOCC's goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer, provide information to assist the newly diagnosed patient, and to provide hope to survivors.

  • ONE

    David Combs,

    ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, because the facts show extreme poverty has already been cut by 60% and can be virtually eliminated by 2030, but only if we act with urgency now.

  • Openlands

    Breana Winters,

    Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.

  • Park Manor Elementary School Alumni Association

    Joycella A. Omerey,

    The Mission of the PMAA is to promote and foster a spirit of excellence, through our service as ambassadors for the Students, the Principal, the School and the Park Manor Community; providing wisdom, experience, stewardship, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

  • Providence Family Services

    Virginia Jung,

    Providence Family Services was established to provide services to those living in West Humboldt Park and surrounding areas of Chicago. Established on Christian values, it provides support and direction in assisting individuals, couples, and families to make changes that will allow them to achieve wholeness and an awareness of their personal gifts.

  • Student Conservation Association

    Lynne Mecum,

    SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

  • Terra Firm

    Terra Murray,

    Terra Firm is dedicated to empowering communities and improving the quality of life through providing outstanding and accessible health and wellness programs.

  • The Anti-Cruelty Society

    Michael Garrity,

    To build a community of caring by helping pets and educating people. All of our on- and off-site Humane Education Programs expand upon the general ideas of proper pet care and respect for life that we try to instill though our service learning projects.

  • The Chicago Park District

    Adriane Clomax,

    As a Teens in the Park intern, students will have an active role in planning Chicago’s park district's teen music festival. Students will join our team to create a complete experience. Candidates must have strong communication and leadership capabilities. We are looking for a number of candidates with experience in graphic design and web development to act as junior social network managers in campaigning for teens in Chicago.

  • The Field Museum

    Aasia Castaneda,

    The Roots & Routes (R&R) Initiative is a shared vision of a healthy urban green space and collaborative programming that will inspire and educate neighbors of the Burnham Wildlife Corridor (BWC). The Chicago Teen Environmental Committee (CTEC) project is under the R&R umbrella and is tasked specifically to work with high school students on stewardship and environmental/community action-based research.

  • The Kitchen Community

    Stephanie Kichler,

    At The Kitchen Community, our mission is to create community through food. Through two modules: learn and prep, students will dive into understanding the value of their Learning Garden.

  • The People’s Music School

    Sarah Morrow,

    Our mission is to deliver access to the benefits of high-quality, tuition-free music education. Through intensive instruction and performance, our students achieve excellence in music that transfers to other areas in life. They grow musically, socially, emotionally and intellectually, and develop a foundation of responsibility, self-esteem, resilience and purpose.

  • The Philanthropy Project

    Brooke Hill,

    The Philanthropy Project online platform supports students in creating their own service campaigns, while leading them through the Five Stages of Service Learning. Students gain valuable skills and learn how to become advocates for a cause they care about. Educators have confidence that students are engaging in meaningful service learning experiences. Participation is a win-win for everyone involved!

  • the VING project

    Jill McClain,

    The VING project is a national movement sparking the next generation of givers. Backed by an anonymous family in Chicago that believes in the spirit of giving, teens have an opportunity to give an individual in need an encouraging boost by surprising them with $1,000.

  • Tree House Humane Society

    Leona Sepulveda Less,

    Tree House is a humane organization that promotes the inherent value of every animal, with a focus on the care and placement of stray cats with special physical and emotional needs. We are committed to being innovative with our approach to creating a more humane community and believe in the power of education to empower individuals and transform communities.

  • Turning the Page

    Kylia Kummer,

    Turning the Page's mission is to link public schools, families and our community so that, together, we can ensure students receive valuable educational resources and a high-quality public education.

  • U.S Fund for UNICEF

    Whitney Cross,

    The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work, and other efforts in support of the world's children, through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. UNICEF does whatever it takes to save and protect the world's most vulnerable children. Forty years ago, UNICEF figured out that promoting simple, low-cost interventions like hand washing and breastfeeding could save millions of lives. Undaunted by war or geography, UNICEF delivers.

  • University of Illinois Extension

    Maria E. Gutierrez,

    The mission of University of Illinois Extension is “to enable people to improve their lives and communities through learning partnerships that put knowledge to work.” We offer interdisciplinary programs to address Cook County's most critical issues.  Extension teams work together with focus and commitment.

  • Yollocalli Arts Reach of the National Museum of Mexican Art

    Vanessa Sanchez,

    Yollocalli Arts Reach is a youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art. Our mission is to create an experiential learning environment that encourages youth autonomy through a progressive dialogue in urban and youth culture.

  • Youth Health Leadership Corp (CCHE)

    Denise Holman,

    CCHE seeks to eliminate new HIV transmission events over the next 30 years (from 2011 to 2041) by using network science to target and integrate prevention as well as create structural and community-specific interventions.

Community organizations interested in becoming a service learning Community Partner with Chicago Public Schools should complete the following steps:

  • Complete service learning Community Partner Application.

  • Attend CPS Civic Engagement & service learning Community Partner Orientation.  

  • The Department of Social Science & Civic Engagement will award certified community partner status to organizations that (1) complete the application, (2) attend orientation and (3) demonstrate academic enrichment and contribution to the common good through service learning projects.

  • Partners will receive a letter indicating if they have been awarded certified partner status.

  • Approved service learning Community Partners will be added to a list of certified partners that will be published online at and shared with service learning Coaches and teachers throughout the district.

Historically, CPS has worked with community partners to support service learning and we value the relationships that we have developed over the past 15 years. To strengthen service learning practice across the district and expand service through civic action and advocacy, the partner process was established to better facilitate the relationship between community organizations and schools, we invite community partners to help us achieve district goals and priorities and ensure that project opportunities meet service learning criteria.

This process intends to support teachers by providing a list of vetted partners that can support classroom-integrated service learning projects. This process also assists students who are looking for out-of-school opportunities for civic action and service learning.

For more information contact Lauren M. Woods, service learning Coordinator,, 773-553-6108 or visit our website,

Page Last Modified on Thursday, March 22, 2018