Afterschool Service


buildOn H.S. seniors graduate andgo on to college


Hours of Service

buildOn’s youth service programs engage students in challenging urban areas and show them the limitless power they can achieve through community action.

Our staff members run intensive afterschool service programs at 62 high schools in six US regions: Chicago, Detroit, New York, Oakland/San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Southern Connecticut.

In each of these programs, youth contribute intensive local service – helping the homeless, seniors and children in their communities – to confront urban struggles with passion and optimism.

Our students don’t want to escape their inner-city environments but lift them up, and elevate the expectations they have for their neighborhoods and themselves.

buildOn students miss 60% fewer days of school than their peers, and 94% of our graduating seniors have gone on to college since the year 2000. buildOn Afterschool Service Programs is actively inspiring leaders who believe that service will change the world.

The three core activities within
buildOn Afterschool Service programs:


Service Photo

Every week in every region, buildOn youth service program members contribute hundreds of service hours, whether in small, intimate groups or larger region-wide events that attract hundreds of dedicated teens.

Our students rediscover their neighborhoods through projects like these:

  • Tutoring elementary school students
  • Volunteering at senior centers
  • Serving meals at soup kitchens and homeless shelters
  • Renovating community centers
  • Environmental restoration and clean-up projects
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Community and Global Education


Through buildOn service-learning, post-service reflection, and global education curriculum, program members develop an understanding of issues facing their local and global communities.

Community and Global Education activities expose students to issues relevant to the countries where we build schools.

Many teens see similarities between their own urban struggles and the hardships faced by people in developing countries, and they are inspired by stories of passion, art, and action overseas.

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“When they give back to other people, they see the power within themselves to make a difference in their world.”

- Madeline Rios, Assistant Principal Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics

Building Schools


Every year, select students and teachers from each afterschool program help construct a school in a remote village with buildOn. Many of the students who participate have never been outside of their neighborhoods before journeying to the mountains of Nepal, or the earthquake ravaged landscape of Haiti, or the rainforests of Nicaragua.

During the trip, they live with a host family and experience the simplicity and roughness of life in a developing nation without resources like running water or electricity. They mix concrete, make bricks and form walls by hand alongside villagers, immersing themselves in the difficult labor of construction.

Being welcomed into a community thousands of miles from the cities of the United States and into the home of a village family changes the way our students see the world, and themselves. They return to their own schools understanding the value of their own academic opportunities and the importance of community outreach.

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