buildOn in Chicago

Throughout Chicago, hundreds of thousands of high school students are at risk of dropping out of school and engaging in unsafe activities. The city’s epidemic of gun violence makes finding solutions more urgent than ever. buildOn’s Afterschool Program develops a deep culture of service within Chicago schools to increase civic and academic engagement among youth.

Drop-out rates have remained staggeringly high in Chicago for decades. According to studies by the University of Chicago, only half of the city’s high school students have received diplomas over the last three decades.

buildOn runs 33 programs in 13 high schools, many of them situated in Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, like Englewood, Garfield Park, and Gage Park. Students in these programs are striving to revive their troubled districts by volunteering at senior centers, working in urban greenhouses, and restoring local parks, among other initiatives.

buildOn students in Chicago have contributed more than 227,375 hours of service back to their communities, and are adding hundreds more hours every week.

Contact Us!

To learn more about our programs in Chicago contact Paul Boye, Chicago Regional Manager at 312-441-6718 or

To volunteer or support our programs locally, please contact Michelle Mirzioan, Director of Development at 312-441-7108 or


Students Engaged Monthly


Total Service Hours

“buildOn opened my eyes to how I see the world, I feel there is endless possibility of what I can do.”

– Alejandro Garcia

Alejandro Garcia was was shot by “gangbangers” one night while walking home in his neighborhood, Chicago’s Albany Park, in 2010. People from a nearby house ran over to him, called 911 and assured him that everything was going to be okay.

After a year he was able to walk again – and a seed was planted inside him; he wanted to give something back to society, like so many of the doctors who helped him and the neighbors who came to his rescue. That seed grew with buildOn.

Read more about Alejandro’s story

Explore BuildOn In Chicago

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