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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 Service Learning 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 engages youth through programs in eleven 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 communities by volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, preparing meals for homebound seniors, and restoring local parks.
“My neighborhood’s not bad, and people shouldn’t judge it just because of what it looks like. Everyone who lives here isn’t a gang banger. By serving in my community I get to prove that.”
Cynthia Romero, Gage Park High School
Read Cynthia's Story
“Although reducing poverty is a difficult task, I believe buildOn students can greatly reduce these statistics.”
Carlos Leon, Carl Schurz High School
Read Carlos' Story
“buildOn has provided me with the knowledge that it’s okay to be a different person, it’s shown me that it’s not just men of color who struggle with being streotyped. I can rise above the low expectations that people have of me.”
Michael Madkins, Prosser Career Academy