Students Engaged Monthly


Total Service Hours

buildOn’s Service Learning Program develops a deep culture of service within Chicago schools and increases civic and academic engagement among students.

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.

Chicago Service Impact

buildOn students are making an impact serving Chicago.

Meet some of the Chicago students we're empowering to serve.

  • Cynthia thumb

    “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

  • carlos-thumb

    “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

  • Michael_Tetsimonial

    “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

Where we work in Chicago

We’re making a difference in some of Chicago’s most challenged schools:

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How You Can Help

Take an active role in ending the education crisis in Chicago

Fundraise for Chicago Programs

Use your creativity to raise awareness of the education crisis in Chicago and fundraise to help end it. Your support for service learning programs makes a difference for local students.

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Donate to Chicago Programs

Your donation can help a Chicago student become a leader in her urban community. Just $20 provides a Chicago student with a week of buildOn service learning programs.

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Learn more about our programs
Contact Francisco Ramirez
Illinois Regional Manager
765.404.8238  francisco.ramirez@buildon.org
Volunteer or support our programs
Contact Ryan Nishimoto
Development Director, Midwest
312.441.7880  ryan.nishimoto@buildon.org

Join Us