buildOn U.S.

Youth Empowered by Service

Through our Service Learning Programs, students in some of America’s most under-resourced high schools are empowered to take on the most pressing issues in our communities through direct action. By helping seniors, the unhoused, and younger kids, buildOn students learn to lead by first learning how to serve.

Building Constructive Leaders

The world is changing. And what it means to be a leader is changing, too. That’s why buildOn empowers youth from some of America’s most under-resourced high schools to build solidarity through service and make the world a better place for all. We call this Constructive Leadership. buildOn students are taught to lead, first by learning to serve, unleashing courage, resilience, empathy and a passion for the possible, to build solidarity.

Where We Work

buildOn’s Service Learning Programs engage students from 30 underserved high schools in six cities throughout the United States.


Chicago’s buildOn students are taking on the city’s most pressing issues by advocating against violence, volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and mentoring younger kids.

The Facts


students currently engaged


service hours to date

buildOn has given me a chance to embrace who I am. It has filled me with compassion and empathy for others. It has focused my energy on being in the service of those around me.

Sheyla Ocampo / buildOn Alumna – Chicago, IL

Learn More About Chicago Programs

Aled Hollingworth
VP of Development

Stay connected to the buildOn movement

Our Service Methodology

Service is at the core of our mission. Students in buildOn’s programs contribute meaningful service to their communities on a weekly basis—helping the unhoused, senior citizens, and younger children in need.

Direct Service
From serving meals in soup kitchens, to tutoring elementary school students, and spending quality time with senior citizens, buildOn’s Service Learning Programs connect students directly to their community members who are most in need. Seventy-five percent of all buildOn service activities are dedicated to direct, people-to-people service.


Creating Lasting Change


Hours served by U.S. students


Students active in buildOn service programs


of students graduate high school