Students Engaged Monthly


Total Service Hours

buildOn’s Service Learning Programs are an integral part of communities hit hardest by poverty and violence in Chicago, developing a resilient culture of service and education among the city’s youth.

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 has made national headlines in recent years. In 2016, more than 750 people were killed, resulting in the most violent year Chicago has seen in nearly two decades.

buildOn engages youth through programs in ten high schools, many of them situated in Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, such as Englewood, Garfield Park, and Austin. Students in these programs are striving to revive their troubled communities by advocating against violence in their communities, volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, preparing meals for homebound seniors, restoring local parks and mentoring the next generation of students.

Chicago Service Impact

buildOn students are transforming their city through service.

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

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    “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 Chicago Alum
    Learn more about Sheyla

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    “Not only am I an advocate for anti-violence in my school and to my peers, but I am an agent of change in my community. Communities can not change without the people inside of them lifting from within.”

    Michael Johnson, Orr Academy
    Learn more about Michael

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    “buildOn means family to me. buildOn means spreading joy. I feel really happy when I’m walking around my community and someone stops to say hi. It brightens my day to see someone who I know I’ve made an impact on.”

    Yoalix Melendez, Benito Juarez Community Academy
    Learn more about Yoalix

Where we work in Chicago

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

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student success stories, events and more.

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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 $36 provides a Chicago student with a week of buildOn service learning programs.

Learn more
Learn more about our programs
Contact Francisco Ramirez
Program Director, Chicago
312.441.6992  francisco.ramirez@buildon.org
Volunteer or support our programs
Contact Ryan Nishimoto
Development Director, Midwest
312.441.7880  ryan.nishimoto@buildon.org

Join Us