Chicago Lights’ Tutoring Program began in 1964. Students begin the program in first grade and go through ninth grade. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHICAGO LIGHTS.
Chicago Lights’ Tutoring Program began in 1964. Students begin the program in first grade and go through ninth grade. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHICAGO LIGHTS.

 The Chicago Lights’ tutoring program helps students


The Chicago Lights’, a one-on-one tutoring program has returned in-person this year for the first time in two years. Chicago Lights’ is the nonprofit organization at Fourth Presbyterian Church, located at 126 E. Chestnut St. The tutoring program began in 1964 as a way to provide support to students who needed help North, West and South sides of the city. Each year, between 300-400 students are serviced. Each student is matched with a

Chicago Lights’ takes a holistic approach to helping young
people. It also has enrichment programs that include dance,
music, meditation and stress coping mechanisms. There also
is a career development program, where young people learn
resume writing and how to dress for a job interview.

“Our mission is to provide resources to people throughout Chicago. With the tutoring program, we provide services to students in under resourced neighborhoods,” said Mark Dennison, Tutoring and Summer Day Program Manager at Chicago Lights’.

Once a mentor is matched with a student, no matter what year the student is in school, the mentor continues with them through their educational journey. The goal is to ensure the student has a caring adult that starts with them in first grade and follows them through 12th grade. It makes the transition to the next grade smoother for the student because the mentor knows what to expect, from experience.

Scholarships are available for students who choose to
go to private school, or students that need help purchasing
books and supplies once they get to high school.

This year’s tutoring will take place as a hybrid model. Students can participate virtually, as well as in-person. During the pandemic, students were able to continue to work with their mentors, no matter where they were, because they were virtual.

The Summer Day program is a summer camp where kids are
provided with math and reading enrichment, as well as lunch.
Students also get to choose between music, singing, dance
or art. At the end of the program, the students perform and present their creative art enrichment project to the rest of the camp.

“Summer Day helps with the summer learning loss that might occur with students. It was important this summer because
we were trying to make up for the Zoom loss, students not getting one-to-one care from them doing virtual school, so we really wanted to focus on the education part of Summer Day,” Dennison said.

This year, 200 students participated in the Summer Day program. Each class had 10-15 students in each grade, which went from first grade to ninth grade. Keeping it to smaller groups helped to ensure the students safety.

The Chicago Lights’ onboards volunteers and students throughout the year. There is a constant need for mentors.

“Chicago Lights’ Tutoring is a wonderful program for our students, as well as our mentors, we do focus strongly on our students, but we do try to provide training for our volunteers, because they’re just as important as our students,” Dennison said.

For more information about Chicago Lights’, visit www.

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