General Questions

What is Chicago HOPES for Kids?

Chicago HOPES for Kids is a non-profit organization that provides academic support, focused on literacy, to children experiencing homelessness in Chicago, IL. The mission and history of HOPES can be found by clicking "Learn More" below.

Why do we focus on children experiencing homelessness in the shelter system?

Homelessness is a prevalent and widespread issue within Chicago. HOPES is attempting to break the cycle of poverty by focusing on homeless youth and providing academic support in way of a healthier future. If you are interested in learning more about homelessness and/or HOPES impact, you can check out our orientation video below. 

Our Programs

How old are the students you work with?

Our students are in k- 5th grade. Ages can range from 5 yrs-12 yrs. With our Literacy Mentors program we do serve children from 6-8th grade with ages ranging from 12-14 yrs of age.

Is this program more than just homework help?

We are not just a tutoring organization. Our programs target academics as children’s educations are at risk when living in a homeless situation. But we also provide an enrichment component and social emotional learning as well as the stability of having the same trained adults providing care and support for these children in a time of need.

What programs do you have?

We have several programs including after-school, literacy mentors, a summer enrichment program, and our parent program. More information about each of these programs can be found below. 


How do I volunteer?

When you sign up on our website, you will be asked to choose a training date for your selected site. Prior to your training you will be provided an orientation video as well as the volunteer manual. After you watch and read we ask that you sign off. Next you will attend your site-specific training. Proceeding training we will run a background check and you will attend your on-site orientation with your fellow volunteers the week before you will officially start volunteering.

What are the benefits of volunteering? 

Volunteering can help you build your resume, gain experience working with children, and you can make some pretty cool friends!

I’ve never worked within education or with kids, can I volunteer?

Yes! We welcome everyone to volunteer with us. Volunteers must attend a training that will get you on the path to working with our students.

Where are your sites located?

We run a shelter-based program. We partner with shelters throughout the city to provide our program at their locations. We have programs in Rogers Park, Uptown, Lakeview, Austin, South Shore, Englewood, Ashburn, and North Lawndale. (We do not reveal some of the locations of our shelters for privacy reasons). 

What hours are the after school program?

The after school program runs Monday through Friday. Each site has a different set of hours. Sites range with the earliest program during the time 3:30-5:30pm and our latest program during 5:45-7:45pm. For more specific information about exact locations and program times, visit our volunteer page below. 

What is the time commitment and requirements to volunteer?

We ask our volunteers to commit to a two-hour program for the entirety of the program. You choose your site, your day of the week, and you commit to that shelter and the children at your site. Before volunteering, we require you participate in orientation, training, on site-orientation and pass a background check.


What happens if I can’t make a day?

Each volunteer is allowed up to 2 excused absences permitted by your Site Coordinator. Site Coordinators need to be notified of any late arrivals, absences or issues that would interfere with your service.

I cannot volunteer, but how else can I help?

If you are not able to volunteer but would still like to be involved with HOPES, we have several events that are open to the community, you can check out our calendar of events. If you would like to donate, click the button below.