Our Team


Patricia Rivera, LCSW


Patricia is the founder of Chicago HOPES for Kids, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that provides academic support and literacy mentoring for children living in Chicago’s homeless shelters. She has a Master of Social Work Degree from the Jane Addams College of Social Work, Chicago, Illinois. She retired in 2010, after 33 years as a school social worker for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), with the last 7 years as the administrator for the CPS Homeless Education Program. After she retired and CPS cut the funding for the shelter-based tutoring program, she and a group of dedicated volunteers founded Chicago HOPES for Kids. She has been the Executive Director for HOPES since that time.

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Erica Walker, MA, LSW

Licensed Social Worker and Program Manager

Erica is a creative, compassionate person with more than a decade of experience in education and social service, dedicated to the empowerment of youth, families and vulnerable communities. A native of Chicago's South Side, Mrs. Walker attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire as a Daniel Murphy Scholar. She holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University with honors in African American Studies. Mrs. Walker also holds a master's degree in clinical social work from the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration and is a licensed social worker in the state of Illinois. Mrs. Walker is an avid bibliophile, urban gardener, jewelry designer and cyclist, and is active in several community service capacities in Chicago, including the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and Chicago Public Schools.

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Rita Kahn

Interim Executive Director and Development Manager

Rita began her career working in Human Resources for General Motors in Detroit, MI. She spent fifteen years in the Corporate world working for GM, Whirlpool, and Synovate in Human Resources and Market Research when she decided it was time for a change. She earned her Masters in Education and taught high school for a brief time before making her way into the non-profit world as a development Professional. She has worked in development for Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry and now with Chicago HOPES for Kids. At HOPES, She is responsible for attracting new donors and supporters to our organization and building relationships with current donors. She manages the donor database, website, social media, grant applications, events and fundraising campaigns.


Amelia Murphy

Volunteer Manager

Amelia graduated from Loyola University and  manages volunteers for Literacy Mentors, After School Program, Summer Program and one time events. She is responsible for the recruitment of volunteers, managing the volunteer database, communication, training, paperwork, events, and surveys. She is also responsible for outreach VISTAS, work study volunteers and non paid volunteers.


Mel Whitehouse

program administrator

Mel first joined Chicago HOPES for Kids as a Site Coordinator, where after a year and a half of read-aloud books, enrichment activities, field trips, and one flourishing program room sweet potato plant, she decided that she wanted to be able to devote more energy to HOPES and became an Americorps Member. During her year of Americorps service, her biggest project was launching a new, more expandable model for our Middle School Aged Program. Now as Program Administrator she manages our Americorps program and supports Site Coordinators so that we can continue to provide the most creative, intentional, and impactful programming for our students. When she's not at HOPES Mel likes to create pottery, play board games and swim.

Board Members

Patrick Carroll

Dennis Frank

Lucretia Jackson

Philip Montgomery

Jennifer Randall 

Jonathan Randall

Chris Rogala

Diane Schanzenbach

Sara Korf

Pheben Workneh

Our Board

Tonya Rice, Board Chair

Nick Knapp, Vice Chair

Kate O'Connell, Secretary

Michael Robbins, Treasurer

Matthew Eddington, Compliance Officer

Non-Voting Board Member

Patricia Rivera, Executive Director