Chicago Lights tutoring program

Today Chicago Lights Tutoring helps children in the 1st through 12th grades, from all across Chicago. The tutoring program is still associated with Fourth Presbyterian (about 40 percent of the tutors are church members), but it is now a non-profit, and there are many people associated with the program who are from outside the church. The program currently helps about 400 students who are matched one-on-one with a tutor. They have about 50-to-100 students on a waiting list. In addition to the tutoring, the students in the program also can take part in art, dance or martial arts. Dinner is also served before the tutoring session.


The Chicago Lights Tutoring and Scholarship program provides weekly one-to-one tutoring and mentoring to more than 400 students in first through twelfth grades.

Who: Tutors are caring adults from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, and experiences who are interested in helping students succeed in school and in life.Tutors do not need to be trained educators. Training, orientation, staff support, and opportunities to socialize with other tutors are provided on a regular basis.

What: Tutors meet with students 1-1/2 hours weekly (6:00 to 7:30 p.m.) during the school year.

When: Grades 7-12: Monday or Tuesday Grades 1-6: Wednesday or Thursday

Where: Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut Street (at North Michigan Avenue) - accessible from the Loop by CTA buses and Red and Brown line "L" trains.

Tutoring and Scholarship builds self-esteem through education-both academic growth and the knowledge of self that will inform personal choices.

Tutoring students benefit from:

  • Weekly homework assistance from caring adult tutors
  • Hot meals provided by Kids Cafe
  • Check-out privileges from our library full of books
  • State-of-the-art computer facilities
  • On-site staff able to provide support and resources as needed to tutor-student pairs
  • Bus transportation to and from some neighborhoods

    One-to-one relationships have been the hallmark of the Chicago Lights Tutoring Program for more than 40 years. Students are paired with a volunteer tutor for an entire school year and sometimes much longer.

    Grades 1 through 6

  • Focus: Literacy and love of learning
  • Biannual reading assessments and individualized plans for reading improvement and recovery
  • Hooked on Phonics to improve reading
  • Reading Rewards incentives to make reading fun

    Grades 7 through 12

  • Focus: High school graduation, college, jobs
  • High school scholarships offering opportunities to attend high-quality private high schools
  • Job training and career development with opportunities for paid summer internships
  • Student Leadership Council offering personal and group leadership experience

    Why Is Chicago Lights Tutoring Important?

    Students come from lower-income families. As Chicago Public Housing changes, our families are spread across thirty city zip codes, with the majority living in Near North, West Town, and Humboldt Park. These students attend struggling Chicago Public Schools with limited opportunities and few role models.

    They face

  • Overcrowded classrooms
  • Lack of computer access and training
  • Little to no arts education
  • Few extracurricular activities
  • Minimal leadership opportunities
  • Soaring dropout rates

    By supporting the Tutoring and Scholarship program, you will offer students an opportunity to reach beyond what they already know to benefit from

  • Consistent academic support
  • Real-life learning and employment experiences
  • Professional adult mentors and role models
  • Access to scholarships for private high school education

    Get involved in the Tutoring and Scholarship program and make a difference in the life of a child! Become a Donor

    Tutoring and Scholarship relies on generous donors to provide tutors and students with the resources they need. To learn more or to make a financial gift to the Tutoring program or to the Chicago Lights general fund, contact the Chicago Lights Development office at 312.274.3816 or give online at

    Become a Volunteer

    More than 400 volunteer tutors are needed each year to help children break the cycle of poverty through education. If you can't make a full-time commitment to tutor, consider becoming a casual substitute!

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