Chicago Lights Tutoring

NBC Nightly News profile on Chicago Lights Tutoring at Fourth Presbyterian Church
An NBC Nightly News segment shines a light on the life-changing difference Chicago Lights Tutoring makes in the lives of many.


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Fifty years ago, in 1964, a group of Fourth Church members began gathering once a week to tutor children from the Cabrini-Green housing projects. That ongoing effort has operated continuously since then, growing into a four-night-a-week program that serves 400 students a year.

Committed to breaking the cycle of poverty through academic and emotional support for students from low-income families, Tutoring helps these children and youth improve their academic performance, stay in school through high school graduation, prepare for higher education and meaningful careers, and expand leadership and social skills.

Children in grades one through twelve, from the Near North, West Town, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods, come to Fourth Church for weekly one-to-one tutoring sessions with volunteer tutors-mentors. Healthy meals, creative enrichment activities, computer lab access, job training opportunities, internships, scholarships, and literacy activities are key components of the program, which operates Monday through Thursday evenings during the school year.

Chicago Lights Tutoring at Fourth Presbyterian Church

The Ferguson Fellows program offers Tutoring students entering ninth grade the opportunity to receive financial assistance and other educational tools to encourage successful completion of ninth grade. Students apply to be fellows, and the program is funded by the Dana Ferguson Myers Memorial Education Fund.

The Chicago Lights Career Development program, an eight-month educational experience, provides Tutoring students the insight and tools necessary to break the cycle of poverty and get a head start in planning for a satisfying career and keeping a great job. As part of the program, students are placed in eight-week paid summer internships, which allow students to practice what they learn in class, become confident in the professional world, and develop beneficial relationships with supervisors and mentors.

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New Volunteer Orientation

The 2014–2015 Tutoring year is in full swing, and we’re looking for more volunteers!

To help us ensure that interested students have a tutor waiting to work with them, please attend one of our New Volunteer Orientation sessions to learn about the program and how to become a permanent or substitute tutor. 

New Volunteer Orientation Sessions

During the orientation session, Tutoring staff will provide volunteers with information regarding the history of the program and the children it serves, the various programs and classes offered to students and tutors, the volunteer opportunities available, and how one is matched with a student.  

RSVP for an orientation session online here.

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Gifts to Support Tutoring

Chicago Lights Tutoring at Fourth Church is made possible by the contributions of supporters like you, whether through volunteering your time or by making a monetary gift online.

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In the News

“Style Files:
Dress for a Successful Internship
with Tips from Chicago Lights Tutoring Program”

March 25, 2015
WGN TV Midday News

Making a Difference:
Program Brings Education to Underprivileged Youth in Chicago

November 5, 2014
Harry Smith | NBC Nightly News

Off of Rough Streets, Into a Haven for Learning
October 9, 2014
Bob Greene | The Wall Street Journal

A Child’s Future Is Your Reward
September 6, 1988
Bob Greene | Chicago Tribune

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More information about Chicago Lights Tutoring is available on the the Chicago Lights website or by contacting Alex Cornwell, Director of Tutoring and Summer Day.