Opportunities for Providers


ACT Now STEM Clubs Application!

ACT Now Illinois is continuing to advance the implementation of high-quality STEM in afterschool programming.  During the 2023-24 school year, two NEW and EXCITING areas of STEM will be piloted in afterschool clubs.  Linking Engineering to Life and Destination the Moon (and beyond!) will be the two units we will explore this year.  
ACT Now is seeking 10 sites to participate in using these new curricula for the 2023-24 school year.  Priority will be given to programs that lie outside the City of Chicago. The supplies provided will serve about 25 students per site.  The curriculum is tailored to middle grades (roughly fifth through eighth grade). Applications are due July 12, 2023.  All programs will be notified by August 1, 2023, of their participation status. 

Project Learning Tree Workshop

Participants of this workshop will experience Project Learning Tree’s new Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide which includes 50 hands-on, multidisciplinary activities to connect children to nature and increase young people’s awareness and knowledge about their environment. The workshop is offered on March 7, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or March 11, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

ISBE Launches Search for Sponsors and Sites to Serve Summer Meals for 2023

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was developed to provide nutritious meals to children during the summer months. Sponsoring organizations can be public or private non-profit local education agencies; entities of the state, local, municipal, or county government; residential camps; and private nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status. All sponsor applications must be submitted by June 15, 2023.

2023 CCE Conference: Save the Date & Call for Proposals

The College Changes Everything (CCE) Conference will take place on July 13, 2023, at the Tinley Park Convention Center. The annual conference is the state’s college access and success and career readiness event. They are also inviting people to submit a conference interest session proposal.  Proposals are due March 3, 2023.

Girls STEAM SUCCESS Club STEAM Celebration!

The Girls STEAM Celebration will take place on March 4, 2023 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Prairie State College & Conference Center (202 S. Halsted St. Chicago Heights, IL 60411). Homewood Science Center is asking for assistance in recruiting mentors in STEAM to present activity and outreach tables during their STEAM Celebration.  A full-day of participation is not required to mentor. 

CPL College & Career Fair

Chicago Public Library (CPL) is looking for colleges, universities, trade schools, organizations, and community supports  provide information to youth between the ages of 14 and 22 who are looking for opportunities to further their education and training in specific fields at the college & career fair. Six fairs will be happening throughout this year on six different topics.

STEM Landscape Survey

The Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative is administering a survey that will be used to identify the STEM opportunities currently available to students and existing gaps in opportunities and resources. From there, the results will be used as they continue to work on new initiatives that reach the students who need them most.

Health and Human Services Coalition upcoming Advocacy Event!

Join the Health and Human Service Coalition of Illinois for a Virtual Advocacy Event. During the event, participants will hear from providers, advocates, and legislators on plans to support the human service sector workforce this legislative session, and share ways to get involved. This event will take place February 10, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 

2023 Hunger Heroes Nomination Form!

Hunger Heroes work towards the Rise and Shine mission of ending childhood hunger in Illinois. Hunger Heroes represent diverse communities, and come from a wide range of career sectors. The spring/summer Hunger Heroes nominations will close on April 13, 2023Nomination forms will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Out-of-School Time Educator Program at the Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry’s (MSI) Out-of-School-Time (OST) Educator Program aims to support the development of inclusive and equitable learning in out-of-school-time settings for young people primarily in grades 3-8. The deadline to apply is February 3, 2023. 

Be a Presenter at the Illinois AfterSchool Network’s Annual Spring Virtual Conference

The Illinois AfterSchool Network (IAN) is looking for experienced trainers to facilitate interactive professional learning sessions for other professionals in the virtual community for their 37th Annual Spring Virtual Conference. The deadline to submit the application to be a speaker is November 18, 2022. The 37th Annual Spring Virtual Conference will be held March 29, 2023 to March 31, 2023.

Virtual Field Trip with NASA Telescope

NASA is giving youth the opportunity to take a virtual field trip with Chandra, NASA’s premier X-ray telescope! Youth will be able to see Chandra’s operations control center, tour the Chandra spacecraft through virtual reality, and take a virtual trip to some exploding stars in our own galaxy.  There is also a Virtual Field Trip Teacher Guide on the website. Sessions run through December 8, 2022. 

Fall Field Trip Planning

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum released a Fall Field Trip Planning Guide. The guide is designed to help prepare students for their field trip experience and contains tips to make the most out of a visit to the Nature Museum. To schedule field trip at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, click here 

Engage Girls in STEM  

Techbridge Girls developed a training video to help role models and volunteers engage young girls in STEM programs. The training helps role models and volunteers develop skills to engage girls from marginalized communities in STEM through videos, reflection questions and more. 

Chicago Public Schools Out-of-School Time Partners Office Hours

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is holding office hours with its out-of-school time (OST) partnerships office. These office hours occur between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 during the weekday.

Volunteer Grant Reviewer Opportunity

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) is seeking community members to read and review grant applications submitted by organizations across Illinois for its equity-based grant programs, such as the Restore. Reinvest. Renew. (R3) opportunity. Reviewers are trained and sit on a team of three to review a number of proposals based on a clearly outlined criteria. This collaborative approach will enhance ICJIA’s application review process with the assistance of individuals with diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences.


The Illinois Workforce and Education Research Collaborative Survey!

The Illinois Workforce and Education Research Collaborative (IWERC) at the University of Illinois is inviting you to participate in this survey to identify best practices related to learning renewal and recovery in Illinois. The survey closes on May 1, 2023

Chicagoland 2-1-1 Resources for Families

2-1-1 is an initiative that aims to serve as the one-stop shop for any free to low-cost health or social service a Chicagoland resident may need. This may include access to food, housing, utility assistance, mental health services, education, workforce development, youth services, childcare, and much more. All services are available in English and Spanish.

The Power of Us Workforce Survey

The Power of Us Workforce Survey seeks to know and understand the youth-serving workforce within the United States. Youth-serving professionals and volunteers can contribute to a national effort to explore, define, and elevate their work with young people. The information from the survey can also lead to action, informing policy, practice, and further research to better support the workforce at large!

Urban Initiatives and the Chicago Learning Exchange: Racial Equity Community of Practice Survey 

Urban Initiatives and the Chicago Learning Exchange have partnered to develop a Racial Equity Community of Practice (COP) for youth-serving and youth development organizations across the City of Chicago. The main goal is to integrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) into these participating organizations. These entities have developed a survey that will help the COP understand the barriers that youth development organizations face when doing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work and organizations’ greatest needs to support this work. To take this survey, click here.

Safety, Health, & Nutrition

Free Trauma-Informed Trainings

The Center for Healing and Justice through Sport (CHJS) will host free trauma-informed sport trainings for coaches, youth program providers, teachers, and anyone that wants to learn how sports can contribute to the mental and emotional well-being of Chicago’s youth. CHJS will offer 6 in-person training cohorts and 1 virtual training cohort between February to June, 2023.

Help Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Influenza in Schools

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance for school administrators regarding information to help reduce the spread of seasonal influenza (flu) among students and staff in K-12 schools. 

The Connectory: Integrating Wellness into STEM Education

In collaboration with Healthier Generation’s new Eating Healthy at Home campaign, The Connectory is highlighting five key activities to encourage picky eaters of all ages to try new and nutritious foods – all with a STEM twist.

  1. “I tried It” Chart: Support food preferences while building critical thinking skills. Choose 2-3 types of vegetables or prepare one multiple ways (e.g., raw vs. steamed). Try the veggie plain and rank how much it was enjoyed using emojis or stickers. Add dips and sauces too!
  2. Make Trying (and Retrying) Fun:As you introduce a new item to a child’s diet, add a hands-on counting twist. Label bowls with numbers and ask the child to put the correct amount into the corresponding bowl.
  3. Wild Names for New Foods:There are creative ways to experiment with food preferences, such as pairing a new or disliked food with an ingredient, animal or insect a child enjoys. Does your student dislike peas? Try pairing peas with pasta and giving the dish an exotic name like Beetle Pasta.
  4. Delicious Science:Discuss the science of blending, boiling, baking, and other food prep options and how it changes a child’s preference. Click here for more ideas.
  5. Apple Math Taste Test: Choose 3-4 varieties of apples. Make predictions together on the weight and measurements of each apple. For a literacy “add on”, read Apple Fractions.

For more of Healthier Generation’s resources, click here

Family and Community Partnerships

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

The U.S. Department of the Interior posted an article that explains different ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month not only in November, but also all year!

Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade is a family friendly annual parade that features huge  balloons, floats, marching bands, dance & equestrian groups, local sports teams and more. The parade will take place Thanksgiving Day from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and is free to attend. 

Native Folklore Event!

The Rolling Knolls Forest Preserve in Elgin is celebrating Native American Heritage Month on November 30, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. by hosting a free event where they will walk through native animals’ folklore.

Illinois Birth to Five Seeks Family Council Members 

Birth to Five Illinois is a new statewide program centering family voice in the decisions made in Early Childhood Education and Care. Family Council Members will be asked to advocate for family needs, share critical input to improve programs, and serve as an advisory committee for their region’s Action Council. Birth to Five Illinois is currently seeking additional interested parents and caregivers with a child eight years of age or younger.

Homeowner Assistance

The Illinois Housing Development Authority is reopening a mortgage assistance program designed to assist homeowners financially impacted by the pandemic. The fund provides up to $30,000 in mortgage assistance to eligible homeowners. The program is free, and funds do not need to be repaid. Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2023.

Strengthening Chicago’s Youth Podcast: The Parenting Supports

The Parenting Supports Podcast, sponsored by Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY), is about all things parenting. SCY aims to empower their audience by providing information on topics relevant to the lives of parents, caretakers, family members, and community providers. Topics surround self-care, trauma, and managing stress and anxiety while adjusting to a pandemic. The podcast is also available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts

My CHI. My Future: Remote Learning Supervision Hubs 

My CHI. My Future. has updated its list of organizations that are providing supervision and care during the remote learning school day for children ages 3 through 14. Hours, fees, and availability should be confirmed directly with the organization and specific offerings have not been formally approved by the City of Chicago or Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  Also, now you are able to see where these opportunities are located, based upon their zip code in the City of Chicago. To view the map and learn more information about supervision and care, click here.

Forefront and Serve Illinois: Nonprofit Volunteer Opportunities Page

In collaboration with ForefrontServe Illinois has developed a statewide page for nonprofits to post volunteer opportunities. Through this page, you can learn more, submit opportunities, become a partner, or search for opportunities by county. Click here to review the page.

Chicago Moves – Transportation Cost Relief

Chicago Moves is a short-term assistance program that provides financial relief for Chicago residents struggling with transportation expenses. The program grants $150 prepaid cards eligible for redemption at local Chicago gas stations as well as $50 prepaid cards eligible for use on public transit. Apply today!

Professional Development & Qualifications

Science Leadership Initiative

The Museum of Science and Industry’s Science Leadership School Partners Program trains educators to lead a cross-disciplinary team to evaluate the current status of science education at their school, then create and implement action plans. Applications are due May 21, 2023.

2023-2024 ENGAGE GLOBE Mission Earth Educator Cohort!

Take part in a year-long virtual professional development program hosted by NASA to explore ways to help your students improve their observation and science writing skills using the GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment). Participants will be introduced to lesson plans centered on outdoor environmental observations. Applications are due May 31, 2023.

Additional Resources and Support for Youth within the DCFS System

Health Choice Illinois is an insurance company that works to support any youth that has been in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) system. In addition to health insurance and case management, the Youth Care program allows the company to also support young people by providing funding for afterschool programs, uniforms, and gym memberships. Learn more here.

CDOT Safe Ambassadors to Support Chicago Youth and Families

The Chicago Department of Transportation’s SAFE Ambassadors offers free traffic-safety education and programming for diverse stakeholders. Whether your program needs ride support for a community bike event, a share-the-road presentation for drivers, or transportation-resource tabling at your neighborhood event, the SAFE Ambassadors offer a wide range of free services. 

Engaging Girls in Engineering!

Scientific Adventures for Girls (SAfG) is hosting a three part curriculum training series focused on their free curriculum aimed to engage and excite more girls in engineering and design. Participants will leave the series with four engineering design projects and a materials list that they can implement with youth. The training will take place on February 21, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Invention Convention Training for Educators

Would you like to get your students involved in the Chicago Invention Convention and bring their creativity and ingenuity alive? Then this is for you

Illinois State Board of Education: Free Professional Learning Series for Kindergarten Educators

The Illinois Stated Board of Education (ISBE) and the Erikson Institute have partnered in order to provide professional development opportunities for kindergarten teachers across Illinois. Project Connect will allow teachers will earn professional development hours and get practical resources for their classroom while learning new ways to assess and address the needs of the “whole child.” 

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Grant Training

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) is hosting a training for those interested in securing state grant funding. This course will ease the application process for organizations looking to access ICJIA grants. Participants will receive an overview of the ICJIA grant process, how to set up a budget and complete a program narrative, and what it means to comply with the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA).

Youth Development, Programming, & Activities

Science on the Go Curricula and Professional Development

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will be kicking off its Quarter Four sessions of Science on the Go for out-of-school time (OST) providers throughout the City of Chicago. Science on the Go offers program facilitators lesson plans, workshops, and professional learning opportunities. The deadline to register is TOMORROW, March 23, 2023.

Chicago Spring Forward Service-Learning Programs

The My CHI. My Future. (MCMF) community continues to encourage program providers to submit information regarding any service-learning programming for youth (ages 13 to 24) in Chicago between April 1, 2023, and April 8, 2023. All events will be featured on the MCMF app. Please feel free to share this information with your network of colleagues within the City of Chicago.

NASA Voyage Through Solar System Opportunity

The NISE Network is offering 350 FREE physical Explore Science: Voyage through the Solar System activity kits to eligible institutions and programs throughout the country. The curricula and materials focus on NASA’s initiatives to send astronauts to the Moon, Mars, and more! Applications are due May 15, 2023.

Refer Juniors to QuestBridge!

QuestBridge prepares College Prep Scholars to gain admission and full four-year scholarships to 50 top colleges through the National College Match. College Prep Scholars can receive special awards, essay feedback, and more. The deadline for students to apply is March 22, 2023.

NASA Inspires Futures for Tomorrow’s Youth (NIFTY)

The NIFTY project is seeking 20 partners to provide NASA-themed STEM programs for underrepresented youth ages nine to 14 (with a focus on girls and youth of color). Selected partners will receive $5,000, professional development for two staff, space science STEM activities, and materials to support running two programs. Applications are due February 18, 2023. 

Nominate a Student With Perseverance

NASA’s “You’ve Got Perseverance!” award opportunity invites U.S. teachers, educators, and community members to nominate students in grades six to twelve who have shown great perseverance to reach their academic goals. The program will reward that dedication with recognition from the Perseverance rover all the way on Mars! Nominations are due December 19, 2022

Youth Systems Building Academy

The US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration is inviting workforce communities to nominate themselves to be a part of the Youth Systems Building Academy (YSBA). YSBA will provide local workforce systems and their community partners with training and technical assistance to explore approaches to engage young people in the workforce. Applications are due before January 13, 2023, 4:00 p.m.

Dignity of Children’s Social Entrepreneurship Program

The Dignity of Children’s Social Entrepreneurship Program has partnered with the Illinois Afterschool Network (IAN) for an upcoming initiative. Illinois afterschool providers will have the opportunity to facilitate the Dignity of Children’s Social Entrepreneurship Project Based Learning (PBL) Curriculum to their youth (12 to 18 years old). The goal is to prepare them to showcase their business ideas at the IAN Annual Spring Virtual Conference in March 2023 and go on to participate in Dignity of Children’s Entrepreneurship Competition  or at iDEAS Empowered by Youth SymposiumFor more information, please contact Curtis Peace at ILafterschoolcp@gmail.com.

Submit Your Programs and Events for Winter Break!

My. CHI. My. Future. is accepting submissions for their winter break campaign, Make ’23 Yours. They are accepting submissions for programs that will be taking place from December 23, 2022, to January 8, 2023The deadline for program submissions will be December 21, 2022. 

StandOut Search Program Opportunity

The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois‘ StandOut Search program connects community-based organizations and nonprofits with high school interns and volunteers for free assistance with anything from social media management to financial modeling! 

Latina Girls Who Code 

Latina Girls Code (LGC), formed in 2014, is a program that aims to bridge the diversity gap in STEM for Latinx girls who are interested in technology. LGC works to provide mentors, access to hardware and digital tools, as well as internships through various programs and events throughout the year for youth. 

Wage Supplement Program

Great START (Strategy to Attract and Retain Teachers) is a wage supplement program that rewards eligible early care and education and school-age care practitioners who have completed college coursework, and stay at their current place of employment. Great START recipients are sent a check every six months (based on continued eligibility) to supplement their income. To learn more, click here.

NCWIT Learning from Young Women Study

This National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) study explores why some women pursue and/or persist in computing fields, while some do not. Data included a large sample of women from around the United States in high school, college, and the workforce over six years. Key findings underscore the importance of recognizing institutional and cultural factors that reinforce and maintain exclusionary practices, highlighting how gender and ethnicity-blind meritocracy perpetuate systemic biases.

National Geographic Society: National Geographic Explorer Classroom

This fall, the National Geographic Society is hosting a series of National Geographic’s Explorer Classroom events designed specifically for Out-of-School Time providers. Two versions are offered: one is recommended for grades 1-3 and the other recommended for grades 4-8. All Explorer Classroom events are supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The live YouTube sessions connect young people with cutting-edge scientists, researchers, and powerful storytellers around the world. The events are free and include opportunities to ask questions and receive guidance for facilitating conversations between youth and STEM professionals. To learn more and to register, click here.

Libraries Ready To Code

The American Library Association’s Ready To Code Collection provides resources and strategies for coding and computational thinking activities that are grounded in research, aligned with library core values, and support broadening participation. They have three experience levels to help library staff connect with resources that reflect their own computational thinking (CT) experiences, communities, goals, and interests.  

Chicago Student Invention Convention Mentor Opportunity

The Chicago Student Invention Convention (CSIC) prepares K-8th graders today with the innovative skills they will need tomorrow to succeed in life and work in the 21st century. CSIC is a free program that trains educators in its experiential, applied STEM invention learning and encourages students to develop critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills to positively impact their own lives and communities. CSIC is soliciting mentors for its annual competition. Interested educators and afterschool program providers should register for the program here.

Connecting Students from K to Career

The National AfterSchool Association has partnered with Discovery Education to inspire a culture of STEM education in K–12 schools and afterschool organizations nationwide. Select schools and afterschool organizations will be provided full access to Discovery Education’s Daily Learning Platform, making it easy to find engaging resources that reach every student. Discovery Education’s flexible, award-winning K—12 learning platform connects educators and afterschool professionals to a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and timely professional learning. 

American Writers Museum: Online Education Program

The American Writers Museum (AWM) has unveiled an interactive online education program featuring young, diverse, and thought-provoking authors. This initiative is designed to inspire young writers across the United States. The interactive program includes live and virtual sessions with AWM education staff and renowned writers, as well as other digital materials developed for students grades 3 through 12. To review the Museum’s online educational programs, click here.  

Gateways to Opportunity Registry

Gateways to Opportunity is a statewide professional development support system for individuals and programs serving youth and families. The Gateways Registry membership is FREE and offers a quick and easy way to track your training and education online, and meets Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) licensing requirements.

Adolescent Development Toolkit

ACT for Youth‘s Adolescent Development Toolkit presents selected resources that explain and describe adolescent development. Resources include guides, articles, fact sheets, videos, narrated presentations, and websites.