Youth Opportunities

Youth Development Programming

Spring Break Theatre Week

Between March 25th and March 29th, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and The Goodman Theatre are collaborating to bring free and discounted theatre programming to Chicago teens during the week of Chicago Public Schools Spring Break! 

“Say it Your Way” Youth Summit and Resource Fair

Join the Office of Community Policing for the “Say it Your Way” Youth Summit and Resource Fair which is taking place on April 6, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Olive Harvey College (10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.). During this conference, youth will have the opportunity to explore topics relevant to their lives and connect with other youth. 

Chicago DNC 2024 Host Committee Internships

The Chicago 2024 Host Committee is bringing on interns to assist with planning and executing the Democratic National Convention in August. The academic year internship is an unpaid internship opportunity available to all high school and college-level students. Academic year applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Field Museum Teen Volunteer

The Field Museum is looking for teen volunteers! Teen volunteers spend their days engaging visitors and sharing science stories throughout the museum. Applications are due March 15, 2024.

The Fellowship Initiative!

The Fellowship Initiative, in partnership with JP Morgan Chase, is building a community of young men of color from across Chicago who possess a broad range of skills and experiences. This three-year leadership development program is designed to support rising High School sophomores in earning their degree from an accredited four-year college or university. 

Racial Justice Activism Intervention Youth Advisory Board

The ARISE Health Lab Team at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital is starting a study on Racial Justice Activism Intervention. Teens will learn skills around activism and advocacy over the course of eight weeks. Teens will be compensated up to $250 based on their completion of assessments and feedback.

Join the Green Star Youth Panel! 

Green Star Youth Panel is looking for 13-18 year old teens who love art and want to give back to Chicago communities to become a part of their paid Youth Panel. The Youth Panel will promote a city-wide contest which will award one community with a mosaic wall mural, and help select design winner and install the mural during the span of the year.

Be a SAFE Ambassador!

Chicago Department of Transportation has promoted safe cycling and walking through the City of Chicago’s SAFE Ambassadors. The SAFE Ambassadors work at a different park each day and get paid to ride a bike and teach kids with a simple safety presentation and bike rides. Ambassadors will be paid $15 to $24 an hour. The start date is mid June and ends mid-August. For more information, email Angel Montalvo at

Chicago Public Library Internship Opportunity!

The Chicago Public Library is hiring for their Teen Best of the Best positions. As an intern you will focus on reading new books and discussing your opinions and the evaluations of books. You will also have the opportunity to create book related social media content.The internship will begin on February 11th and run until December 9th. The meetings will all be in person at YOUmedia HWLC (400 S. State St.). The pay rate will be $15/hour. The deadline to apply is December 2, 2022. 

My CHI. My Future.: Jobs Playlist

My CHI. My Future. has an updated website for youth looking for summer and full-time employment opportunities. There are positions and resources relating to jobs within and outside of the city of Chicago.

Chicago Youth Service Corps

Chicago Youth Service Corps has a year round program that provides paid opportunities for youth ages 16 to 24 years old to engage in community service, project-based learning, and leadership development.

The Young Entrepreneur Institute

The Young Entrepreneur Institute (YEI) leverages the participation of the community of teachers, educators, and entrepreneurship organizations around them to share best practices in entrepreneurial education. Then, equipped with expert knowledge, educators guide their students through curricular and experiential programs. Their website features additional games, resources, and Pitch Challenge Information!

X-STEM All Access Video Series for Middle & High School Students and Teachers

The U.S. Air ForceU.S. Space Force, and Discovery Channel, have partnered to create X-STEM All Access, which is a free virtual conference series for middle and high schoolers to ignite interest in STEM professions. The 2022 series will include seven episodes showcasing the exciting careers and inspiring personal journeys of diverse STEM role models. Each 30-minute episode will feature a STEM role model telling their story through a lively Q&A session with a fellow STEM professional.

CyberUp: PowerUp: Cyber Games

CyberUp’s PowerUp: Cyber Games is a monthly capture the flag (CTF) competition for middle school and high school students that takes place during the school year. A CTF is a special kind of cybersecurity competition designed to challenge its participants to solve computer security problems and/or capture and defend computer systems. Youth can participate via a school affiliated team, as individuals, and on a team of up to four students. CyberUp is offering scholarships to registrants. To learn more about the events and eligibility, click here.

DuPage Children’s Museum

The DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) is offering two virtual hands-on learning STEM opportunities for children and youth to participate in. STEM Labs are 45 – 90-minute sessions that encourage children in grades 1 to 4 to problem-solve and explore. Arts & Maker After School provides youth ages 4 to 12 with materials to tinker and create along with peers. To learn more about DCM’s online STEM offerings, click here.

PopUp Science (Homewood Science Center)

PopUp Science is the first program designed and executed by Homewood Science Center to provide FREE community-based, hands-on STEM learning opportunities, attracting people from all across the South Suburbs, and connecting them with diverse topics in STEM. No registration required. Drop in for a few minutes or a few hours! All ages welcome!

Shedd Aquarium Teen Learning Lab

Teens are invited to use this free lab space to make new friends, work on projects, and explore careers in aquatic science. When youth are ready to dive into the Teen Learning Lab, direct them to one of the new teen orientations, where they’ll be introduced to the mentors, projects and resources available within the lab.

EarthEcho Water Challenge

Participating in the EarthEcho Water Challenge is a great way to be a part of the solution to water issues worldwide. The Water Challenge builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local bodies of water. 

Brokering Youth Pathways Toolkit

A new toolkit from the Hive Research Lab was created to share tools and techniques around the youth development practice of “brokering” or connecting youth to future learning opportunities and resources.

Power Minds Tutoring offers a powerful platform where children, youth and adults can connect to qualified tutors and counselors online. The online network consists of volunteers that are expert in their areas and are willing to share their knowledge and help you succeed.

Winnetka Teen Drop-In Center

Winnetka Youth Organization (WYO) fosters individual development in junior high and high school youth in the North Shore by providing adult-to-youth mentoring, prevention services, and opportunities for leadership, citizenship, and education within a safe and informal environment. WYO is a drop-in program, so there is no need to register for programs – just stop on by!

Cascade (by Splah! Chicago)

Splash! Chicago offers free programs for high school students featuring classes designed and taught by UChicago students on anything from squids to the philosophy of superheroes! Cascade is a five-week program developed to expose students to interesting topics they may never have experienced before in their high school setting. Each class is an in-depth exploration of a topic, meeting once a week over five weeks. There is no cost to attend and pizza is provided.

Mentor Matching Engine

The Illinois Science & Technology Institute’s Mentor Matching Engine (MME) is an invitation-based web platform that connects Illinois high school students and their teachers to STEM professionals who serve as online mentors. MME facilitates mentor engagement and collaboration through strategic matching, forum-style chatting, video-conferencing and document sharing. 

National Geographic Explorer Classroom

Explorer Classroom connects afterschool programs around the world with National Geographic Explorers, bringing science, exploration, and conservation to life through live video events. Each month Explorer Classroom features a new theme and provides supporting resources for educators. To learn more about upcoming themes and opportunities, click here.

Safety, Health, and Nutrition

Mental Health Awareness and Resources For Youth

The Public Health Working Group of the Mayor’s Youth Commission and the Chicago Department of Public Health developed videos on what it means to ask for help and what resources are available to Chicago’s young people for support.

NAMI Chicago: Mental Health Website for Youth

NAMI Chicago has created an engaging and easy-to-digest mental health website for youth in 3rd grade and up. There are different topics, guidance, support resources, and more for different grade levels. To access this information, click here.

Contests & Scholarships

Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program

The Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program recognized the importance of having teachers that reflect the communities they teach. To be eligible you must be a resident of Illinois, be a minority student and be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an Illinois institution of higher education in a course of study which, upon completion, qualifies you to be licensed as a preschool, elementary or secondary school teacher by the Illinois State Board of Education. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2023.

U.S. Presidential Scholars

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is accepting nominations for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program for the school year 2023-24. The U.S. Department of Education allows the state superintendent of education to nominate students for the general and career and technical education components. If you have a student who you believe would be an excellent candidate for this program, please complete and submit a nomination form by September 29, 2023

Submit Your Art to the CPL Teen Winter Challenge 2022-2023!

Chicago Public Library’s annual Teen Winter Challenge is accepting submissions for original artwork by teens until March 1, 2023. Winners of the challenge will have their art featured in a catalog and exhibitions and receive up to $175 in prizes. 

NPR Podcast Challenge!

National Public Radio (NPR) is inviting students to create a podcast and compete for a chance to have their work featured on NPR! Students from 5th grade through 12th grade are eligible to participate. Teacher involvement is required.The deadline for submissions is April 28, 2023.

Engineer Girl Writing Competition!

The 2023 Engineer Girl contest encourages youth to write an essay demonstrating how female and/or non-white engineers have contributed to achievements in engineering. Guidelines are given for elementary, middle school, and high school grade levels. The submission deadline is February 1, 2023.

The Chicago Coalition for Homeless Scholarship

The Chicago Coalition for Homeless will award college scholarships to graduating seniors who experienced homelessness while in high school. The award amount is $3,500 and applications are due May 6, 2023. 


Registration for the 21st annual eCYBERMISSION competition is now open! Form a team of 2, 3, or 4 students and work together to identify a problem in the community and use scientific inquiry or engineering design to propose solutions to that problem. Compete for State, Regional, and National Awards. Registration closes January 25, 2023. 

Operation Airlift 2023 Team Application

The Adler Planetarium is accepting applications for their 9th annual Operation Airlift Competition. Schools and youth-serving organizations are invited to bring a team to participate in this competition by designing and building a remote-controlled airship and completing a series of challenges. Applications are due November 16, 2022. 

2023 Next Gen Afterschool Leaders Nominations Now Open

The National AfterSchool Association’s (NAA) Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders, identifies young leaders and recognizes the talent of afterschool champions who have the potential to influence the field of afterschool. Each honoree will receive a free NAA Executive membership, a free NAA22 Convention registration, ongoing leadership development, support in expanding their professional networks, and other opportunities to broaden their impact. Nomination period closes December 7, 2022

Golden Apple Scholarship Opportunity 

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program is a teacher preparation and tuition assistance program for high school seniors and freshman and sophomore Illinois college students who have the drive to be teachers in Illinois schools-of-need. Award amounts vary. 

Chicago Engineers Foundation Scholarship 

The Chicago Engineers Foundation has a scholarship opportunity for students who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering. The initial award amount is $1,200 and is renewable if students continue to meet eligibility requirements. Applications are due April 1, 2023. 

Project Synergy Scholarship

Lewis University has released he Project Synergy Scholarship. The scholarship provides up to $10,000/year for up to four years plus additional mentoring, research, and professional development opportunities. Students should apply by February 25, 2023 to receive priority consideration; however, applications will be considered after that on a rolling basis until all scholarship slots are filled.


eCYBERMISSION is a web-based STEM competition FREE to students in grades six through nine that promotes self-discovery and enables all students to recognize the real-life applications of STEM. Teams of three or four students are instructed to ask questions (for science) or define problems (for engineering), and then construct explanations (for science) or design solutions (for engineering) based on identified problems in their community. Students compete for State, Regional and National Awards.

Study Abroad Scholarships

The U.S. Department of State has announced scholarship opportunities for American high school students to study abroad.

Summer Opportunities

The ACT Project with Code Your Dreams, ISTC, and Gray Matter Experience

This summer, join Code Your Dreams for a six-week program running from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting June 26, 2023, and ending August 4, 2023. The program is designed to inspire, empower, and engage the next generation of trailblazers in the world of tech. Not only will participants gain valuable skills and experience, but they will also receive a financial stipend of at least $250 upon completion of the program!

Digital Scholars Program

The Digital Scholars Program is a 6-week pre-college summer program, which aims to build a deeper and more diverse pool of students pursuing computing and technology-related fields in Illinois. This program is intentional about serving Black, Latinx, women, gender non-conforming, and first-generation students throughout the Chicago area.

Girls Who Code Summer Programs

Girls Who Code is offering a two week Summer immersion program or a 6-week self-paced experience that will allow students an opportunity to learn about computer science in a style that works best for them while making meaningful connections. All high school students who identify as girls or non-binary can apply, and no prior computer science experience is required!

High School & College Readiness

Chicago Scholars Application!

Chicago Scholars is a program that invests in Chicago youth and amplifies their leadership. Chicago Scholars receive support and guidance through the college application process, and also have access to exclusive scholarship opportunities, mentorship, and additional guidance. Applicants must be juniors in high school who will graduate in 2024. Apply by February 28, 2023. 

Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago, and Illinois State University: Teach Chicago Tomorrow Pathways Partnership Program

Chicago Public Schools (CPS), City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), and Illinois State University (ISU) have partnered to provide young people with The Teach Chicago Tomorrow Pathways Partnership Program. This program is a structured pathway for aspiring teachers to meet like-minded students, complete college, earn their teaching credential, and start a CPS teaching career. To learn more about this program and to apply, click here.

High School Bound

An online hub that allows students to search for and learn more about Chicago public high schools and the programs they offer.

Partners in Education Program

Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Residents (ages 15-20) can receive one-on-one coaching from an Education Navigator to support post-high school plans, or to assist in continued post-secondary enrollment through Project S.O.A.R. 

Additional Resources & Activities

Resume Support for Youth

Get Schooled is an organization that will help students prepare for different experiences related to college and career exploration. Get Schooled will review students’ resumes and provide actionable feedback for FREE within a week of submission!


This is a free application for young children (ages five to seven) to get their first introduction to coding. Through the app, children code their own interactive stories and games. Additionally, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.


Scratch is the world’s largest coding community for children and free coding language designed for children ages eight and older. Scratch easily allows young people to create digital stories, games, and animations.

MHA Labs and The (Un)Learning Space: Black History Month Toolkit and Resources

MHA Labs and the (Un)Learning Space have developed a toolkit with resources to help young people explore their own leadership role in the movement for racial justice during Black History Month. These resources can be utilized digitally and offline. To access the toolkit and to review the free materials, click here.

Youth Be Heard

Youth Be Heard (YBH) is an online platform for youth to share their voices, stories, and art. Because all content and comments are monitored before publishing, YBH is a safe place for youth to take creative risks, experience the editing process, and exchange thoughts and experiences with people from different backgrounds.

Internet Essentials

Internet Essentials from Comcast gives access to affordable, high-speed internet to low-income families. To be eligible, households must have at least one child who is eligible for the National School Lunch Program, receive HUD housing assistance or are a low-income veteran receiving state and/or federal assistance.

Childcare for Children of Veterans

The YWCA has partnered with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to connect Illinois Veterans to FREE quality, state-licensed childcare during times of scheduled medical or counseling appointments, and job interviews. For more information, click here.