College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies > Student Resources > Chicago Service & Activism

Service & Activism Opportunities in Chicago

8th Day Center for Justice is a coalition of Catholic, religious congregations committed to acting as a critical alternative voice to oppressive systems and working actively to change those systems.

Alternatives for Youth, Inc. is an organization that facilitates personal development, strengthens family relationships and enhances the well-being of Chicago's communities. Reaching approximately 3,000 young people and their families each year, the programs offered by Alternatives for Youth focus on leadership development, prevention of violence and substance abuse, academic enrichment and counseling.

American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace, and humanitarian service. Their work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.

BUILD, Inc. is an organization that works in some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods, giving at-risk youth alternatives to the violence that takes away their positive potential. Applying BUILD's model of positive youth development, this organization seeks to redirect the behavior of gang-affiliated youth and potential gang recruits in order to improve their chances of leading fulfilling lives and to increase the stability and safety of the communities in which they reside.

CeaseFire is an organization that uses a public health model to stop shootings and killings in Chicago. This organization combines science and street outreach to track where violence is heating up and then intervenes to cool the situation down. CeaseFire is a unique, interdisciplinary, public health approach to violence prevention. This organization maintains that violence is a learned behavior that can be prevented using disease control methods. Using proven public health techniques, the CeaseFire model prevents violence through a three-prong approach: identification and detection; interruption intervention and risk reduction; and changing behavior and norms.

Centro Romero is an organization with a mission to provide opportunities for those community residents with the fewest options. Through educational programming, Centro Romero emphasizes the development of the whole family unit, the creation of community leadership and self-reliance. Centro Romero is a community-based organization that serves the refugee immigrant population on the northeast side of Chicago through interrelated programs including adult education, women's empowerment projects, legal assistance and youth learning and leadership development. The long-term organizational goal of Centro Romero is to bridge a disenfranchised community of Latino immigrants and refugees into mainstream American society as well as improving their opportunity for upward social mobility.

Chiapas CoService is a collaborative community service cooperative that allows students the opportunity to combine Spanish study with cultural immersion by working alongside Mexican University students completing their community service requirement in fields such as: agriculture, anthropology, bio-medics, business, computers, development, education, energy, engineering, English, enviro-tech, graphic design, language & culture, marketing, tourism and more!

Chicago Area Project is a strong network of more than 40 grassroots organizations and special projects aimed at promoting positive youth development and preventing juvenile delinquency through community-building. CAP identifies community leaders and supports their grassroots efforts to mobilize residents to take responsibility for guiding young people. Working together, neighborhood leaders and residents prioritize neighborhood-specific issues, seek effective solutions and identify available resources to address them.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is one of the oldest and most prominent international affairs organizations in the United States. Independent and nonpartisan, The Chicago Council is committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue, and public learning.

Chicago Urban League is an organization that has been a leader in building strong and sustainable African American communities and creating opportunities with the power to transform people's lives. Chicago Urban League focuses on growing Chicago's African American workforce and business community, by ensuring that African American children are well-educated and equipped for economic self-reliance, helping adults attain economic self-sufficiency through gainful employment, home ownership and entrepreneurship and ensuring the civil rights of African Americans by eradicating barriers to equal participation in the economic and social mainstream of American life.

Christian Peacemaker Teams seeks to embody an inclusive, ecumenical, and diverse community of God's love. place teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict.

ENLACE is an organization dedicated to making positive differences in the lives of the residents of the Little Village community by fostering a physically safe and healthy environment in which to live and by championing opportunities for educational advancement and economic development.

Friends of the Parks is a park advocacy organization, dedicated to preserving, protecting and improving Chicago's parks and forest preserves for all citizens by establishing park advisory councils, developing new parks, renovating play-lots and presenting public workshops and lectures to create an informed citizenry. The mission of Friends of the Parks is to preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of Chicago parks, forest preserves and recreational areas for the benefit of all neighborhoods and citizens.

Illinois Violence Prevention Authority is the first state agency of its kind dedicated to violence prevention in the United States. IVPA has five main goals: develop and implement a statewide plan for violence prevention, fund local and statewide anti-violence programs, coordinate existing violence prevention initiatives and encourage collaborative projects, evaluate and provide technical assistance for violence prevention programming and conduct public education and awareness efforts about violence and its prevention.

Inner-City Muslim Action Network is an organization that strives to foster a dynamic and vibrant space for Muslims in urban America by inspiring the larger community towards critical civic engagement, exemplifying prophetic compassion in the work for social justice and human dignity beyond the barriers of religion, ethnicity and nationality. IMAN's services, organizing and arts agenda stem from the organization's spiritual convictions about community service, human compassion and social justice.

Jewish Council on Urban Affairs is committed to combating poverty, racism and anti-Semitism in partnership with Chicago's diverse communities. Guided by Jewish principles, JCUA pursues social and economic justice for Chicago's most vulnerable neighborhoods by promoting a vision of empowering communities from within.

Kids Off the Block is a nonprofit organization in Chicago, located on the far south side in the Roseland community, that strives to provide at-risk, low income youth positive alternatives to gangs, drugs, truancy, violence and the juvenile justice system.

Project NIA is an organization working to dramatically decrease the number of children and youth in Chicago who are arrested, detained and incarcerated. Through community engagement, education, participatory action research and capacity building, this organization helps communities develop support networks for youth who are at risk or or who have already been impacted by the juvenile justice system. Project NIA advocates for redirecting resources from youth incarceration to youth opportunities.

Public Allies​ is a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone leads; believing that everyone can make a difference and can work to inspire more citizens to believe in themselves, step up and act. Public Allies' mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation, by changing the face and practice of leadership in communities across the country and by demonstrating the conviction that everyone can lead and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility and work together.

Purpose Over Pain is an organization that was founded by bereaving family members of children killed by gun violence. Purpose Over Pain encourages those affected by gun violence to open themselves up to the community, band together and turn profound and collective pain into a sense of purpose to prevent future violence.

ServeNEXT uses the power of grassroots action to advance volunteerism, service and AmeriCorps as strategies to tackle pressing social challenges and strengthen the democracy of the country. ServeNEXT selects, trains and supports local leaders around the country to unite, manage and mobilize permanent grassroots networks of service supporters and stakeholders.

Voices for Creative Nonviolence is committed to strategic campaigns and experiments in truth engaging in active nonviolent resistance, specifically drawing upon the experiences of those who challenged the brutal economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and U.N. against the Iraqi people between 1990 and 2003.