Position Title: Neighborhood Leadership Initiative (NLI) Program Coordinator

Office Location: This position will initially work remotely and engage with staff and stakeholders through virtual platforms, as Mikva Challenge is working remotely during the COVID pandemic. As business returns to in-person, this position will return to the office. This position is not eligible for relocation.

Reports to: Senior Program Director

Schedule: Full-time

About the Organization

Mikva Challenge is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to develop youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens and community members who will promote a just and equitable society. We are a dynamic youth empowerment agency that provides middle and high school students with unique civic learning opportunities and hands-on experiences in community organizing, public policy advocacy, and youth activism programs. We do this by engaging youth in Action Civics, an authentic and transformative learning process built on youth voice and youth expertise.

Mikva Challenge evaluations show the lasting impact of its programs.

  • 82% of students reported an increase in their civic knowledge.
  • 77% of students developed their sense of civic agency and increased their future commitment to civic action.
  • 83% of students took on new civic leadership.
  • 79% of students reported gains in their socio-emotional skills — many of which have direct academic outcomes.

About the Position

The Neighborhood Leadership Initiative (NLI) Program is an out-of-school time program that will train youth in leadership and activism and prepare them to take action on community issues and serve as a council to address community issues. The NLI Program Coordinator will be responsible for leading a Neighborhood Council in one Chicago community and providing support on another council. Neighborhood Councils run year long, during the school year and with monthly sessions over the summer. The target communities for this program are Gage Park, North Lawndale, and New City/Back of the Yards. This position will support the New City/ Back of the Yards community specifically. 

The ideal candidate will have some experience as a youth worker. They should be highly organized and motivated to empower young adults. Research skills, and oral and written communication skills are required, along with high energy and a willingness to be flexible and creative. Ability to engage with diverse stakeholders with a range of perspectives, as well as manage and cultivate stakeholders, is a must. A strong belief in the potential of youth, as well as a commitment to youth power and voice is key. Enthusiasm, energy, flexibility, and the ability to work independently as well as on a team are also important qualities.

Core Responsibilities

  • Facilitate one neighborhood council and assist/provide support on one council
  • Recruit 7th to 9th grade academically struggling students from area schools and build relationships with them
  • Facilitate council sessions with 25-30 youth, and lead students through team building, identity development, leadership development, intensive research, and product design or policy recommendations presented to a determined decision maker
  • Become informed about and engaged in the community/neighborhood in which the council exists 
  • Write and design lesson plans and curricula
  • Maintain a high level of organization in managing regular communication with youth to collect, track and file documentation other paperwork
  • Maintain attendance for all council members
  • Maintain case notes for each member describing interactions and leadership development
  • Regular data entry
  • Support and mentor council members throughout the year as youth become informed about/engaged in social topics, strengthen their personal, interpersonal and leadership skills, and to analyze and take action to address the root causes of violence in the target communities
  • Build strong, positive relationships with local schools, non-profits, and community stakeholders in each community
  • Help youth design effective surveys, analyze survey results, and use the research in powerful ways to further youth interests and goals
  • Support development, communications, and evaluation work, as necessary
  • Help promote Mikva Challenge programs to external stakeholders
  • Help promote youth voice and youth decision making in Chicago
  • Attend weekly Mikva staff meetings & team check-in meetings
  • Assist other programs and departments as needed with campaign trips and special events, including organizational fundraisers
  • Perform other duties as assigned



High School Diploma or GED required or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Bachelor’s degree preferred.


Two years of experience in youth programming, youth organizing, or teaching required.


  • Bilingual preferred (English/Spanish)
  • Must be willing to work within identified communities and in partnership with local CBOs
  • Experienced user of Microsoft Office products (Excel, Word, Power Point) and Google Suite programs (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides)
  • Willingness to learn and a growth mindset
  • Research skills and the ability to independently research a topic/issue
  • Group facilitation – 20-25 youth
  • Knowledge of Chicago Public Schools’ structure
  • Knowledge of Positive Youth Development strategies and values


  • Demonstrating and inspiring cooperation, collaboration, reliability, and professionalism
  • Working effectively in changing situations and with diverse groups and issues
  • Inspiring individual and organizational excellence
  • Establishing and maintaining professional contacts to build, enhance, and connect networks to Mikva Challenge

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $35,000 – $44,000 annually commensurate with experience. We also offer a competitive benefits package.

How to Apply

Please email a resume and cover letter to careers@mikvachallenge.org with “NLI Program Coordinator” in the subject line. Please, no phone calls. Review of applications will begin immediately.

Equity Statement

Mikva Challenge is an equal opportunity employer and we highly value diversity in our workplace. Mikva Challenge provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors.

Applicants from historically underrepresented and/or marginalized communities, including people of color, are strongly encouraged to apply.