Position Title: Neighborhood Leadership Initiative (NLI) Program Coordinator
Location: Mikva Challenge Illinois Chapter – Chicago, IL
Reports to: NLI Senior Program Director
Schedule: Full-time

The Organization

Mikva Challenge is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop youth to be informed, empowered, and active citizens and community leaders who will promote and just and equitable society.  Mikva Challenge has chapters in California, Washington, DC and Chicago. We engage youth in action civics, an authentic and transformative learning process built on youth voice and expertise.  We are a dynamic youth empowerment agency that provides adolescents with unique civic learning opportunities and “hands-on” experiences in political campaigns, public policy advocacy, government internships, and youth activism programs. Our approaches include direct youth work, teacher support, and liaising with civic leaders and institutions. A strong belief in the potential of youth and a commitment to youth power and voice are key.  Enthusiasm, energy, flexibility, and the ability to work independently as well as on a team are also important qualities for the right candidate. 

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.  The target communities for this program are of Gage Park, North Lawndale, and New City/Back of the Yards.

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
    • Neighborhood Councils run year long, during the school year and with monthly sessions over the summer 
  • 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 that the council exists in 
  • 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. 
  • Supporting 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, special events, including organizational fundraisers 
  • Perform other duties as directed that include support of other programs and organizational priorities 

Key Requirements

  • 2+ years experience in youth programming, youth organizing or teaching 
  • 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)
  • High School Degree or GED required, Bachelor’s degree preferred


    • Willingness to learn and a growth mindset
    • Research skills and the ability to independently research a topic/issue
    • Group facilitation – 25-30 youth 
    • Some knowledge of Chicago Public Schools’ structure
    • Some knowledge of Positive Youth Development strategies and values

Required Competencies: 

Must be able to demonstrate the following competencies: 

    • 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

This is a Full-time Level 1 position on Mikva’s organizational chart.  The salary band for this position is $35k-$44k.  Salary amount will be based on budget and work experience.  We also offer a competitive benefits package.

Application Instructions

Please mail your resume and cover letter to: HumanResources@mikvachallenge.org with “NLI Coordinator” in the subject line.  No phone calls will be accepted! Review of applications will begin immediately.  

Candidates should be prepared to offer three professional references upon request.   Candidates will be required to complete a fingerprinted background check in order to work in Chicago Public Schools and with youth, prior to hire.

Equity Statement

At Mikva Challenge, we celebrate difference and are committed to providing equitable opportunities, addressing the effects of power and privilege.  Mikva Challenge is proud to provide 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.  We want to create an empowering space to change lives!

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