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General Program Application

Mikva Challenge IL youth programs are currently underway in Chicago!

All programs begin in June with summer programming, and some continue on through the school year.  The programs are:


Neighborhood Leadership Initiative (NLI) |

NLI is a leadership program for 13-15 year old youth living or going to school in North Lawndale, Gage Park, and New City/Back of the Yards. Each session, youth get to know each other, engage in community-building games, and discuss and research issues around violence in their neighborhood. The ultimate goals are to gain leadership skills and meet with adult leaders, such as aldermen, to include youth voice in the changes they want to see in their communities.

Citywide Youth Councils (CYCs) |

Citywide Youth Councils serve as a mechanism for current 9th -11th graders to have input on city policy. Each CYC consists of 20-25 young people from across the city who meet to participate in team building, leadership development, research, and the creation of policy proposals to key decision makers in city government.  Citywide Youth Councils allow youth to have a voice in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policy; our councils include Chicago Housing Authority Youth Council (CHA), Juvenile Justice Council (JJC), CPS Student Advisory Council (SAC), Teen Health Council (THC), and Youth Safety Advisory Council (YSAC).

Mikva Summer Fellows – summer only |

The Mikva Summer Fellows program offers graduating high school seniors the opportunity to gain experience in a political office setting while also developing their own leadership skills and building a team with their peers. Summer Fellows work for 6 weeks, likely June 29th – August 7th, for 21 hours each week. Summer Fellows serve in an assigned local elected official’s office for 16 hours a week and also attend one weekly 5 hour workshop downtown with other Summer Fellows to build community, explore their leadership strengths, and prepare for their next steps after high school. Youth are provided with lunch on the days of their downtown sessions and public transportation assistance to support their work schedule.

If you are interested in learning more about one of these programs, please click here


The recruitment period has passed, but you can still contact us about interest in our programs. It will take approximately 5 minutes to complete the form.  You will be asked to provide basic information about you and your school.  Please be sure to click on submit at the end of the application.

Any questions about the application process can be sent to youthprograms@mikvachallenge.org

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 be an equal employment opportunity workplace. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, veteran status, or any other factor covered by federal, state, or local statutes. We want to create an empowering space to change lives!