Join a community of hundreds of corps members and alumni working to give students the opportunity to live a life of their choosing.
A big city with Midwestern friendliness, Chicago will never cease to surprise you. Chicago has long been a prominent destination for people looking for new opportunities, both from within the United States and abroad. The city exemplifies this history through its 77 distinctive neighborhoods, which are shaped by traditions brought from countries across the globe. Though it has all of the benefits of a major metropolis—an extensive public transit system, phenomenal theaters and museums, beautiful public parks—Chicago's neighborhoods, and the communities built within them, are the heart and soul of the city.
Northwest Indiana North Chicago provide corps members with the opportunity to be a part of a small, tight-knit community within the context of a large, urban region. In Northwest Indiana, we place corps members in Gary, a city of 80,000 residents. North Chicago, in Northern Illinois, is a city of 30,000 residents.
These communities in Chicago, North Chicago, and Northwest Indiana are deeply engaged in local politics and policy. Parents advocate for their students, teachers push politicians on issues of access and equity, and students make their voices heard. This dedication and passion has resulted in incredible progress for local school districts. Chicago is now the fastest improving urban school district in the country, but there is still much work to be done. Both within and outside of the classroom, there are countless opportunities for corps members looking to make a difference.
CPS freshmen who say they want to graduate from college
CPS students who earn a bachelor’s degree
“Something that’s been instrumental to VOCEL’s success is continuing to be connected to a growing alumni base of people who are committed to doing what’s best for children, and also being really innovative and urgent about getting there.”
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and you’ll never run out of different destinations to explore—whether you’re looking for your new favorite book store, your new favorite deep dish joint, or if you’re just on the hunt for the next Tina Fey/Amy Poehler duo. We’re pretty confident no matter how much time you spend here, you’ll never run out of things to do (some of them may even be free).
One of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods, Hyde Park is a great choice for our numerous corps members placed in schools in nearby Woodlawn, Washington Park, and Englewood. Located on the city’s South Side, it’s home to the University of Chicago, which means that Hyde Park residents benefit from an array of fantastic bookstores and public lecture series. On the university’s campus are the Oriental Institute and the Smart Museum of Art, and just under two miles away is Chicago’s famed Museum of Science and Industry. In the summer, corps members go swimming off of Promontory Point, which also offers amazing views of the Chicago skyline. Hyde Park is also ideal for music lovers, who can pick up some vinyl at Hyde Park Records, check out a concert at The Promontory, or experience the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.
Located on the northwest side of Chicago, this neighborhood is well known for its vibrant murals, historic boulevards, and phenomenal food. Humboldt Park itself is one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces, where kids get to imagine playing for the Cubs or White Sox in a replica baseball stadium, residents enjoy Latin Jazz festivals and domino games near the inland beach, and families take photos at the famed boathouse. In the summer, corps members can often be found in the park or cruising along the 606, an abandoned rail line turned elevated trail that runs through Humboldt, Logan Square, Bucktown, and Wicker Park. In the winter months, residents can visit the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (which was once the horse stables for the park), explore the various shops on Division, or do what Chicagoans do best: eat! Humboldt has an endless array of restaurants, and though it’s famous for its Puerto Rican cuisine, it has fantastic sushi, burgers, and bakeries as well.
Hammond is the fifth largest city in Indiana, and one of the oldest in Lake County. It’s located at the very northwestern corner of the state, right along the Indiana–Illinois border. Home to 80,000 residents, it is the most populated city in its county and is part of the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area. Sitting along Lake Michigan, Hammond has spectacular views as well as numerous recreational and entertainment opportunities. Corps members, and the larger community, have a diverse group of activities to keep them occupied year-round. Popular attractions include exploring the Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, enjoying a concert at Horseshoe Casino or Wolf Lake Pavilion, and having some outdoor water fun at the Hammond Marina.
Our Regional Partners
We value our partnerships with local schools, districts, universities, businesses, and other organizations. Our partners play a critical role in creating opportunities for children in our communities.
Calumet College of St. Joseph
Relay Graduate School of Education
21st Century Charter Schools
Acero Charter Schools
Alaine Locke Charter
Amandla Charter School
Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools
Catalyst Charter Schools
Charter School of the Dunes
Chicago Collegiate Charter School
Chicago Math & Science Academy
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Tech Academy
Children's Home and Aid
Civitas Education Partners
Empowered Community Schools
Foundations College Prep
Frazier Prep Academy
Gads Hill Center
Great Lakes Academy
Henry Booth House
Horizons Science Academies
Instituto Health Sciences
Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy
KIPP Charter Schools
LEARN Charter Schools
Legal Prep Charter School
Metro Family Services
Montessori School of Englewood
Moving Everest Charter School
Noble Network of Charter Schools
North Chicago School District
North Lawndale College Prep
One Hope United
Perspectives Charter Schools
Plato Learning Academy
Providence Englewood Charter School
Rowe Elementary Charter School
School City of East Chicago
School City of Hammond
Steel City Academy
UChicago Charter Schools
West Town Academy
Young Scholars Development Institute