Picture this…

Young men pressured to join gangs launch a music production studio and successfully recruit those who had tried to recruit them.

A school where racial tension and bullying interfered with classroom learning now has a Kindness Club, and the school principal reports "kindness is everywhere in the building."

Adults open bank accounts after kids create and circulate brochures with side-by-side comparisons of check cashing services versus bank services. 



what we do

Our programs are designed to prepare young people for the roles and responsibilities of adulthood. To meet that need we design programs using our research-based curriculum, train instructors and provide ongoing support as they implement the program, coordinate guest speakers and special events, and collaborate with our partners to assess the impact of our work.


Leadership is not a unitary concept with one clear and unambiguous definition. Nor can it be accurately or usefully assessed simply or reductionistically. Leadership comprises several component skills that participants practice with each other in CLF programs. These components — which often appear in conceptualizations of social emotional learning – overlap, complement, and reinforce each other.

People do not need titles or official positions to become leaders, but they do need to develop their ability to engage ethically with others. CLF encourages individuals to treat others with compassion and practice resilience in the face of obstacles. Participants are empowered to act courageously and change the conditions of their own lives and the lives of others — treating others with humility and being willing to seek help. By practicing accountability, participants take responsibility for their actions, regardless of their original intentions.

CLF programs provide opportunities for youth to find their voice, to forge a strong and stable identity as members of a global community, and to accomplish — and lead others to accomplish — positive and constructive goals.

finding success

Our goal is to partner with middle schools across Chicago, and the country, to impact the lives of our most vulnerable youth. The best indicator of success is seeing our partner schools and organizations flourish and thrive. Preparing students to be active and engaged global citizens takes a community, and CLF is proud to be a part of that solution.