FAQs

FAQs
About Enrolling Kids  

What age groups does By The Hand serve?

We serve kids from first grade through college, walking alongside them until they’re walking independently with the Lord as productive adults.

How are kids chosen for the program?

We rely on principals from neighborhood schools to identify and refer kids who are in critical need of intervention. They must be receiving Below Standards or Academic Warning on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) in reading.

Does By The Hand have metrics of success?

Yes, By The Hand has measurable goals for each aspect of child development. Academically, we want our kids to pass all their classes, preferably with all ABCs— and to meet or exceed state standards on their ISAT scores and GPA. Physically, we strive to ensure that 100% of our kids receive a hot, nutritious meal each day and are kept up to date on physicals, immunizations, and eye and dental exams and, if necessary, eyeglasses or other follow-up care.

What’s the involvement of a parent in the program?

We involve our families in our programming, hosting quarterly parent nights and doing monthly home visits for each student. Through the use of technology we also equip parents with reading data and tools to assist their students at home.

What’s your relationship with Chicago Public Schools?

We work very closely with the Chicago Public Schools. We meet monthly with our students’ teachers and receive ISAT results, report cards and status on student progress.

About Funding  

How much does it cost for a student in your program?

The cost for each student to attend By The Hand is $6,300 per year. Staff salaries and benefits, transportation and meals make up a majority of the costs. All of our students receive a full scholarship to attend.

Where does funding for the program come from?

By The Hand receives its funding primarily from individuals, churches, foundations and corporations. There is no endowment. Government funding is only 3% of our budget and subsidizes our meals and healthy snacks.

About Scheduling  

What time of year is By The Hand open?

By The Hand is an after-school program that follows the Chicago Public Schools Track E calendar.

During the school year, when the Chicago Public Schools are not in session, By The Hand programming for kids will not be in session. By The Hand has a summer program for kids. Additionally, By The Hand is busy with eye doctor visits, small group tutoring and other activities during summer and school breaks, which also require help. However, our greatest need for programming support is during the school year.

What do the kids do in the summer?

We serve our kids year-round through summer programming, summer camps and field trips.

What does a typical programming day look like?

Depending on the club, programming is four or five days a week, Monday through Friday, in the after-school hours. For kids coming from district-based schools, By The Hand Club provides safe transportation from schools to the club in the afternoon. Then all of our students are transported safely from the club to their homes at night. While start times and schedules vary by club, a typical day includes:

Chapel
Dinner
Homework
Read Aloud
Computer Learning
Enrichments
Snacks

About Supporting  

How can I financially support By The Hand Club For Kids?

To make a lasting difference, you can contribute with a:

Personal check

Make payable to By The Hand Club For Kids and mail to By The Hand Club For Kids, P.O. Box 10043, Chicago, IL 60610

Online bill pay

Make payable to By The Hand Club For Kids and mail to By The Hand Club For Kids, P.O. Box 10043, Chicago, IL 60610

Credit card

Click here to make an online contribution

Monthly giving

You can set up a monthly giving amount. To do so or for more information, click here.

Employer matching gift program

If your employer has a matching gift program, obtain and complete a signed matching gift form from your employer. Then send the form along with your gift to By The Hand. We will do the rest. Please contact Marilyn Cassells at (312) 329-0705 or Marilyn.Cassells@bythehand.org with any questions. Thank you!

United Way

If By The Hand does not appear in the United Way drop down auto-fill, please fill in our information:

Name: By The Hand Club For Kids
Address: 415 N. Laramie Ave., Chicago, IL 60644
EIN number: 20-3144284

Stock or other securities

Please contact susannah.schwarcz@bythehand.org or (312) 550-3737 to make a stock donation.

Gifts in kind

By The Hand needs many new supplies each year for art, school, the office, athletics and the kitchen, etc. Rather than donating the actual supplies, which often leads to duplication and waste, we kindly request that you consider donating a gift card from a major retailer such as Home Depot, Office Depot, Container Store, Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc. This will allow By The Hand to purchase exactly what is needed, when it is needed. For more information please contact susannah.schwarcz@bythehand.org or (312) 550-3737.

How can I make a recurring online contribution?

Go to the Giving Page, click on Give Now and choose the desired frequency and amount.

How do I make changes to a recurring online contribution?

Contact Marilyn Cassells at marilyn.cassells@bythehand.org or 312-329-0705 to change an existing recurring gift.

About Volunteering  

How can I become involved with By The Hand?

There are numerous ways for individuals, families, churches and corporations to be involved with our kids. The most pressing needs are help with small group Bible studies from 4 – 5pm and homework from 5 – 6:30pm.

How can I volunteer at By The Hand Club?

The first step to becoming a By The Hand volunteer is to complete volunteer application located here, then attend volunteer training.

As a matter of procedure and to ensure our kids’ safety, we will conduct a criminal history background and check references on all volunteers and staff before they work at By The Hand.

Are there requirements for volunteering at By The Hand?

To volunteer on a regular basis working directly with the children, you must be a Christian and agree with our Statement of Faith. You must also be a member or regular attender of a local Bible-believing church for at least six months prior to service. However, volunteering for one-time large service projects with By The Hand Club does not require compliance in areas of faith.

Is there training involved?

Yes, once you complete our application, you and all of the volunteers will be invited to attend an orientation/training session. After training, you will have an opportunity to see what volunteering is like firsthand. We also offer periodic training events and development sessions to volunteers during the year.

How much time does it take to volunteer?

It’s entirely up to you! Volunteers usually volunteer during homework time once a week on Monday through Friday for 1 – 3 hours. We suggest beginning with one day a week, then increasing your time commitment as you get to know the kids.

However, if you are looking to help out in areas besides homework help, there are many other ways to become involved as a Helping Hand. Each site also needs help with door and hall monitors, facilities helpers, prayer warriors, field trip chaperones, etc. Please email volunteer@bythehand.org if you are interested in one of these Helping Hand items.

Are volunteers expected to discipline the kids?

No, volunteers are not expected to discipline the children. However, we want volunteers to be an authoritative figure in the classroom. Volunteers should be willing to help us keep the students on task and report behavioral problems to a staff member. Discipline policies will be covered in more detail during volunteer training.

Is there a dress code for volunteers?

Yes, there is. By The Hand is a faith-based, after-school program, so it is important for staff and volunteers to set an example, including their clothes. For this reason, volunteers are expected to groom and dress themselves in a manner that is modest, professional and appropriate for their specific role or job.

How important is attendance and punctuality?

Showing up and being on time are important to earning and sustaining the trust and respect of our children. It is important to contact the By The Hand staff if you are unable to attend.

Can I bring my own children with me to By The Hand?

Children 12 years and older may come with parents if they remain with and serve under the direct supervision of their parents at all times. Volunteers under 18 should complete a youth assistant form and also attend a volunteer training if possible.

Is it safe to volunteer in the neighborhoods where By The Hand serves?

By The Hand serves children in low-income communities which are frequently characterized by high crime. However, while we cannot completely guarantee your safety, during volunteer training we will share ways to keep you as safe as possible. There are many volunteers who come to each site each day and you can come and go together.

I have a specific skill or area of expertise. Will I be able to volunteer in that area?

Yes, if it is aligned with the mission and goals of By The Hand Club! Our goal is to fully utilize our volunteers while meeting the needs of the program. Therefore, we try to find ways to use special gifts during enrichment time or other activities. Please share with the Volunteer Department staff your interest and we will get you plugged in!

I am not good at tutoring. Are there any other ways I can volunteer?

There are always ways to volunteer with By The Hand without working directly with kids. We call this type of volunteer a Helping Hand. Each site also needs help with door and hall monitors, facilities helpers, prayer warriors, field trip chaperones, and more. Please email volunteer@bythehand.org if you are interested in one of these Helping Hand items.

What is the difference between volunteers and supervisor volunteers?

Supervisor volunteers have gone through an extra level of screening and training, including commitment to our statement of faith and completion of DCFS mandated reporter training; therefore, they have extra privileges including going on field trips with students and working with groups of students outside of the classroom at club.

Do I need to complete the volunteer process every year?

No. Returning volunteers only need to review and sign the Child Protection Policy annually to be approved to return and volunteer.
Click here to download the 2016-2017 Child Protection Policy