Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions we receive here at By The Hand. If you can’t find the answer that you are looking for, or simply would like to talk to someone, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Enrolling and Scheduling


What age groups does By The Hand serve?

We serve kids from kindergarten through college. When you help make The Solution possible, you are taking them by the hand and walking with them from the time they enroll in By The Hand until they’ve graduated from college. And we continue to be a part of their lives.


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.


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, By The Hand programming will not be in session when Chicago Public Schools are not in session. During the summer, By The Hand has a program for kids.

Even during school breaks, By The Hand is active—providing eye doctor visits, small group tutoring and other activities. But 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 is a typical programming day?

Programming is during the after-school hours—either four or five days a week, depending on the club. 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

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 of 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 percent of our kids receive a hot, nutritious meal each day and are kept up to date on physicals, immunizations, 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 help their kids learn 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.

Funding and Giving


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

The cost for each student to attend By The Hand is approximately $6,500 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 come from for the program?

By The Hand is not endowed. By The Hand funding is primarily from individuals, churches, foundations and corporations. Government funding accounts for only five percent of our budget and subsidizes our meals and healthy snacks.


Can I give by check?

Yes, your contribution will help make The Solution possible. To give by check, please make your check payable to By The Hand Club For Kids and mail to:

By The Hand Club For Kids
P.O. Box 10043
Chicago, IL 60610


Can I give with a credit card?

Yes. Click here to make an online contribution.


How can I set up a recurring online gift?

We call our monthly donors Club Champions. To learn more or to begin giving a set amount each month, click here.


How can I make a change to a recurring online gift?

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


Do you have an employer matching gift program?

Yes, and it’s a great way to maximize the impact of your gift. If your employer has a matching gift program, please obtain, complete and sign the 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!


Can I give through the United Way?

Yes. 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


How can I donate stock or other securities?

Please contact marilyn.cassells@bythehand.org or 312-329-0705 to make a stock donation.


Can I make a “gift in kind?”

By The Hand needs supplies each year for art, school, the office, athletics, the kitchen, etc.

To donate supplies, please do so by providing a gift card from a major retailer like Home Depot, Office Depot, Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy. By The Hand can then buy what’s needed when it’s needed. This will prevent duplication and waste. For more information, please contact marilyn.cassells@bythehand.org or 312-329-0705.

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 to help them become The Solution. The most pressing needs are help with homework, small group Bible studies and enrichment activities.


How can I volunteer at By The Hand?

The first step to becoming a By The Hand volunteer is to complete volunteer application, 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?

By The Hand is a faith-based, after-school program. To work directly and regularly with the children, you must agree with our statement of faith or agree not to contradict our statement of faith. To serve as a supervisor volunteer, you must be a member or regular attendee of a local Bible-believing church for at least six months before serving with By The Hand. 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 other 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! For homework time, volunteering once a week for one to three hours is typical. 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.


Are there other ways to volunteer besides tutoring?

There are many ways to volunteer with By The Hand without working directly with kids. Each site 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 volunteer opportunities.


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 of By The Hand Club! We try to find opportunities for our volunteers to use their gifting in ways that meet the needs of the program. Please share with the Volunteer Department staff your interest to get plugged in!


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. For this reason, volunteers are expected to groom and dress in a manner that is modest, professional and appropriate for their role.


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 guardian consent form and, if possible, attend a volunteer training.


Is it safe to volunteer where By The Hand is located?

By The Hand serves children in low-income neighborhoods, which are frequently high crime areas. However, while we cannot completely guarantee your safety, we include ways to keep you as safe as possible during volunteer training. Many volunteers come to each site each day, and you can come and go together.


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 By The Hand Child Protection Policy.


What locations can I volunteer at?

Altgeld-Murray
13015 S Ellis Ave
Chicago, IL 60827
(773) 413-0895
Monday–Thursday 3:30–7:00pm

Austin
415 N Laramie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60644
(773) 413-0895
Monday–Thursday 3:30–7:00pm

Austin—Moving Everest
416 N Laramie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60644
(773) 413-0895
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 3:30–6:00pm
Wednesday 1:30–6:00pm

Cabrini-Green
1000 N. Sedgwick St
Chicago, IL 60610
(773) 413-0895
Monday–Thursday 3:30–6:30pm

Englewood
838 W Marquette Rd
Chicago, IL 60621
(773) 413-0895
Monday–Thursday 3:30–7:00pm

NXT Enrichment Center
312 W Walton St
Chicago, IL 60610
Friday 6:00–7:30pm
Saturday 12:30–2:00pm

Still Have Questons?

We know that sometimes it’s easier to talk with someone directly. If you have any questions or can’t find what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

(312) 550-3737
contact@bythehand.org