May 2016 Associate Board Spotlight: Chicago Lights

If you’re a fan of CharityScenes, All A-Board Alliance’s brand for young professionals interested in nonprofits in Chicago, you may have already stumbled upon Chicago Lights’ work. The organization provides a variety of one-off or longer-term volunteer opportunities—everything from tutoring to feeding the homeless to kids’ dance classes. We spoke with Tim Noce, the Vice President of Chicago Lights’ Associates Board, to learn more about what unites the members of the board and how you can get involved.


CharityScenes: Tim, tell us a little bit about how you first got involved with Chicago Lights.


Tim Noce: I actually started off as a tutor, working one-on-one with a student in the tutoring program. From there, I joined theAssociatesBoard and then was recently elected VP.


CS: Do you find that many of your members come to the Associates Board through volunteering?   


TN: There’s definitely an overlap. In fact, we schedule our meetings after tutoring so members can be involved and keep working with their students if they do both. However, we also get a lot of new members who are just looking to meet new people and make new friends in the area.


CS: Chicago Lights offers a wide variety of programming. What is the thing that unites them all?


TN: Our goal is actually pretty simple: we want to help the Chicago community, especially in the North and West Sides,grow and flourish. We want to help anyone who’s less fortunate (both kids and adults) in any way we can. The ultimate goal is for thecommunities to become self-sustaining. That’s why we focus on tutoring, for example, and the Urban Farm where volunteers and staff grow and sell produce at a produce stand to community members. The proceeds from the food goesright back into the community.


CS: You are affiliated with the Fourth Presbyterian Church. Are people of all faiths welcome to join?


TN: Absolutely! Chicago Lights was founded by the church, but we are now a completely separate non-profit. We continue to have a great partnership with the Fourth Presbyterian Church, which allows us to access their meeting spaces and helps us secure funding and volunteers, among other things. It allows us to focus more on our programs so we really value that relationship.All persuasions and faiths are welcome at Chicago Lights.


CS: What would you say has been the most rewarding part of your involvement with the organization?


TN: For me, it was definitely my involvement in the tutoring program. It was so fulfilling and rewarding to see my student graduate last year. I would also say that what sets us apart from other community organizations is the people involved. I know that seems sort of clichéd, but it’s really an intangible part of what makes Chicago Lights so special and what keeps our board members engaged. It’s wonderful to see people get active in the organization because they want to make the community a better place.


CS: That’s great! For young professionals looking to get involved in your board, where should they start?


TN: We are always looking to welcome new members and we genuinely have fun as a group. We ask for a donation to the board to join, but there is no minimum. We host lots of fun events—such as karaoke nights, trolley rides, even a really great field day event last year—that all lead up to the annual gala the first weekend in November, GLOW, our biggest event of the year. We do volunteer activities, such as street outreach and Sunday Night Supper to the homeless, as an Associates board as well. We find that our focus on service keeps people engagedand that volunteer events are some of our biggest and most popular events

If you’re interested ways to get involved and serve the community, Chicago Lights offers lots of opportunities to volunteer and try something new from a service standpoint as well as fun events throughout the year. We offer many long-termservice commitments as well as one-off opportunities to get involved with. All you have to do is want to make a difference.


Intrigued? For more on the Chicago Lights AssociatesBoard, click here.