Skip to main content

Youth Development


Preparing Teens To Succeed in High School & Beyond

College and Career Readiness helps students gain skills and knowledge to navigate their postsecondary endeavors through one-to-one tutoring, college planning, and job training.

The College and Career Readiness Program offers wrap-around support for teens living in Potomac Gardens, Hopkins, and Benning Terrace public housing communities as they prepare for life after high school–whether that means college, learning a trade, or even military service. 

We meet with middle and high school students weekly and throughout the summer, providing one-to-one tutoring, financial aid and college planning, and guidance through DC’s high school lottery process, and the college application process.

Students at Little Lights face systemic barriers to college access and finding a job. Our goal is to provide an ongoing support system to help remove many of the obstacles that keep low income students stuck in a cycle of poverty. 

Volunteer TodayDonate Today


Helping Build Skills & Understanding

Homework Club pairs volunteer tutors with students to help build skills and understanding while completing homework assignments. Homework Club takes place Monday through Thursday, from 3:30pm to 6:00pm.

With a student-to-tutor ratio of 3:1, we ensure our students daily receive the attention and guidance they need to succeed.

Through our partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, each of our students receives a full, balanced meal each night at Homework Club—a key part of sustained academic success.


One-to-one Tutoring

Reading Heroes helps students develop grade-level literacy skills through one-to-one tutoring.

Each student is paired with a specific tutor for the duration of the semester, sometimes longer, in order to build stability, continuity, and a relationship that aids a student’s academic growth.  Every Tuesday, from 6:00 to 7:00pm, students and tutors work together to complete lesson plans crafted specifically for each student based off of internal assessment results. 

Reading Heroes is a great way to make a direct and meaningful connection to support one of our students.

Volunteer TodayDonate Today


Enjoy Summer To It's Fullest

At Summer Lights, our kids have the opportunity to enjoy summer to the fullest. They explore their interests, cement their math and reading skills, and play in a safe environment. Through our partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, it’s also ensured that they receive a healthy meal. Some of the activities that we offer include:

Cooking, Arts & Crafts, Photography, Reading, Bible Study, Dance, Exercise, Swimming.

Summer Lights has become an exciting staple in many of our communities with kids lining up at the door waiting for it to open, knowing that there will be a smiling face waiting for them.

Volunteer TodayDonate Today


Managing Emotions & Achieving Positive Goals

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) helps students identify, name, and manage their emotions so that they can interact with the world around them in a healthy way.  

SEL helps change the trajectory for children who have experienced trauma and might be manifesting their distress by shutting down, acting out, feeling fatigued, hopeless, etc. Instead, SEL helps reconnect youth to their communities of care and helps them thrive relationally, emotionally, academically, and socially. 

We host SEL sessions weekly and throughout the summer, covering topics like personal boundaries, dealing with sadness, how to cool down when upset, etc. Students can also meet one-to-one with staff trained in SEL at our Homework Club program.

Volunteer TodayDonate Today


Focused Help That Can Make All The Difference

Math Heroes helps students develop grade-level mathematical skills through one-to-one tutoring. Each student is paired with a specific tutor for the duration of the semester, often longer. Every Thursday, from 6:00 to 7:00pm, they work together to complete lesson plans specifically crafted for each student based on their internal assessment results.

Along with the lessons, the relationships students build with their tutors are a significant help to their academic and emotional well-being. Tutors and students often build meaningful relationships with each other, giving tutors the ability to help instill confidence and growth in students.

Volunteer TodayDonate Today


Become a Mentor

Kids and communities are transformed by personal relationships. When Christian adults commit to mentoring our students, we see students, and their families, thrive.

Students at Little Lights live in either Potomac Gardens,  or Hopkins, or Benning Terrace public housing complexes, under-resourced neighborhoods where 90% of youth live in single-parent, female-headed households that exist on less than $14,000 a year. Without intervention, an estimated 2% of these kids will go on to attend college. These kids want – and need – mentors, and yet are unlikely to have one.

As a Christian mentor, your goal is twofold: To love your mentee as God loves, freely and unconditionally, and to model what it means to love and follow Jesus.

Volunteer TodayDonate Today

Becoming a mentor is a tremendous opportunity but also one to consider carefully. During the application and interview process we will work with you to determine if you are ready to step into the role of mentor. In order to apply you must agree to a background check and meet all of the following requirements:

  • be at least 21 years old
  • be a committed Christian
  • be able to commit to at least one year as a mentor (from date of matching, not from application or interview date)
  • commit to spending a minimum of 6 hours/month with your mentee (in-person outings must take place at least every other week and calls (via video or phone) on off weeks)
  • agree to attend monthly mentoring meetings while matched
  • agree to submit monthly reports on time spent with your mentee while matched


Having Fun & Serving Others

Boys and Girls Night offers middle school students the chance to meet weekly throughout the school year with caring mentors to build a community that encourages character and spiritual growth, have fun, and serve others.


A Fun and Safe Place to Spend the Weekends

Saturday Drop In Program offers students a safe, structured, and fun place to spend their weekends. Twice​ ​a month​ from 10am-1pm​, a volunteer group of 6-12 provide personal attention to students, as well as organizing a craft project, and supplying packed lunches for all of the students.

Since Saturday Program involves less structured activity, it is an ideal time for staff and volunteers to forge more personal relationships and spend extended quality time with students.​