We help churches and other organizations adopt schools to remove the barriers that disrupt a quality education for Chicago students. We envision a thriving school culture and rich academic experience at all Chicago-land schools.

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Hands Across Chicago 2024

Standing together in united prayer and action for peace in Chicago — including Love Your School activities

2024 Love Your School Friendraiser

Park Community Church - Near North 1001 N Crosby St, Chicago

This year's theme: Impact that Lasts

We will highlight partnerships taking place across Chicago, to enhance the education experience for students.

Take Action to adopt your local school and join the Love Your School initiative

#1 – PRAY

Pray faithfully for and at your local school

Become a Prayer Champion

#2 – CARE

Support children and families in your community

Get involved!


Mentor, tutor, or support an enrichment program

Register for our next Village of Support meeting and get onboarding assistance.

#4 – LEAD

Work to address the top 1-3 needs of your local school

Register for our next Village of Support meeting and get onboarding assistance.


If you are already supporting a school, join our Village of Support

We are stronger together!

We have learning modules that explain all of the LYS details — Access Virtual Course

If your church or organization is adopting a school, we welcome you to join our Love Your School Village of Support


View TC Education Locations in a full screen map


TC Education Impact Report

LYS Partnership Flyer

School Action Plan


Our education work is taking place in 100 schools

Over 100 tutors and mentors are involved

Over 3,000 students impacted through our programs

From CPS CEO Pedro Martinez:

“Participating in the Together Chicago panel energized me. The collaboration I saw between school leaders, faith-based organizations, and other community partners made me feel confident that our students will be able to reach their full potential through support both from CPS and their broader communities. I am excited to see the Together Chicago pilot sites expand to ensure that more students, especially on the South and West Sides, receive the mentorship and guidance they need to excel academically and develop into the future leaders of our city.”

Volunteer Mentor:

“Since I’ve been involved in mentoring at a local school, I’ve learned to be more patient and understanding.”

Volunteer Tutor:

“Although these kids are so young, they deal with many difficulties outside of school. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have the right things to say back to them, but I believe that giving them that safe space to just release their thoughts and refocus their attention is beneficial.”

From Amy Governale of North Park University:

“The Friendraiser was a great opportunity to see how Together Chicago’s Education initiatives build villages of care around schools. The organization of the event around transformative programs, comprehensive wrap around services, and big, public wins, solidified the work and progress Together Chicago is accomplishing. I made a lot of great connections with groups who are just as committed to supporting the holistic well-being of Chicago’s students. I’m so proud to be involved with Together Chicago and look forward to our continued work.”

Volunteer at Lovett ES:

“I truly appreciate the insight I have been able to gain from communicating and establishing relationships with all the students I engage with. The interactions and topics of discussion I have had with the students has checked a lot of my biases and its encouraged me to be a critically and racially/culturally aware individual outside the setting of Lovett as well.”

Our Team

Prayer & Mobilization Coordinator

Kimberly Harshman

Kimberly Harshman did her Pastoral studies at Global University with Assemblies of God. After nearly 20 years in youth and children’s ministry, she felt a call on her life to make prayer and intercession her full time occupation. She participated in an internship with International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC), where she later went on staff as a full time Intercessor in the 24/7 Global Prayer Room. As an overflow of that prayer, she worked as the Prayer Coordinator for the anti-human trafficking organization, Exodus Cry. She coordinated global prayer watches for the ending of human trafficking and managed the Human Trafficking Museum.

Kimberly has brought her passion for prayer to Together Chicago by mobilizing Prayer Partners to pray for the Five Focus Areas of Together Chicago. Each week she gathers the Leadership Team’s prayer needs and emails them out to our Prayer Partners. She also leads the Together Chicago Prayer Partners Prayer Zoom two days a week.

Kimberly leads an initiative called Love Your School Prayer Corners, where Prayer Champions are signing up all over the city and suburbs to adopt a school in their neighborhood where they go and pray each week for students, teachers and staff. As an overflow of her prayer for the youth in our city, she helps lead our Intervention Connection Team, to provide resources and direction to youth who have been involved in gun violence and crime.

Support Kimberly’s Prayer Ministry

Director of Education Initiatives

Damien Howard

Damien Howard is an educator with 12 years of experience, primarily with Chicago Public Schools. He cares deeply about Urban Education Reform. Damien teaches character development and life skills to help students thrive in all aspects of their lives.  His current work targets schools on the South and West sides of Chicago.

Damien graduated from the University of Illinois (05′) with a degree in Special Education. Damien received his M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (10′). Damien is married to Sharial and Gabrielle is their daughter.

Education Fundraising & Development Lead

Alandis Phillips

Alandis R. Phillips has a diverse professional background with expertise in college student development, staff development, and strategic programming. He naturally connects with people and uses his gift of relation building to be a conduit for resources. Born and raised in Chicago’s West Pullman & Englewood neighborhoods; he directly aligns with the mission and values of Together Chicago. He aims to utilize his gifts and professional skillset to aid in ensuring that inner-city youth receive the skills and resources necessary to be successful students and holistically healthy members of society.

Alandis is a first-generation double alum of Northern Illinois University. While at NIU, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a Master of Science in Adult & Higher Education. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, a socialite, basketball enthusiast, charismatic speaker, and most importantly, a proud Dad to his daughter, Ava.

Education Programs Specialist

Dr. Deborah Umrani

Deborah Um’rani is a native Chicagoan. She is the mother of Annisah (an attorney in Washington, D.C.) and Khalil (an investment banker in Atlanta) and the wife of Rashad for 38 years. She served at the University of Illinois as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Education. For 17 years, she led the pipeline initiatives for the Urban Health Program as the Visiting Director of Undergraduate Programs and Assessment and as the Director of the Early Outreach Program. Dr. Um’rani has designed, implemented and evaluated pipeline initiatives and educational and enrichment programs for underserved youth to prepare them for careers in S.T.E.M. disciplines. Annually, she provided academic and student support services to over 800 students who attend elementary school, high school, college, and graduate and professional degree programs. She has been very successful in supporting a cadre of talented African-American, Latino and Native American students and increasing their persistence in S.T.E.M. disciplines and careers in the health sciences. Over the years, Um’rani has expanded the minds and increased the options, while broadening the horizons of Chicago residents. She has been an incredible nexus for providing curricular options and co-curricular research, internship and volunteer opportunities throughout Cook County.


Be a part of this collective effort to improve educational outcomes

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