High School Acceptance

This fall, four eighth grade students who participate in Breakthrough’s Nettie Bailey Student Achievement Program began the process of applying to the high schools of their choice. By the end of December, the application deadlines will have passed, and students will wait until next…More >

Now Until Dec 31. Donate $50 and get a FREE SEER Outfitters Shirt designed by Kyle Korver of the Chicago Bulls.

Men’s and women’s hoodies…More >


An Unexpected Transformation

Breakthrough invited everyone to attend the Annual Benefit on Friday, October 28. This year’s theme, IMAGINE, is…More >


New Suburban Store Helps Benefit Breakthrough

Do you have good clothes in your closet that you don’t wear anymore?  Or maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer at Breakthrough but couldn’t spare time for the drive into the city? “There’s an exciting new opportunity for people to get involved in supporting Breakthrough– a great way  for…More >

Our Daily Bread (And Vegetables)

Breakthrough was created when a few church members began serving hot coffee and sandwiches to homeless people. Now, almost 20 years later, food is still an important component of the…More >

Leading by Example

Corey and Tamica have already left an important legacy for their children, Keith, Lavondia, and Kevon. “I admire how they’ve set their kids up to be successful,” says Breakthrough’s Director of Youth &…More >

Compassion On The Move

Jim and Susan have long followed God’s call, even when that meant finding a new home. In the mid-1990’s, they moved into Chicago from the suburbs, started attending the First Evangelical Free Church in Edgewater (First Free), and became involved at Breakthrough, which…More >

Happy New Year,
Happy New Home

On the last day of the year, as clocks all over Chicago counted down the hours left in 2010, nearly 20 Breakthrough volunteers and several Breakthrough staff members…More >

Good Connections Make A Difference

Lamar has overcome many of the struggles that have snagged his peers. Only 37…More >

Everyone Has Something To Offer: Mentor & Friend, Bill Curry

Lamar was 10 when he first met Bill, who is now the Chief Operating Officer of Breakthrough Urban Ministries. At that time, Bill was responsible for…More >

Nurturing Networks To Sustain Youth:
Thoughts from Marcie, Director Of Youth & Family Services

Marcie had only been on staff at Breakthrough Urban Ministries for a year or two when she first met Lamar….More >

Passing On The Positive

This is the seventh installment of our focus on Breakthrough’s Network Model.

While the cycle of poverty, despair and violence still grips some families in communities like East Garfield Park, there are new circles of hope emerging from the struggle. As a young…More >

Cabrini Green Legal Aid

Breakthrough is happy to announce a new partnership with Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA). East Garfield Park residents will now have access to free legal aid every first and third Tuesday of the month at the Breakthrough Ministry Center, where More >


Lamar’s Aunt, Wanda

Lamar has received a lot of love and support from his family, including his aunt, Wanda. “I had a lot of…More >

Mr. Wipachit—principal

Besides the coaches, tutors, mentors and family members in his network of support, Lamar includes his high school principal, Mr. Wipachit.

Mr. Wipachit leads a team of faculty and administrators who…More >


Kevin – Pastor, Coach and Mentor

This is the fourth installment of our focus on Breakthrough’s Network Model.

Kevin understands the great need for…More >

Joshua 24/7

It’s been just over a year since the Breakthrough Joshua Center expanded hours to become operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week – even in the face of a tough economy. Until the beginning of 2009, Breakthrough’s facility for women closed shortly after lunch and did not reopen until early…More >

Go Behind the Scenes

What does it really take to help children overcome barriers like poverty? Why is it so hard for homeless persons to get back on their feet? Find out when you take a More >

Tribute to Bette Ann Camacho

Bette Ann Camacho didn’t know what to expect when her daughter-in-law, Kathy Jo Camacho, first invited her to help serve breakfast at Breakthrough’s Joshua Center.

Born on May 8, 1939, Bette Ann grew up on the Northwest side of Chicago. She raised two fine children, was married for over fifty years…More >


In-depth with the Network Model

Breakthrough uses its Network Model to build a framework of caring relationships for youth and adults, providing them with support and opportunities they would not otherwise have. It is a groundbreaking approach to providing…More >


Breakthrough Moves Forward

In a difficult year when several Chicago nonprofits and service providers were forced to close their doors, Breakthrough Urban Ministries has not cut a single staff position or cut back on any of our services. This is all thanks to your continued and generous support.

We have much to praise God about for the way we.ve been…More >

We Are Better Together

Antonio Daniels is a case manager and life coach at Breakthrough Urban Ministries. He came on staff just a year ago, but already Tony.s life has been changed in ways that he wasn.t counting on. In this season of reflection, he examines the gift of learning from Breakthrough.s guests, staff and…More >

Thankful . Even In Difficult Times

The holidays can be an especially difficult time for many, including people who have no family or are estranged from their family. But many guests at Breakthrough Urban Ministries still have much to say about what they are thankful for.

Dorise was able to keep her family together and gain a stronger support system. .I am a single…More >


Spread Christmas Joy By Sorting Toys!

Breakthrough volunteers are gearing up for the Annual Christmas Store. This year’s event will be Saturday, December 19th at the Breakthrough Ministry Center. The Store provides a festive environment where shelter guests and neighborhood residents…More >


A Wondrous Event

Thanks to everyone who attended our Annual Benefit on Friday night, October 30th. Together we raised over $877,000 to support life-changing work in the city.

Praise God!

Also, in case you missed it, take a look at the Breakthrough Network Model video.

More >

The Tables Are Set For Miracles

“Table hosting is the most significant way we can be a part of the ministry,” says Keith Sunahara. Keith and his wife, Janice, have been table hosts at Breakthrough Urban Ministries’ Annual Benefit for the past five years. “Right now, our schedules and…More >


New Library Is a Rich Community Resource

A reading bug has spread through families who visit the Breakthrough Joshua Center. Throughout the day, many residents of East Garfield Park visit the second floor library, which opened last January. For a neighborhood that has long struggled with poverty, it is an important resource, an oasis to explore new things.

.What…More >

New LaunchPAD Program

This fall, five young men from Chicago.s west side will take an important step forward as they move into apartments at the Breakthrough Ministry Center and begin an 18-month journey of personal development called LaunchPAD. The new program encourages 18-24 year olds to maintain and further…More >

Summer Studies Kicks Off

Each July, Breakthrough Urban Ministries offers Summer Studies, a program for youth in K-8th grades. .It.s a great chance to focus on particular topics and enrichment type activities,. says K-5th Grade Academic Coordinator, Andrea Jensen. .We.re able to offer learning opportunities that we can.t get to during the school year..

Students…More >

Learning Economic Recovery From The Ground Up

.We want to explore community and our relationship to it,. says 6-12th Grade Academic Coordinator, Seth El-Jamal. .Our young people know what it.s like to live in a neighborhood that struggles. We want them to become agents of change, and we…More >

Summer Camp Fun Builds Life Skills

There is discontent in the Robinson household, and the loudest voice belongs to 10 year old, Genesis. .She wrote a very long paper addressed to me on why I should let her miss the first week of school to attend Camp Timber-lee,. says mom, Crystal. .The kids love camp, but I can.t let them miss school!.

This August,…More >

Summer Program Opens Doors Of Opportunity

Since Brenda and her husband work full time, they were thankful to find a summer academic program for their children to attend. Brenda attends school full time and will graduate in December with a degree in criminal justice. She also works part time, and her husband works…More >

Share the Spirit of Giving

It’s a great joy to give gifts to others, and many of us feel that in abundance at Christmastime. Unfortunately, for many of Breakthrough’s guests and neighbors, holiday gift-giving brings on an added stress with little money to spare.

For several years, volunteers like Don and Amanda have helped put on…More >


Making Community

No matter what time of year, the love and support of family or good friends is immeasurable. Breakthrough Urban Ministries intentionally helps foster such an environment, and this extends to men and women who have…More >


Don’t Miss This Thursday’s Gathering!

This Thursday, October 6, the Breakthrough family will gather to pray and praise God. “Everyone is invited to attend,” says Director of Spiritual Development , Mike Murphy. “This is a great…More >


Teaming Up for Fitness

Breakthrough is excited to announce that a new youth fitness center will be opening on Monday, October 17. A generous donation from the Chicago Bulls Foundation has…More >


Home Court Brings Together
A Strong Offensive Team

Breakthrough’s Home Court is well underway in East Garfield Park. The Friday night sessions are feature…More >

Teaming Up Against Hunger

“East Garfield Park, and many other neighborhoods, are a high priority for us because of the great need,” says Bob Dolgan, Communications Director for the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). “Even before the term ‘food desert’ was coined, the Greater Chicago Food…More >

Summer Studies Brings New Faces, New Books

School is almost out, and youth in East Garfield Park are ready for summer fun. For many, that will include time spent at Breakthrough in the Summer Studies program. This summer’s session will run from June 27 to August 4, Monday to Thursday. Kids enjoy learning in a more relaxed atmosphere, and Breakthrough staff members…More >

Home Court

Summer is here, and if you listen very closely, you’ll hear a growing chorus of basketballs thumping away on concrete courts and alleys all over East Garfield Park. As school lets out for summer break, many youth take…More >

Meeting Of The Minds

Even before launching an on-site health care program for women at the Breakthrough Joshua Center in 2001, Breakthrough staff was well aware of the need for mental health care as part of overall health. Guests who have experienced psychological or physical abuse need…More >

Meet the Matthews Family

Corey and Tamica are raising three children in East Garfield Park, where they also grew up. They are active in the community, helping at Breakthrough and working with the police department to keep the streets safe. Corey feels that things are looking up for the neighborhood. “It’s quieter now than it used to be…less negative…More >

You Can Leave A Legacy (Yes, YOU! )

Have you thought about increasing your financial support to Breakthrough, but feel that you don’t have the extra funds to give at this time in your life? Planned giving is a way to commit resources to Breakthrough now for use in the future, once your current income and needs change.

More >

Planned Giving At A Glance

Broadly, the three types of planned gifts are:

  • Outright gifts that use appreciated assets as a substitute for cash (ex: art, stock, land)
  • Gifts that return income or other financial benefits to the donor in return for the contribution (ex: Charitable Remainder Trusts)
  • Gifts payable upon the…More >

Matters of the Heart

February is American Heart Month, a good time to take stock of our own health and help others who struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We asked Madelyn Bell, Breakthrough’s Behavioral Health Coordinator, and Christine Smith, Nurse Practitioner with…More >

Community Residents Want
to Improve Their Health

According to a health needs assessment administered by three University of Illinois, Chicago students last year, 53% of East Garfield Park residents did not have health insurance. The study came out of a partnership between UIC, Circle Family Care and Breakthrough Urban…More >

Christmas Store 2010: Success!

On Saturday, December 18th, over 350 families and individuals in the East Garfield Park neighborhood took part in the 9th annual Breakthrough Christmas Store. Every year, the Breakthrough Christmas Store empowers the local community and Breakthrough guests to purchase new toys…More >

Hope Restored

Christmastime is bittersweet for Bradley, a guest at the Breakthrough Ministry Center. Still, he feels hope…even after passing through periods of deep despair.

“I had a wonderful life,” he says. Bradley met his wife shortly after graduating from high school. After they married, he adopted her two children from a…More >


Dream BIG – “When I Grow Up”

More >

In All Things, Being Thankful

Although she will not spend Thanksgiving with her own family this year, Donna will not be alone. She also has much gratitude to express. “I praise God that I’m not still using drugs,” she says. “I praise God for the air I breathe. I am thankful for the people who have been placed in my path to help me…More >

Good Food And Conversation…

Myriame, a guest in Breakthrough’s Interim Housing program, has fond memories of family Thanksgivings in South Dakota. “My dad’s side of the family was large, so there were lots of us around the table. We’d spend the day playing sports…tackle football,…More >

Why I Attend The Annual Benefit

Lauren first attended the Breakthrough’s Annual Benefit last year, when she was invited by a friend from her church who hosted a table. She was not yet a Breakthrough volunteer, but she was looking to connect with…More >

Breakthrough Bots Build For Success

Technology comes to life every week for a team of students at Breakthrough Urban Ministries. For the past 18 months, a small group of youth have received hands-on experience by planning…More >

Upcoming Events

Prayer Gathering, Thursday, November 4, 6-7pm**: This gathering will focus on the Street Outreach Ministry.

Simple Compassion event with Author Keri Wyatt Kent, Friday, October 30, 9am-3pm: Is God stirring your soul, asking you to connect your faith with action? How can your…More >

Students Make Big Academic Gains

The school year has begun for students in East Garfield Park, and Breakthrough Urban Ministries is excited to announce some important…More >

Fertile Ground Can Produce Opportunities

Summer is gone, but for anyone who is fortunate enough to have access to a farmer’s market – or a small garden of their own – this is prime time for enjoying fresh local vegetables. Now, guests and community members can experience the…More >

Upcoming Volunteer Engage events

Thursday, October 7th, 6-7pm**: Prayer gathering, focusing on the Fresh Market
(**Prayer gatherings will always occur the first Thursday of the month, from 6-7pm, at the Breakthrough Ministry Center.)

Friday, October 22nd, 6:00pm: Arise and Shine! Breakthrough…More >


Get The Invisible

Discover what you can do to find and serve the ‘least of these’. Get the newly released paperback, The Invisible, by Arloa Sutter.

Through her own…More >


Volunteer Engage

The Volunteer Engage initiative helps volunteers and friends of Breakthrough move in the direction of becoming more effective ministry partners. It consists of opportunities for volunteers to learn more about urban ministry and the major issues facing urban America, to fellowship and share best-practices with other…More >


BUILD – A Chance to
Learn & Explore

The fall BUILD program at Breakthrough Urban Ministries begins Thursday, September 16. Mike…More >

Connections Make The Difference

Leo’s success is proof of the power of networking. It also helps that he’s willing to be flexible. “I’ll do general labor, construction…you name it,” says Leo. “Not everyone wants to work for $6 or $7 an hour, but I will. In the long run, it adds up, and sometimes those are the jobs that help pay the…More >


A Legacy of Faith

Even though her two children are grown, Valerie wants to leave a legacy to them which demonstrates the power of God’s compassion and grace in her life. “I’ve made a lot of bad choices, and…More >

Ending Hunger, Restoring Dignity

Nobody understands the shame that can be associated with a “handout” better than some of Breakthrough’s Fresh Market volunteers. “All of the Three Crosses of Calvary volunteers have experienced poverty or hunger either directly or…More >


Park Community Church

Manna Ministry Volunteers provide warm and nutritious meals for Breakthrough’s adult guests. But as Benson, a Manna Ministry volunteer, can attest, there’s more to meal service than good food. Most of the time,…More >


Following God’s Call To Be Transformed

Roz obeyed when she felt God tug on her heart one day, and she hasn’t been quite the same since. Listening to Moody Bible’s radio station, she heard…More >

Food Program Is Life Giving – For All

Volunteering with Breakthrough’s Fresh Market has forever changed Ellen’s life. Ellen, a senior at Wheaton College, has been a volunteer with the program since its Grand Opening last year. She and other volunteers perform operational tasks that make the dynamic…More >


Life Lessons Through Sports

Matt is a volunteer coach with Breakthrough’s youth sports leagues. Once a week during football and basketball seasons, he helps his team prepare for and play a game. More…More >

Teaching Skills through Robotics

Bob Woodley is a pretty tech-savvy guy. “Believe it or not, I first learned about Breakthrough by following Arloa Sutter on Twitter!” After a bit of dialogue with some of Breakthrough’s staff, Bob knew exactly where he could use his skills: working with the Breakthrough youth to…More >

Ryan, Baseball Coach and Mentor

This is the third installment of our focus on Breakthrough’s Network Model.

Volunteering as a coach for Breakthrough’s Youth and Family Services Program has forever altered…More >


Lamar’s Network

This is the second installment of our focus on Breakthrough’s Network Model. For the first article, an…More >


Freeing Sandra

At 40, Sandra continues her lifelong struggle to be on her own – but safe in God’s care. It is a conflict that began even before she was born. Just as God knows people and…More >


Experience Is Sweet Success For Students

Every time people buy snacks or drinks from a vending machine at Breakthrough, they support a piece of hands-on education for a group of older students…More >


Community Groups Help Eliminate Isolation

One major goal for Breakthrough.s guests is to move from transitional housing into permanent housing. In other words, they want to move out of Breakthrough.s Dwelling Place.

But while getting out on their own again is something that they look…More >

Volunteer Trades In His Blackberry

Like so many others, Aram has felt the pressure of unemployment. “It felt like a circus of producing resumes, sitting through interviews and waiting…lots of waiting,” says Aram. Finally, his stress hit an apex. “I was given a verbal offer by a very well-known company, but after a…More >


Breakthrough COO Inducted Into Leadership Greater Chicago

Bill Curry, Chief Operating Officer of Breakthrough Urban Ministries, was recently accepted into the 2010 Class of Leadership Greater Chicago. The organization, formed in 1983, brings together a diverse segment of Chicago area leaders from…More >


Home Court Brings Community Together

On Friday nights this summer, the play lot at St. Louis and Carroll in East Garfield Park is being transformed. Like too many open spaces in Chicago.s tougher neighborhoods, the lot has a reputation of not being…More >


Making Employment Connections Work

Growing up in some of Chicago.s toughest neighborhoods, Purnell could easily have gotten involved in gangs. In fact, the young man made a few bad choices a few years ago. .I got sidetracked around my junior year in high school,. he says. In the end, though,…More >