Our Programs

At Compass for Kids, we empower low-income, at-risk elementary students by supporting their academic and social-emotional skills with innovative school-year and summer programs.

Our programs are designed to improve academics and cultivate the crucial life skills our children need to thrive.

Camp Compass

Camp Compass is a six-week, free summer learning program for low-income, at-risk elementary students of Springfield Public Schools – District 186. It is run as a hybrid between a school and a camp environment. 

Camp Compass is designed to prevent summer learning loss and improve reading and math skills. Its purpose is to reduce the achievement gap and opportunity gaps that exist between low-income students and their higher-income peers. It accomplishes this purpose through a balance of academic and enrichment activities:

For three hours in the mornings, licensed teachers instruct students in literacy and math.

Small class sizes, differentiated instruction, and licensed teachers are key to stopping summer learning loss and improving core academic skills.
In the afternoons, campers participate in enrichment activities and field trips.

Through these activities, kids experience their community, find hidden talents, develop skills, and have memorable summer experiences they might not otherwise have.

Camp Compass also provides transportation, breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack to each child.

Club Compass

Participating Schools
Club Compass serves five schools within Springfield Public Schools – District 186

  • Black Hawk
  • Dubois
  • Graham
  • Harvard Park
  • McClernand

Schools select and refer all students to Club Compass based on eligibility criteria, and services are free to participating students.

Community partners⁠—often a church, local business or neighborhood association⁠—host the Club site for their participating neighborhood school. As a team, the community partners work together to provide the program location, volunteers, snack, dinner, and supplies.

Club Compass sites provide each participating students with:

A Compass for Kids site director manages each site and ensures a structured, consistent, high-quality program experience for our students. In addition, they act as liaison between the school, students, volunteers, and parents. Dedicated, loving volunteers serve as classroom helpers and mentors to the children.

Camp Care-A-Lot

Camp Care-A-Lot is a five-day, four-night, residential camp experience that is free for low-income elementary students from throughout Central Illinois. It is held in August every summer.

For over 26 years, Camp Care-A-Lot has offered a unique opportunity for low-income children to help them achieve their future goals and live healthier and safer lives. Campers leave believing they can be successful no matter where they come from.

Backpack Feeding Program

The Backpack Feeding Program serves children participating in Camp Compass and Club Compass, ensuring food is sent home with the kids over the weekend.

While children in Springfield School District 186 receive free breakfast and lunch at school, many do not have access to nutritious food outside of school hours.

Food insecurity and poor nutrition can have tremendous negative effects on a child’s academic performance, so Compass for Kids aims to provide each child with two breakfasts, two lunches, two snacks, and two dinners every weekend.