Grow Your Own Teachers

People posing for picture at Grow Your Own Illinois event

Grow Your Own (GYO) Illinois is a 501c3 non-profit that advances the efforts of the GYO consortia to achieve equity, excellence and diversity in the new teacher pipeline and the teaching force. The priorities of GYO Illinois include:

  • Creating a pipeline of highly qualified teachers of color (GYO defines highly qualified as pedagogical and subject matter content mastery and a high degree of cultural competence).
  • Supporting GYO teachers once they are in the classroom.
  • Advocating to close the teacher-student diversity gap across Illinois.

Chicago 5 Grow Your Own Illinois

NEIU education majors are eligible to apply for financial, academic and career support from GYO. Candidates for support will need to provide the following:

  • College transcripts and/or proof of a high school degree (or GED) 
  • A writing sample
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Basic eligibility requirements include a GED or high school diploma, Illinois residency, and a demonstrated commitment to equity, excellence and diversity. For more information, click on the link below, or contact GYO at or (773) 322-7419.

-Apply Now 

If accepted, NEIU teacher candidates receive individual mentoring and a wide range of supports including:

  • Financial assistance for tuition, books, and fees
  • Academic support with a coordinator who keeps candidates on track to graduate
  • Wrap-around services that support candidates, even when the unexpected happens
  • A peer group of prospective teachers who meet monthly to build relationships and prepare for the classroom

Who are GYO candidates?

  • Staff working in their local schools who have a desire to pursue classroom teaching.
  • Community members who are interested in enrolling in or returning to college with the intent of becoming a licensed teacher.
  • Undergraduates who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching, but have not yet been admitted to their college of education.
  • Students already enrolled in a college of education or a master’s degree program to obtain a teaching license.
Candidates can rely on GYO to have their backs!