Trellus supports immigrants and refugees as they build their lives in Chicago.

We provide comprehensive and culturally-responsive services for families arriving in Chicago from over 50 countries.

Families arriving in Chicago face four unique challenges.

Transition into school

Many families arriving in Chicago are burdened by trauma. Families often experience an overwhelming feeling of unease when entrusting their children to schools where they encounter people who may not look like them or speak their language.

Language Barriers

Not knowing English can make everyday tasks such as purchasing groceries, talking to a doctor, or using public transportation feel impossible.

Loss of workforce credentials

College degrees and previous work experience often don’t transfer, leaving parents underemployed and unable to support their families.

Behavioral health challenges

A significant number of our families have endured unfathomable experiences that have resulted in untreated or overlooked behavioral health challenges.

Trellus removes these barriers by providing four holistic and culturally-sensitive opportunities:

Passages Charter School

Give arriving children a more welcoming school experience.

Trellus operates Passages, a charter school for children from as young as 15 months old through 8th grade, with staff that look like them and speak their language, so parents feel more comfortable with their children’s learning environment.

Adult Literacy Services

Teach parents the English needed to tackle everyday tasks.

Trellus offers adult literacy services that teach how to check out at the grocery store, navigate doctor visits, and use public transportation, so parents can become more self-sufficient and autonomous.

Workforce Development

Help arriving parents find jobs in weeks, not months.

Trellus offers a workforce development program that assigns a dedicated case manager to help job seekers with writing their resume, applying for jobs, interviewing, and even finding placement in companies.

Behavioral Health Services

Provide behavioral health supports that honor culture and community.

Trellus offers client-centered supports through linguistically appropriate services that promote empowerment, growth and healing.

Trellus is making a difference you can measure


Student Hours of ESL Instruction


Hours of Individual and Group Behavioral Health Counseling


Adult and Youth Employment Opportunities


Clients Became Citizens


of Passages scholars met or exceeded developmental expectations in literacy


of Passages scholars met or exceeded developmental expectations in math

Together, we can remove barriers for families arriving in our city.

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