What is Debate it Forward?

Debate it Forward (DIF), a 501(c)(3) education non-profit, uses its pioneering debate curriculum to increase the empathy, self-efficacy, and critical-thinking skills of students that are overlooked by traditional debate circuits: young students, students of low income, and students with diagnosed learning or developmental differences. Through hiring and training university of students, Debate it Forward provides high-quality, low-cost debate afterschool, school-day, and summer-camp programming.

When was DIF established?

Debate it Forward was established in 2016 by Leah Shapiro and Josh Aaronson, hoping to keep trekking forward in the realm of youth education. You can learn more about our beginnings and inspiration in our ABOUT US page.

How can I contact DIF?

You can contact DIF by telephone at (312) 714-2310. Our CEO and COO can be reached by email at and, respectively. You can also check our CONTACT US page to find other avenues for contact.



In what regions does DIF participate?

We currently serve sixteen schools for our school programs (see our school program page for a complete list) on the North Side and South Side of Chicago. Our summer programs and private tutoring are not region-locked, but operate around the University of Chicago campus. We're currently expanding to the West Side of Chicago.

What sort of curriculum does DIF utilize?

Based off of Common Core and formal debate standards, DIF uses a modular, play-based curriculum in its programs. We seek an environment that is both low-stakes and engaging for kids. Our specific curricula are determined for each program (and each child in our private tutoring) while accommodating any student's needs.

What range of students does DIF teach?

DIF strives to work with any student's needs. Children are eligible for our programming if they are between first-eighth grade. We run inclusive programming to accommodate diverse learners and students with special-needs. We at DIF promise that as long as your child wants to learn, we will do everything in our power to help.

Where can I sign up?

You can head to our PROGRAMS page to learn more about each program and sign up.

How can I bring DIF to my child's school?

The best way to help us bring DIF to your child's school is by providing us with a warm introduction to the administration. Email for more information to discuss the best way to do this. 



What jobs does DIF offer?

DIF offers  full-time salaried positions and part-time hourly positions. Email Leah Shapiro to inquire about current openings for full-time positions. Our part-time positions are intended for college students and are almost exclusively teaching positions. Check out GET INVOLVED to apply to be a teacher.     

What are the requirements to work with DIF?

For part-time positions, we hire college-level students. We want teachers who are ready to work with our kids! For full-time positions, experience will be necessary. Contact our leadership here to learn more about what these positions entail.

How can I apply?

You can either check out our GET INVOLVED page to apply or CONTACT US to learn more.



Where does my donation go?

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so 100% of your donation goes to funding DIF programs and development. This has included field trips in our summer camps, supplies, and many student activities. Don't forget; your donation is tax-deductible!

Is it possible to donate goods or other non-monetary items?

Yes! Check out our GET INVOLVED page to see our Amazon wish list (consisting of school supplies and other materials we'd love to receive). This page also has the link to donate monetarily. 

If I want to donate for a specific cause (e.g. programming), can I do that?

Yes! We can certainly earmark your donation to align with your preferences; e.g. if you want to donate money to exclusively fund scholarships, we can do that. 

There was a problem with my donation. How can I resolve this?

CONTACT US so we can resolve the issue as soon as possible.

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© 2019 Debate it Forward

541 N Fairbanks Ct

Suite 2200

Chicago, IL, 60611