The mission of the Winnetka Youth Organization (WYO) is to foster individual development in junior high & high school youth in the North Shore by providing adult-to-youth mentoring, prevention services, opportunities for leadership, citizenship, and education within a safe, informal environment. Through our diverse positive youth development initiatives, we empower adolescents to become more active community members and leaders, while also giving them opportunities to develop confidence in their own talents and skills.
The WYO is not a substitute for parental guidance. We are a service to complement and support teens outside of their daily lives and we partner with parents as well as other community agencies to support a holistic approach to wellness. That means nurturing each youth’s individuality, assessing their strengths and weaknesses and building a base of support that they can lean on in times of crisis by:
- Providing a positive, safe environment where young people can be recognized as individuals
- Engaging youth in programs designed to develop leadership skills, enhance positive social skills and self-esteem, and advance constructive behavior patterns
- Sponsoring activities that promote cultural competency and understanding of others
- Assisting in meeting youth needs for friendship, status, safety, and adult mentoring
- Offering programs and services that are positive alternatives to adolescent high risk behaviors
- Facilitating cooperation and communication between the teen population & the community at large
- Enlisting the support of community members, agencies, and institutions to share financial and physical resources to strengthen service youth.
WE STRIVE TO HELP TEENS BE THEIR AUTHENTIC SELVES.
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WYO’s Teen Drop-In Center Hours
Monday – Thursday: 2 PM – 6 PM Friday: 3 PM – 9 PM Saturday: Social Service Days
TEEN OF THE MOMENT
Ryan Ellis, WYO Regular
Ryan Ellis is going to be a Sophmore at New Trier High School this fall and has done amazing things for the Winnetka Youth Organization! We have gotten to know Ryan and experience his talented gifts. He has dedicated a lot of time, effort, and passion in painting our drop-in center mural for the last few months! His favorite thing to draw is Mickey Mouse and he has perfected it. The most exciting thing he has done this summer with us is revive our self-play piano! With Ryan’s perseverance, determination and skill, he was able to get it running. Now we have beautiful music playing through our center almost everyday, because of him! In addition to his artistic and music skills, Ryan has talents in acting. He recently performed in our Variety Show last month with his twin brother Jack and did an outstanding performance! Last but not least, Ryan gives back to his community through our volunteer events, such as making rainbow snow cones at the Winnetka Sidewalk Sale! Thanks for being a part of the WYO team Ryan!
Our Team Leaders help organize and guide our program to great heights
Board of Directors Chair
Youth Board President
What our teens think
“I had a great time during my interactions with the WYO. I am happy to be a part of this group. My first experience with the WYO is the house renovation. After that, I volunteered for the Kids Against Hunger event. To me, the WYO is a great place to make new friends, hang out with friends, practice problem-solving skills, and volunteer to do something for other people. I will keep participating in volunteer events in the future. The WYO is a place to have fun”Hope Pu
“I love being a part of Youth Board because it’s a fun way to give back to the community and is also rewarding to see the work we do paying off through the joy of other teens. What I gained through this experience with a position on a board is handling responsibility and practice bringing positivity to the community.”Renee Affinito
Our Sponsors. We Thank You.
Winnetka Youth Organization
620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL. 60093