Junior High Game Night

Friday, May 25th, starts at 6pm

The WYO is opening its doors to junior high students for a game night!

Play video games, board games, and more. $5 fee covers provided snacks. Bring your own games or play ours!

7th and 8th grades only, regardless of residency. Interested? Contact maryk@winnetkayo.org or call 847-446-0443 to learn more!

Dance Showcase

Friday, May 31st, from 9am-11am

Bring your dance moves to the WYO stage!

DANCERS STILL NEEDED: High school solo or group dancers welcome! Come show off your dance moves in our first-ever dance showcase. $5 admission fee.

Contact us at 847-446-0443 or email maryk@winnetkayo.org to register.


The Winnetka Youth Organization’s mission is to foster individual development in adolescents by providing adult-to-youth mentoring with opportunities for leadership, citizenship and education within a positive, encouraging 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 provides a place where teens can have fun, learn and be themselves in an safe accepting environment.

For 50 years, the WYO has provided a variety of programs, both recreational, educational, and service oriented. Informally known as “The YO”, the WYO is a place where teens can feel at home, meet new friends, and express individuality with their peers and WYO staff mentors.


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.


Our Team

Our Team Leaders help organize and guide our program to great heights

Lynne Levernier

Lynne Levernier

Board of Directors Chair

Christina Gikas

Christina Gikas

Executive Director


Renee Affinito

Renee Affinito

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

Freshman at New Trier High School

“My favorite part of the WYO is I get to perform here!”

Jack Ellis

Sophmore at New Trier High School

“I love the youth organization because we can just be ourselves and have fun in all the activities we do.”

Sloan Walker

Freshman at New Trier High School

When we were at the WYO and we played our first show, we got a lot of connections to cool people, cool venues, and made friends. So that’s really nice, and it kind of started us actually having shows, and not just playing around Wilmette. So that’s really cool. So thanks to the WYO and everybody involved!

Austin Lyons

Junior at New Trier HIgh School, WYO Music Commitee Member

“The organization is succeeding, and bringing people into the spirit of service.”

Aaron Lariosa

Sophmore at New Trier High School, Youth Board Member

“This is a really good organization and more teens should come. We have different, fun activities.”

Katy Dickman

Senior at New Trier High School, Youth Board Secretary


Nolan Kiser, WYO Musician 

Who’s Nolan?

Nolan Kiser is a junior at New Trier Township High School. He has performed at the WYO since 2016; at his first Battle of the North Shore Bands, he played guitar for the band “Aerius”. Since then, him and his band mates occasionally perform on Friday nights and he recently started a new band called, “Dogma Soup”.

Why the WYO?

“I got involved with the WYO because I had always wanted to play music in a more local area. I think it is a great small local community to share music in, there’s always lots of energy, and there’s a pretty big variety of music.”

What does Nolan do after-school?

When not at the WYO, Nolan is practicing and going to rehearsals and gigs for different bands. He enjoys playing jazz gigs at night with a couple of different groups.

What you may not know about Nolan (if you know him):

His most practiced instrument is the classical piano.

Who is Nolan’s Role Model?

“Jacob Collier, because he is the most technically talked musicians of the 20th & 21st century.”

Nolan’s Future Aspirations:

“My absolute dream for the future would be to tour with a band, something that I used to think was a lot harder than it really is. If that could be Dogma Soup, I wouldn’t be complaining.”

Some of Nolan’s “LISTEN RIGHT NOW” playlist:

Somehow Soon! – thisishowitendedintokyo

Comp – Hear to Gold

Djesse Vol. 1 – Jacob Collier

Shaldew! – Dogman Soup


Stay Current

Make sure you sign-up for our monthly newsletter full of events, news and all things great at the WYO

Teen Drop-In Center Hours (Spring)

Monday – Thursday: 3 PM – 7 PM

Friday: 3 PM – 9 PM

Saturday: Social Service Days

Sunday: Closed

Want to Help Out?

Your help is greatly appreciated

Donations are a great way to help the WYO provide our teens with educational programs, technology, and more. Your donation can be  easily made via PayPal. We thank you for your support.

Reach Us

Winnetka Youth Organization

620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL. 60093


Winnetka Youth Organization