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 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.
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
“My favorite part of the WYO is I get to perform here!”Jack Ellis
“I love the youth organization because we can just be ourselves and have fun in all the activities we do.”Sloan Walker
“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
“The organization is succeeding, and bringing people into the spirit of service.”Aaron Lariosa
“This is a really good organization and more teens should come. We have different, fun activities.”Katy Dickman
TEEN OF THE MOMENT
Nolan Kiser, WYO Musician
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
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
Winnetka Youth Organization
620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL. 60093