50th Anniversary Benefit

Join us on Saturday, April 13th, 2019 at the Sheridan Shore Yacht Club!

Harry Potter Trivia Night

Friday, January 18th, from 7pm to 9pm

Do you think you know everything there is to know about Harry Potter? PROVE IT!! Teens are welcome to join teams and compete for prizes. $5 player fee, includes snacks!

Open to 7th-12th graders only, regardless of residency.

Social Service Saturday

Saturday, January 19th, from 9am to 12pm

Heartland Animal Shelter

We will be helping to clean the animal kennels, including making them up with fresh bedding, scrubbing down cages, and other tasks. Help create a clean and comfy environment for the animals!

Open to 16+ ages only, regardless of residency. RSVP REQUIRED.

Winter Wonderland Junior High Dance

Friday, January 18th from 6pm to 10pm

Teens from Washburne, Sunset Ridge, Central, and beyond are invited to make new connections in a fun environment before heading off to high school. $10 ticket fee that can be purchased at the WYO during drop-in hours.

Open to 7th-8th graders only, regardless of residency. Please register in advance by calling 847-447-0443!

Social Service Saturday

Saturday, January 16th, from 12:30pm to 2pm

Project Linus at the WYO

We will be making blankets and donating them to children in need. If you have fabric to donate, please drop off by the event date at the Winnetka Youth Organization.

Grades 7th-12th only, regardless of residency. RSVP: 847-446-0443 or email maryk@winnetkayo.org!



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 provides a place where teens can have fun, learn and be themselves in an safe accepting environment.
For over 47 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.


Stay Current

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

WYO’s Teen Drop-In Center Hours

Monday – Thursday: 3 PM – 7 PM

Friday: 3 PM – 9 PM

Saturday: Social Service Days

Sunday: Closed


Aaron Lariosa, Youth Board Member and WYO Volunteer

Aaron Lariosa is one of our regular volunteers and a member of our Youth Board. Since he began volunteering with the WYO, Aaron has attended as many volunteer events as he has been able to, bringing a dedication, a positive attitude, and thoughtfulness to everything he does. He was drawn to the WYO for our volunteer opportunities, and loves being a part of Youth Board because “it’s an opportunity to help people.”

When not at the WYO, Aaron is involved in several after school clubs at New Trier, where he is a sophomore. These include Model United Nations, Out Of The Box Club, and Japanese Club. Aaron says that very few people are aware of his volunteering, and that “nobody really knows [he does] that kind of stuff.”

One of Aaron’s greatest role models is a teacher that he had growing up, who taught him to “always follow what you want in the end no matter what anyone else says.” While Aaron does not know yet what he aspires to be in the future, there is no doubt that he will pursue it with as much dedication as he does his volunteering.

The WYO loves having Aaron as part of our community!

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.

Our Team

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

Molly Dolkart

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 funHope Pu

Freshman, 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 Committee Member

Our Sponsors. We Thank You.

Reach Us

Winnetka Youth Organization

620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL. 60093


Winnetka Youth Organization