WYO Open House

You are invited to check out our teen drop-in center and meet the WYO team!

Sunday, October 21 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Want to know more about who we are and what we do? Here is your chance to find out! Come to the Winnetka Youth Organization Open House to see the center, meet the staff, and learn about our organization!

It’s open to the public – all are welcome. Light drinks and snacks will be provided.

Come Out of the Coffin!


Friday, October 26 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Enjoy music, food, desserts, festive group games, and spooky films! Costumes are encouraged.

Entrance fee: $10

Social Service Saturday

Volunteer at your local pumpkin patch!

Saturday, October 27th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join us for Social Service Saturday! The WYO teen volunteers will be helping sort pumpkins at the pumpkin patch at Trinity Church in Wilmette.

For grades 7th-12th only, regardless of residency.

RSVP Required by Friday, October 26th!

North Shore Live!

Adult Comedy Show Benefiting North Shore Youth

Thursday, November 15th, Doors Open 7:00 pm | Show begins at 8:00 pm at Tudor Wine Bar in Glencoe, IL

A fun adults-only night out with Chicago comics, Brian Hicks, Lia Berman and Patrick Bagdon. Hosted by comedian Todd Glover! Tickets include one drink ticket and can be purchased through Eventbrite for $20 and at the door for $25.

Limited spots available – show is expected to sell out!


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


Austin Lyons, WYO Musician

Austin Lyons is a member of the bands Aerius and At Least We Tried, both of whom have regularly performed in concerts and Battle of the Bands at the WYO. He is also a member of the Music Committee, and has been instrumental in planning and executing several of the WYO’s most popular music events. When not playing music, Austin is a junior at New Trier High School and is starting up a game of Dungeons and Dragons with his friends.

Since performing at the WYO, Aerius has booked shows in several other venues in the Chicagoland area. We have enjoyed watching Austin and Aerius’s musical career take off, and we can’t wait to see more!

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 fun

Hope 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

Support the WYO!

Don’t miss one of the most popular parties on the North Shore! A beautifully catered event amid fabulous antiques, jewelry, and art. Buy a ticket to the Thurs. Nov. 1 Antiques + Modernism show Preview Party!

Here’s why: Proceeds benefit both the Winnetka Youth Organization and Winnetka Community House. A win/win! $30 of each ticket sold through the WYO goes directly to youth programming!

Tickets: $145/person. Purchase Deadline: October 26th

Checks must be made out to the Winnetka Youth Organization.

Drop checks off at: the Winnetka Postal Service Office – PO BOX 302, Winnetka, IL 60093 OR the Winnetka Youth Organization (during open hours).

Contact: Christina Gikas, Executive Director at christina@winnetkayo.org or call (847) 446-0443 for questions.