Ugly Sweater / PJ Holiday Party!

Friday, December 21st, from 6pm to 9pm

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year….

….TO WEAR YOUR UGLY SWEATER FROM AUNT JAN! Celebrate the holidays with us as we enjoy hot cocoa & treats, festive social activities, and holiday music & moves. We also encourage all to bring a white elephant gift to exchange among each other.

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

Social Service Saturday

Saturday, December 22nd, from 10am to 12pm

Random Acts of Caroling

Do you love singing holiday songs? Join a group of teen volunteer singers as they visit local Winnetka stores and community hubs to spread the holiday cheer!

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

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights Trip

Friday, December 28th, from 4pm to 9pm

Celebrate the holidays with us as explore the Lincoln Park Zoo‘s lights festival! We will be meeting at the WYO at 4pm and will take the Metra train station. Admission to the Zoo lights is free, but you have to cover the costs of transportation, hot drinks, and food. Estimated costs: $20-$30.

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

Social Service Saturday

Saturday, December 22nd, from 12:30pm to 2pm

Bernie’s Book Bank

Come to Bernie’s Book Bank with the WYO to help sort children’s books! These books will be donated to at-risk kids in the Chicagoland area! It is vitally important for kids that they have access to reading from a young age; help us give children a chance to get that access.

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


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


Katy Dickman, Youth Board Secretary and Social Service Committee Chair

Katy Dickman is one of our regular volunteers and a member of both our Youth Board and Social Service Committee. According to Katy, she joined the WYO to participate in our weekly social service opportunities, hoping to “connect with the community and meet many different types of people.” Now, she is one of our most active volunteers, participating in everything from soup kitchens to beach cleanups.

When not working with the WYO, Katy is involved in several after-school activities. She is a member S.W.E.E.T.S. club, a STEM-based club for women, where they “work on many projects like building catapults and educating elementary school girls on STEM careers.” She is also involved in Out of the Box Club and DECA, which is a business competition club. She also participates in crossfit.

Befitting the upcoming Christmas holiday, Katy’s favorite movie It’s A Wonderful Life; Katy says she loves it “because it’s a great holiday film and it has valuable moral lessons that I follow and shows how meaningful our lives really are.” What most people don’t know about her is that she loves to travel; Katy intends to study abroad in college, hoping to go to “a country with a lot of ancient and modern history like Paris or Greece.”

We at the WYO are so grateful for Katy’s leadership, dedication to service, and positive attitude!

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