Holiday Battle of the Bands

Friday, December 14th, from 7:00pm to 10pm

Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock!

Calling all high school musicians – here is your chance to play your music & one classic holiday song! The winner will be determined by the best played holiday song.

For high school teens only, regardless of residency.

The Night Ministry Donation Drive

Saturday, December 15th, from 1pm to 3pm

Celebrate the Holidays & Give Back to the Homeless!

Volunteer teens of the Winnetka Youth Organization, Warming House of Wilmette, and Glencoe Youth Services will be stuffing some stockings with hygiene items and winter gear for the homeless, while enjoying holiday treats! Open to 7th-12th graders, regardless of residency. RSVP REQUIRED.

We will accept brand new: 

Toothbrushes & travel-sized toothpaste
Small pack of tissues
Travel pack of Band-Aids
Full size deodorant
Hand cream
Lip balm
Hand warmers
Adult thermal socks
Stretchy gloves
Memo pads and pen
Deck of cards
Assorted candy, mints, and gum


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