50th Anniversary Benefit 

Youth Awards | Dinner | Entertainment | Auction 

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

A Night to Remember

Article excerpt from: Make It Better

“Held on April 13 at Sheridan Shore Yacht Club, the exclusive celebration welcomed over 120 guests from the Chicago area. The fête not only honored the standout teens, but also celebrated 50 years of success, made possible thanks to the generous local community members, businesses, and organizations.

Teens who’ve exhibited extraordinary acts of leadership, talent, influence, and dedication to service — in both WYO and New Trier Township — were recognized during the 50th Anniversary Benefit. Ten people were recognized: nine awardees and one scholarship recipient. This was WYO’s first year awarding a scholarship. Sophie Krajewski, a senior at New Trier High School, was the proud recipient of the inaugural grant.

Along with the award ceremony, guests enjoyed appetizers and an open bar, live music from Jack Sundstrom Collective and The Jacks, and live and silent auctions.

Together, the community raised a record-high for the beloved Winnetka nonprofit. Over $22,000 was raised in support of WYO’s mission in supporting North Shore youth. With the gracious support from benefit attendees, the community will continue to have a safe space for teens — outside of the classroom and home — to learn, grow, and express themselves.

The event was made possible thanks to the support of gracious partners, including The Winnetka Park District, The Family Institute at Northwestern University, North Shore Community Bank, and the Levernier and Koss families.”

WYO Youth Awards

During the Winnetka Youth Organization’s annual benefit, we award local youth for their outstanding leadership, service, and creative impact. Students are nominated by the staff and formally notified in February via mail.

2019 Youth Award Winners


Youth Leadership Award

Chloe Ziomek, Senior at New Trier High School

Katy Dickman, Senior at New Trier High School

Social Service Award

Maggie Cao, Junior at New Trier High School

Vivian Adelman, Sophmore at New Trier High School

Music Impact Award

Vargbyte, Band from New Trier High School

Youth Influencer Award

Sam Ufford, Senior at New Trier High School

The Burne Kindness Award

Rocco Fernandez, 7th Grader at Washburne Middle School

Dylan Farley, 7th Grader at Washburne Middle School

Scholarship Award

Sophie Krajewski, Senior at New Trier High School


Thank You Video From Our Teens



50TH ANNIVERSARY BENEFIT PARTNERS: The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityNorth Shore Community Bank, The Koss Family, The Levernier Family, Blue Vision Group, The Volunteer Center, Winnetka Park District, and EFG Image | Photography by Scott Edwards.

Special thanks to our in-kind donors: ABT, Arclight Cinemas Glenview, Bliss Salon, Blow Dry Bar, Bluestone, The Book Stall, Brevil Juice Fountain Plus, Carriage Hill Kennels, Cassie Green Health Chicago Botanic Gardens, Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Curling Club, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Corepower Yoga, Depot Nuevo / The Noodle, Essential Oils Spring Basket, Fitness Together Winnetka, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Foremost Liquors, Glencoe Animal Hospital, The Grand, The Happ Inn, The House – Glencoe, JCLicht, Jewel, John Hage, Jookie, Kingston Mines, Lad & Lassie, Lakeland Basses, Lakeside Foods, Lettuce Entertain You, LifeTime’s Life SPA, Lori’s Shoes, Lou Malnati’s Pizza, Love Fur Dogs, Make’N Music, Mariano’s, Mathnasium, Nick’s Bar and Grill, Northwestern Football, Oui Madame, ONE RIVER: School of Art & Design, Our Magnificent Medspa, OutATime Games, PeachTree Place, Pinot’s Palette—Glenview, POWERUP Tech Academy, Prism, Ravinia, Rocky Mountain Chocolate, Sanders Fine Portraits, Schaefer’s, Second City, SHURE, Sky High Sports, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Speed Pro Imaging North Shore, Soulshine Boutique, Stephanie Holz, Sunset Foods, Taco Nano, Tacklebox Brand Partners, TEDDIEKOSSOF, Three Tarts Bakery & Cafe, Tudor Wine Bar, Valley Lodge Tavern, Village Toy Shop, Wines for Humanity, Winnetka Community House, Winnetka Fire Department, Winnetka Golf Club, Yoga View.

Christina Gikas, MSW

Christina Gikas, MSW

Executive Director

Christina discovered her passions and the importance to advocate for all youth during her undergraduate studies at North Park University. When volunteering in Chicago Public Schools, she grew to know and support youth from the inner city with their college aspirations. Christina continued to serve as a mentor to teens when she began pursuing her graduate degree at Loyola University Chicago's School of Social Work. She spent the summer serving high school students in the foster care system by providing them with guidance, education and emotional support. Today, Christina is delighted to take on the role of Executive Director at Winnetka Youth Organization and apply her experience, expertise, and creativity in empowering youth to be their true authentic self. She has a vision to expand WYO's programming, so that all teens can feel welcome and inspired.

When Christina isn’t working with teens, she is traveling abroad, going to concerts, and taking weekend trips to Michigan. Her favorite rock band at the moment is The Killers and she loves homemade Greek food!

Emma Kumin

Emma Kumin

Youth Worker Intern

Emma went to the University of Iowa where she studied Social Work and Business. She enjoys working with adolescents because they are creative, energetic, and hilarious! Emma is hoping to connect with teens and discover new ways of viewing the world through different perspectives. Her inspiration to become apart of the WYO was because she believes this organization embodies everything she values as a social worker. Some of these values include: advocating for all youth; engaging with teens and creating and authentic relationships that ultimately build trust and encourage positive outcomes.

When Emma is not in school, she loves to travel, exercise, listen to live music, and draw/paint. Her favorite sport growing up was dancing, but now she enjoys watching football, and her favorite food is french fries!

Mary Komlofske

Mary Komlofske

Program Director

Mary went to school at Purdue University and studied English Secondary Education. She believes that adolescents are at a particularly important part of their lives—they are in the process of forming their identities and determining who they are outside of their families in a new way. Mary learned from her own experience as a teenager, that the company you keep and the authority figures that reach out to you, can make a world of difference to how healthy and valuable this formative period can be. She enjoys working with adolescents so she can be as much of a positive force in their lives as she can. Working with the WYO, Mary believes she is helping to create a safe and comfortable space for these adolescents to discover themselves and learn to work with others in a productive way.

When Mary is not working with teenagers, she likes to read, teach herself how to play guitar, and play Dungeons and Dragons with her friends. Her favorite song is “Shut up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, and her favorite movie is Mad Max: Fury Road.

Looking for a Social Media Manager Volunteer

Looking for a Social Media Manager Volunteer

Are you a college student looking to build up your resume before entering the marketing or communications field? Don't get turned down due to the lack of experience! The WYO could be a great space for you to learn and grow your skills part-time.

The Social Media Manager Volunteer works closely with the WYO Team to communicate to our target population about the amazing events and programs we have coming up! You will learn how to effectively communicate to teens, their parents, and community leaders through our various social channels and marketing strategies.

Email your resume, cover letter, and references to our Executive Director at christina@winnetkayo.org.

Christianne Lariosa

Christianne Lariosa

Outreach Coordinator

What drew Christianne to the Outreach Coordinator position is that it mashes up her love of community organization and non-profit work. She had majored in Communications and minored in Urban Planning at University of Illinois at Chicago, studying to carve a career path focused on humanities. Originally designing and formatting for the WYO's Instagram and Facebook, she had been hired as the Outreacch Coordinator due to her experience and familiarity with the WYO's mission and growing love for the organization. The WYO's motto of providing a safe, informative environment for teens to be empowered and grow, is something she believes all youths to have access to. Christianne aspires to be as impactful to adolescents as her undergrad internship mentors; she hopes to make meaningful connections with teens to help increase their self-confidence and self-love, while increasing their life skill-sets.
Being a creative, it’s hard for her to choose her favorite things of all time, but her recent picks are Home by BTS and In The Mood For Love by Won Kar Wai, for song and movie respectively. Other than art in media - she enjoys biking, trying out new recipes to cook, reading, exploring museums, bopping at concerts, and hanging out with her pets or friends.
FALL-SPRING: Youth Worker Intern

FALL-SPRING: Youth Worker Intern

Are you a college or graduate student looking for additional volunteer opportunities and field experience? Join the Winnetka Youth Organization as a part-time youth worker intern! You will be apart of a team of professional staff, who hold a degree in either social work or education, that promote teen's individuality and strengths.

Our programs are meant to address teen's needs and utilize the staff's skills. There will be opportunities to create and facilitate programs focused on prevention, leadership, service, art & music, and cultural education. Interested?

Email your resume, cover letter, and references to our Executive Director at christina@winnetkayo.org.

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