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The roots of the Winnetka Youth Organization extend back to 1966 when there was a widespread adult misunderstanding and concern about the changing behavior of young people.
At that time, the Tri-Church Council which consisted of ministers and lay members of the Winnetka Congregational Church, Christ Church of Winnetka, and local Presbyterian Churches worked to provide constructive recreational programs for youth, which was the original focus of the WYO.
It soon became apparent, however, that recreation alone would not meet the needs of many of the young people, and that the WYO services would need to be expanded to help them guide through adolescence in more in-depth and constructive ways. In 1969, the informal group of Winnetka citizens known as the Winnetka Youth Recreation Committee was incorporated as the Winnetka Youth Organization, a not-for-profit charity organization.
The WYO, in its current home in the basement of the Winnetka Community House, now provides a safe place for all teens in grades 7th-12th to socialize with peers, benefit from mentorship relationships with the staff, experience creative expression through music and the arts, and get involved in the community through social service opportunities.