Christina Gikas, MSW
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!
Program DirectorMary 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.
Julia went to Indiana University in Bloomington. Despite the bitter rivalry with Mary’s college, they are still good friends! Driven by a love of language and culture, she studied linguistics, East Asian studies, and French. She aims to go back for her master’s degree in counseling, having discovered her passion for it very late in her academic career. In counseling, as well, she plans to work primarily with adolescents and young adults, as she believes this is the most emotionally and psychologically vulnerable stage in life. Her hope is that she can help teenagers feel empowered, optimistic about the future, and above all, that they are not alone. At the Winnetka Youth Organization, she is looking forward to meeting all these new personalities. Julia hopes to be a mentor and ally they feel they can go to, whether it’s to have a fun conversation, vent about a bad day, or whatever else is on their mind.
When Julia isn’t working with teens, she is writing a story, playing video games, or crocheting something cute. Julia’s favorite food is butternut squash ravioli and tuna gimbap, and her current favorite movie is Captain America: The Winter Soldier!
Board of Directors (2018-2019)
|Molly Dolkart, Chair|
Susan Magill, Vice-Chair
John Thomas, Treasurer
Scott Edwards, Secretary
John Hage, Advisory Board Chair
|Stephanie Leese Emrich||Nicholas Georgiton|
|Nancy Randall||Nancy Samberg|
|Zane D. Smith||Scarlett Stoppa|
|Michelle Studl||Calvin Tindall|
Our Sponsors. We Thank You.
Winnetka Youth Organization
620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL. 60093