In the spring of 1971, the Evanston Youth Commission and the Evanston Parks and Recreation Board convened a task force to assess the city’s services for youth in light of the recent conversion of the Levy Center from a youth center to a senior center. Don Baker, then a student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and the founder of the Store Front, a small youth center in south Evanston, was recruited to serve on this task force. The group decided to create a new youth service organization, and Don was tapped to be the founding executive director. He went on to lead Y.O.U. for 40 years, until his retirement in 2011. Don remains an active and dedicated volunteer.
Y.O.U. was incorporated in 1971 after the City of Evanston’s Youth Commission and Recreation Board – a group of community and institutional leaders – determined the need to create a new organization to serve “young people whose needs are not being met by more traditional agencies.” Our services have since adapted to meet our community’s changing needs, but our commitment to ensuring youth are safe, supported, and successful endures.
45+ years since our founding, Y.O.U.’s services have grown and adapted to meet the changing needs of youth and our community. However, our commitment to ensuring all youth are safe, supported, and successful endures. Currently, we serve 1,600 young people and reach 4,000 family members through our core service strategies – Advance, Build, and Catalyze.