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Y.O.U. responds to the COVID pandemic Read more

July 21, 2021

Y.O.U. Supports District 65

Y.O.U is a proud partner of District 65 and stands in full support of the District, Dr. Horton, and the Board of Education. We support their anti-racist efforts towards greater equity and stand in strong opposition to the recent lawsuit filed by a District 65 drama teacher against Dr. Horton and the District. We know that our school district is working towards an educatio…More

June 14, 2021

Y.O.U.'s Summer Program Begins

Y.O.U.’s Summer Program begins today! After more than a year of virtual and hybrid program options, we cannot overstate how amazing and important it is to be together again in person with our Y.O.U. youth. This summer, Y.O.U. will serve 400 youth through our essential mix of out-of-school-time program offerings. Our Summer Program will serve as a critical bridge to the fall as youth prepare for the return t…More

March 18, 2021

Spring Program Update

When Y.O.U. transitioned to virtual programming a year ago, we had no idea that we would remain virtual this long. Now, Y.O.U. is proud to share that in-person programming has resumed at four of our school sites. In February, Y.O.U. began supporting in-person hybrid learning during the school day at four of our partner schools: Walker and Washington Elementary Schools in Evanston and Edison Elementary and Lincoln Jun…More

March 6, 2021

Watch our 50th Annual Benefit Program

Thank you to everyone who joined us virtually for Y.O.U.'s 50th Annual Benefit! Watch the event video below, or visit the event page for more details about the event. More

September 9, 2020

Important Fall Program Updates

Y.O.U. extends our continued wishes for your health and safety. More than ever, we are grateful for your support of our work. Y.O.U. provides academic, social, and emotional support to youth. Our out-of-school-time programming is embedded with family engagement and clinical services, including case management and counseling. As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic and our current movement towards racial justice, the…More

August 27, 2020

Y.O.U.'s Continued Commitment to Racial Justice

  Y.O.U. is heartbroken by the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man and father, shot by Kenosha police in front of his children. We grieve with the Evanston community over the tragic violence against Jacob and his family. We continue to believe and affirm that Black Lives Matter and hope there is justice for Jacob. Y.O.U. will play our role in leading, supporting, and participating in efforts to make Evans…More

June 5, 2020

Our New Leader

  Dear Friends, We are thrilled to announce Craig Lynch as Youth & Opportunity United’s new Chief Executive Officer. Craig will begin on July 1st as Y.O.U.’s fourth executive officer in our 49-year history. He brings a deep understanding of and passion for creating improved outcomes for youth and families. Craig has the skills, vision, and commitment to lead and strengthen Y.O.U.'s work…More

June 4, 2020

A Commitment to Racial Justice from Y.O.U.

The injustices faced by the Black community and other communities of color in this country are oppressive, perpetual, systemic, and sometimes deadly. Youth & Opportunity United is outraged by recent events and outraged that events like these are not in any way new. Ahmaud Arbery Breonna Taylor George Floyd Tony McDade We will commit to saying their names. We will acknowledge that there are too many…More

May 1, 2020

Y.O.U.'s COVID-19 Response

Y.O.U. continues to offer all of our programs and services during the stay-at-home order. As our youth, families, and community experience this global pandemic, we are witnessing—and responding to—dramatically increasing needs.  These needs range from access to technology and support with remote learning to the need for enrichment and social connection. Of vital importance, our clinical team has s…More

March 31, 2020

Y.O.U. Virtual Programming

During this time, Y.O.U. staff have initiated hundreds of contacts with participants and caregivers to connect and assess needs, and to share important information on resources available in the community. Y.O.U. is responding quickly and responsibly. We are building and delivering virtual programs to support youth and families. Our teams are using Google Classroom, podcasts, and other platforms to ensure that yout…More

March 13, 2020

IMPORTANT: Y.O.U. Temporarily Closing

With all four of our school partners closing their buildings as of Monday, March 16, 2020 in response to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Y.O.U. will suspend school-based programming and close our headquarters beginning that same day. Staff will be working remotely, available via email, and continuing to support children and families as possible during this time. Our 24-7 housing crisis suppor…More

February 13, 2020

CEO Transition Update 2.12.20

Youth & Opportunity United is excited to announce that the position opportunity for our next Chief Executive Officer is available here. The search process is being led by Y.O.U.'s Search Committee, comprised of board and staff representation. The search process began with thoughtful discussions about the opportunities and challenges Y.O.U. will face in the future and the ideal profile of our next leader.…More

January 10, 2020

Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) Presents 15th Annual Diverse Communities United on MLK Day

Y.O.U. will present our 15th Annual Diverse Communities United (DCU) on Monday, January 20th, from 2-3:30pm in the Evanston Township High School Auditorium. DCU is a community-wide annual celebration of peace, diversity, unity, leadership, and service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The youth-led event will feature performances from students at 11 schools across Evanston and Skokie. Students in grade…More

November 21, 2019

CEO Transition at Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.)

Maggie Blinn DiNovi is stepping down as the CEO of Y.O.U. effective November 30, 2019. "We thank her for her many contributions over the past 20 months, and we wish her well in the months and years ahead," said Cindy Wilson, Y.O.U. board chair. “I enjoyed working with the Y.O.U. team and the Board to focus on enhancing program quality and impact, managing Y.O.U.’s growth, and building financi…More

July 12, 2019

Y.O.U. clearly states our support for the rights of immigrant children and families.

With the expectation of ICE/Homeland Security deportations announced for this weekend, Y.O.U. wants to clearly state our support for the rights of all human beings, and especially the rights of children and families. Y.O.U. does not support the current practices, and we reject any mistreatment of families and children. The family separations that are taking place and the inhumane conditions at border detention f…More

May 3, 2019

Y.O.U. Students to Participate in Non-Profit Youth Fair June 1

On June 1, youth leaders from Youth Opportunity United (Y.O.U.), a non-profit organization that serves students in grades 3 through 12 in Evanston and Skokie, will be participating in the Bright Promises' Elevating Youth Voices Non-Profit Fair at Columbia College's Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash, from 12 to 3 p.m. The fair is free and open to the public. Throughout the day, attendees will have the opportun…More

February 7, 2019

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 signals opposition to federal recommendation to arm teachers

Despite a federal commission’s recommendation to arm teachers, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 reinforced its opposition to the presence of guns in schools as a means of protecting students. The Federal Commission on School Safety, created by the Trump administration after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, suggested that districts arm educators to prevent gun viol…More

July 25, 2018

Y.O.U. Summer Programs Expand Evanston Kids' Horizons

Huddled over a lush garden bed on a humid July afternoon, Emma Mosco-Flint dusted off a bunch of disfigured carrots before moving on to a bed of tall, ripe chives. While her peers washed squash and chard in a patio sink, the 15-year-old hip-hop dancer and soon-to-be sophomore harvested the urban vegetable garden behind Youth & Opportunities United’s headquarters west of downtown Evanston. A participant o…More

July 20, 2018

Northlight launches 'Arts for Everyone' program

Northlight Theatre today announced a new "Arts for Everyone" program to provide free tickets to every production in its 2018-19 season to partner groups, with a goal of breaking down barriers to accessing theater performances. Northlight will pilot this program with existing partners including Youth & Opportunity United, YWCA Evanston/North Shore and&…More

July 13, 2018

Y.O.U. and the Talking Farm Celebrate Community Day

On June 27, Youth and Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) and The Talking Farm welcomed families from the community to the urban garden space at Y.O.U.’s Youth Center and Headquarters, 1911 Church St., to participate in enrichment activities and learn about the joint programming offered by Y.O.U. and The Talking Farm. More

June 26, 2018

Y.O.U. Receives New York Life Grant

The New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance today announced a total of $150,000 in two-year grant awards to Chicago-area afterschool programs:  $50,000 to Chicago’s Instituto del Progreso Latino and $100,000 to Evanston’s Youth & Opportunity United. In 2018, a total of $1.35 million in grants will be awarded to a total of 34 youth development organizations across the country to s…More

June 21, 2018

Y.O.U. gets grant from New York Life Foundation

Evanston’s Youth & Opportunity United today was awarded a $100,000 grant by the New York Life Foundation. The grant was among the largest the foundation is making this year to a total of 34 programs nationwide. The grants, part of the foundation's Aim High program, are intended to support middle school youth during out-of-school time. The program seeks to help underserved 8th-graders …More

June 1, 2018

$337.5K in grants awarded to 26 NFPs by ECF

The Evanston Community Foundation handed out a record $337,500 in responsive grants to 26 not-for-profit organizations Thursday night at its annual Grant Awards Celebration and Annual Meeting at The Merion. The foundation’s vice president for programs, Marybeth Schroeder, told the audience that the grants advance the foundation’s strategic goals of equity, collaboration, and a thriving nonprofit commun…More

May 15, 2018

Rotary Makes Grants to Local Non-Profits

Evanston not-for-profit organizations involved in mental health work received grants totaling $13,000 Tuesday from the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse. The checks were distributed at the weekly breakfast meeting of the club, at which representatives of the receiving organizations told how they planned to use the funds. Much of the funding for the club’s community service grants is raised at its annual …More

April 16, 2018

New CEO of Local Youth Development Organization Aims to Deepen District Partnerships

As the new CEO of local nonprofit Youth & Opportunity United, Maggie Blinn DiNovi said she hopes to deepen partnerships between her organization and local school districts as well as better prepare high schoolers for life after school. DiNovi assumed the new position on March 26. Although she’s fairly new to the job, she said she “very firmly” believes in Y.O.U.’s mission of closing the…More

April 10, 2018

Y.O.U. Event Promotes STEM Careers For Girls

Youth & Opportunity United and the McGaw YMCA’s Take Over event at MetaMedia on Friday focused on the roles of women in science and technology. At the event, students from Y.O.U.’s middle school programs created activities for kids to learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers and STEM role models. A popular booth was the Affirmation Station, led by stude…More

February 23, 2018

Former CPS Staffer is New Y.O.U. Head

Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) has selected former Chicago Public Schools administrator Maggie Blinn DiNovi as its new CEO, replacing Seth Green, who left the organization last June. A 1996 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, DiNovi has worked with foundations and nonprofit organizations for the past 15 years “to recruit, train, and support leadership talent,” the organization sa…More

February 23, 2018

Y.O.U. Names New CEO

Y.O.U.’s Board of Directors has named Maggie Blinn DiNovi as the organization’s CEO effective March 26, 2018. “Maggie DiNovi brings both extensive experience in education and strategic planning to Y.O.U.,” said Susan Brenner, president of the Board of Directors. “I am confident her leadership experience and longstanding dedication to improving the lives of youth will strengthen Y.O.U.…More

January 24, 2018

Residents Honor Legacy of Martin Luther King

In speech, song, and service over several days, Evanstonians honored the legacy and the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. On Jan. 11, the youngest of the expressive writing groups at Family Focus in Evanston wrote their own “I Have A Dream” speeches after listening to Dr. King’s famous speech. These third-to-fifth graders are in the “My Dreamers” group run by JoAnn Avery. She said…More

January 18, 2018

Cushing: Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.)

A community-based nonprofit preparing youth for successful lives, immerses their new space in graphics expressing who they are. Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) is a community-based nonprofit organization whose goal is to close the opportunity gap by preparing youth for post-secondary and lifelong success. They provide academic, social, and emotional support to 1,600 youth and their families each year,…More

January 15, 2018

DCU 2018 Focuses on Black Women & LGBTQ Voices

Prompted by the current political atmosphere, this year’s Diverse Communities United 2018 performance focused on amplifying the voices of black women and black members of the LGBTQ community. Students from Evanston elementary, middle and high schools created original performances at the event to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., and the work of Audre Lorde, an influential black and lesbian writer who was largel…More

January 13, 2018

Evanston Honors Martin Luther King's Legacy

Evanston honored Martin Luther King Junior in ceremonies and tributes Saturday. ETHS hosted a Y.O.U. annual event, and the city held a celebration at Fleetwood Jourdain Center. Youth and  Opportunity United, or Y.O.U., has been honoring King and his message through art and dance for 12 years. This year the focus also was on women and their role in the civil rights movement. The youth-led eve…More

December 20, 2017 News: December 2017 Edition

In this issue, read about Y.O.U's upcoming Diverse Communities United Event.  Hear from two students who are instramental in DCU and you can also learn more about our successful holiday gift program! Read the December Issue! More

November 28, 2017

YOUth News: November 2017 Edition

In this issue, read about the ways that our youth and families are building community and giving thanks.  You can also learn more about our partners at Stumble & Relish and Prairie Moon, who are giving back to the community by supporting our programs! Read the november issue! More

November 3, 2017

Leopardo-built Y.O.U. Headquarters Project Honored with Evanston-based Design Award

The Leopardo-built Youth and Opportunity United, Inc. (Y.O.U.) headquarters and education center was awarded Excellence in Design for New Construction at the 2017 Design Evanston Awards. The annual event recognizes significant aesthetic and functional improvements to the community and was held on Thursday, November 2 at the Evanston Art Center. Y.O.U. is a non-profit youth development agency offering after-scho…More

October 13, 2017 News October 2017 Edition

In this issue, read about the launch of Y.O.U. fall programming this fall, and ways that our youth wrapped up their summer with art and community-building. You can also learn from elementary schooler Cat about her experience in the LEGO Robotics League last year and what she likes about Y.O.U. Read the october issue! More

September 20, 2017

Makerspaces Bring Hands-On Learning to Underserved Evanston Kids

The “Maker Movement” is taking hold in Evanston, with a collaboration of schools, community centers, the library and Northwestern University working to create makerspaces for school age kids throughout our city. Students can tinker with and make things in makerspaces using traditional arts and crafts, electronics, computers, and digital fabrication tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters. Maker act…More

August 26, 2017

Science in Society and Y.O.U. Partnership Brings Summer Science Learning to Evanston Youth

Can you improve an athlete’s performance using brain science? Can you engineer a better water filter? Is it possible to invent a healthier – and more delicious – pancake? This summer, Evanston 3rd–5th graders explored these questions while learning hands-on science skills as part of the Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U) summer program. Y.O.U. provides afterschool programs and other …More

July 27, 2017

Y.O.U. Youth Present Summer Projects to Community

Community members at Y.O.U.’s Summer Showcase saw the culmination of youth’s summer experiences through interactive activities, projects, and performances More than 500 family and community members joined 125 youth in celebrating the end of the Y.O.U. summer program on Thursday evening at the organization’s annual Summer Showcase event. Family and community members visited the Levy Cent…More

July 12, 2017

Young African Business Leaders Share Entrepreneurial Talents with Evanston Youth

Each Thursday this summer, 25 emerging and established business leaders embark on a journey — by foot, train, and bus — to engage in a mentorship program at Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.). However, this cohort of individuals, hailing from 16 countries across the African continent, traveled a much greater distance just to reach Evanston, where they are living for six weeks while completing th…More

June 18, 2017

Students Eat Their Veggies — And Plant and Grow and Sell Them

Heading down Church Street just west of Dodge Avenue, one finds it nearly impossible to miss the welcoming façade of Y.O.U’s (Youth & Opportunity United) brand new 12,000-square-foot headquarters located at 1911 Church St., across the street from Evanston Township High School. The large glass windows and brightly colored panels beckon all who pass by, but it is arguably the back of the building th…More

June 1, 2017

News Release from Y.O.U. Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) announced today that Seth Green will be stepping down as the organization’s Executive Director on August 11, 2017. Green has accepted a new role as the Founding Director of the Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility at Loyola University. “We are very grateful for Seth’s transformational leadership at Y.O.U. o…More

May 17, 2017

Y.O.U. Celebrates Youth Center Grand Opening

Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) cut the ribbon for its new Youth Center and Headquarters, 1911 Church St., during a celebratory grand opening and open house on May 13. After the ribbon cutting, more than 200 families and community members gathered inside the building to experience its numerous program and community spaces firsthand through interactive activities and tours. In the Maker Space, visitors j…More

May 14, 2017

Y.O.U. opens new headquarters with upgraded, larger facilities

Community members met staff and participated in art projects during Youth and Opportunity United, Inc.’s headquarters grand opening on Saturday. Y.O.U., which provides services and leadership to young people in the community, celebrated its opening in a 12,600-square-foot space at 1911 Church St. The new facility includes a maker lab for projects, community gathering space, a demonstration kitchen and teachi…More

January 25, 2017

Diverse Evanston Proclaims: 'Purpose and Promise'

On Jan. 16, students from Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) joined to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day through a program of poetry, song, and dance. A diverse crowd of more than 1,000 community members attended the event at Evanston Township High School. Elementary school students performed “Puppets with Purpose and Promise,” highlighting people whose acts of defiance brought about social ch…More