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

Published: May 1, 2020

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 seen the need for extensive case management services for families in crisis grow tenfold in some of our programs, alongside an increase in calls to our youth housing crisis hotline, and growing needs for mental health services around anxiety, stress, and trauma. 

Y.O.U. is here to respond to the needs of our community. We are working collaboratively with other community leaders and relying on both our long history of service and our ability to be nimble, adaptive, and responsive. Y.O.U. staff are utilizing multiple platforms and means of connection to offer remote and virtual programming. 

Out-of-School-Time (OST) Programming    

  • daily virtual program offerings for elementary, middle, and high school youth including academic support and social and enrichment opportunities
  • weekly enrichment sessions with provider partners (including Art Encounter, Chef Q, DIME, Hot Shots Sports, Open Studio Project, and Overtime Athletics)
  • weekly family check-ins by OST staff
  • virtual Highway 2 High School (H2HS) sessions (H2HS is Y.O.U.’s spring high school transition project for 8th graders) 
  • virtual Stay In School Saturday sessions (Y.O.U. high school youth participate in United Way of Metro Chicago/Exelon’s Stay In School with other high school students across Chicago and near suburbs)
  • weekly virtual Safer Spaces sessions for LGBTQ+ and questioning high school youth
  • an online page for Y.O.U. high school students to learn about and register for summer program options 


Clinical Services

  • individual and family counseling sessions via telehealth for existing clients and in response to increased need
  • weekly wellness checks for all OST families
  • expanded case management and crisis management services for Y.O.U. families impacted by COVID-19, including:
  • supporting access to community resources
  • provision of basic needs (food, transportation, personal safety supplies)
  • Spanish- and Urdu-speaking Youth and Family Counselors
  • a comprehensive and live local resource guide 


Community Services 

  • 24/7 housing crisis hotline and response in conjunction with the City of Evanston
  • expanding partnerships to support additional youth (including homeless children currently housed by Connections for the Homeless and youth being released from the juvenile justice system in collaboration with the Moran Center)
  • weekly virtual Saturday enrichment community programming
  • participation in twice weekly Evanston non-profit leader calls for a coordinated community response