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2023 Annual Report

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2023 by the Numbers


A Bridge to the Community

Y.O.U. has been serving the Evanston community for over 52 years! In that time, we’ve built deep relationships with schools, community organizations, and families. This year, we made new connections and strengthened our existing network to provide resources and support for more Evanston youth.


New Program at Bessie Rhodes

Last spring, Y.O.U. introduced its first new OST site in over 10 years at Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies. The pilot provided both elementary and middle grades youth with key academic, social, and emotional programming. Thanks to the warm welcome Y.O.U. received, we were also able to provide mental health counseling during the school day for the first time. We built strong relationships with families and school staff—100% of caregivers would recommend Y.O.U. to other families—and look forward to supporting even more youth during our first full year of programming.

Housing Crisis Response Team

As the only comprehensive community based youth service provider in Evanston, Y.O.U. provides 24/7 support to youth experiencing housing-related crises. One such youth is Natalie.

Teresa, Clinical & Outreach

"The first time we met Natalie, she was sitting in the Y.O.U. lobby after 7:00 p.m. Natalie had been in an argument with her family, and she was told to leave. With nowhere else to turn, she remembered her teacher had shared that she could go to Y.O.U. if she ever needed help.

…We were able to first, find safe housing for Natalie with a family member and then assist the family in reducing some household stress by providing much needed supplies and gift cards for food."

A Bridge to New Experiences

Youth who participate in Y.O.U. gain access to a world of new experiences. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff create programming that centers youth’s interests and responds to their needs. Our building, which hosts a MakerSpace, organic gardens, and a demonstration kitchen, provides opportunities to learn something new everyday. 97% of caretakers say Y.O.U. has helped their child engage in learning!

YES! Camp

The Youth Entrepreneur Summer Camp returned this summer after a four year hiatus. High school youth designed and prototyped their original business ideas in the MakerSpace, which included 3-D printed awards, ceramic cups, leather wallets, and silicone paper weights. At the end of the summer, YES! Camp participants also collaborated with elementary youth to paint a mural at the recently-opened C&W Ice Cream Parlor next door to Y.O.U.

Mobile MakerSpace

MakerSpace Manager Allen wanted all youth to have access to the MakerSpace resources, so he created the TinkerSpace, a mobile Maker lab. The TinkerSpace traveled to elementary and middle school sites and taught youth STEAM concepts like designing a project using a 3-D printer and exploring engineering concepts using LEGO. Youth concluded their TinkerSpace experience by working in teams to create their own prototypes of a 3-D printed boat.

It’s a Rap

Over the summer, high school youth combined mindfulness and music production in
It’s a Rap. This collaboration between OST and counseling staff aimed to help youth
explore their self-identity, find their voice and actualize their feelings into words, and develop agency while practicing beatmaking and rapping.

Why did you like It's a Rap?

"It’s my favorite out of all the Y.O.U. programs! I liked working on beatmaking and the rapping activities." — Chadane

"I prefer making stuff more than talking about it, so I liked that it was a hands-on experience." Reggie

"My favorite part was writing lyrics because it’s kind of like poetry. The staff are my favorite people." Beverley

A Bridge to Each Other

Relationships are at the heart of what we do. As one of our core values, we intentionally create spaces for youth to build relationships with each other. By constructing programming that spans sites and grades, youth have the freedom to step into leadership roles and see each other as trusted resources.

98% of caretakers say Y.O.U. has helped build their child's confidence.

Future Chute Eagles

School transitions can be a nerve-wracking time for youth. In the spring, Chute hosted Future Chute Eagles for 5th graders at Dawes, Oakton, and Walker who were preparing to graduate to middle school. Sixth graders served as leaders, planning activities and tours for the fifth graders based on their own experiences of being new to the school. Thanks to this programming, youth were able to start middle school having already made connections with each other and established a sense of comfort with the school.

Peer Mentorship

As part of Old Orchard’s Leadership Fridays series, 6th and 8th graders participated in a peer mentorship program that aimed to build social-emotional skills like self-awareness and personal responsibility. Youth were matched according to their strengths and interests, with 8th graders serving as role models and mentors who helped the 6th graders integrate more into the junior high school community. The mentorship program culminated in an awards ceremony, with mentors and mentees recognizing strengths within each other.

What did you learn?

"That I would be a newbie instead of the oldest and how to find my way." — Leo

"How to get to class on time." — Dante

"The school layout and how to get a good feel for the school." — Kameron

"What activities and opportunities there are to participate in." — Kaitlyn

Shark Tank Showdown

Chute Middle School staff introduced youth to entrepreneurship in this new enrichment where youth learned about famous entrepreneurs of color and created their own brands. Youth collaborated with each other to design and create products such as hydrodipped sunglasses, jewelry, buttons, and lip scrubs. The entrepreneurs put their marketing and leadership skills into action during a Family Night where they launched and sold their creations.

Art Exhibition

Youth at Oakton, Washington, and King Arts spent last winter exploring their creativity with Art Encounter, one of Y.O.U.’s longtime enrichment providers. They started by journaling as a way to explore feelings that they don’t normally talk about, then they created colorful abstract art. Youth displayed their work in a month-long exhibit at the Evanston Public Library. Y.O.U. took the artists on a field trip to the opening reception, where families were invited to see all of the artwork, take a tour of the library, and sign
up for library cards.

Jay, Oakton Afterschool Program

"It builds up your self-esteem when you can see your artwork displayed in public and provides encouragement that youth can also be artists or authors. And that they don’t have to wait—they are doing it now!"

Learn More

Explore Y.O.U.'s full 2023 Annual report to learn more about our work, including our financials and a list of our generous partners and donors.

View the Annual Report