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Youth & Opportunity United

Contact Information

1911 Church St
Evanston, IL 60202

(847) 866-1200

Focus Areas

  • Economic Security
  • Education & Youth

Youth & Opportunity United, Inc. (Y.O.U.) is a youth development agency that provides services and leadership to meet the emerging needs of young people and their families in our community.

  • About Us
    We focus on the 80% of waking hours that adolescents spend outside of school. Studies show that what happens during this out-of-school time is the most important factor in determining adolescent success—both in school and in life.

    Our program model has four parts: after-school enrichment, parental engagement, mentorship, and clinical counseling. These services ensure youth success across all of their different environments – in school, at home, in the community, and in moments of crisis.

    Y.O.U. has a three-part approach toward youth development: Engage, Support, Sustain:

    We engage every young person and identify their strengths and stressors. Our youth workers develop deep relationships with youth, their parents, and their teachers. Based on these personal relationships, as well as on standardized assessments, we develop tailored plans to help youth realize their full potential.

    We support youth and their families with a holistic set of resources to encourage their strengths and address their stressors. We provide after -school programming, mentorship, clinical services, crisis intervention, and a range of other services to meet the individualized needs of our youth and families.

    We sustain youth success by working with parents and community leaders. We hold regular family nights and workshops to support parents and community leaders in promoting positive youth development in the home and in the neighborhood. We are thrilled to report that more than two-thirds of parents annually participate in our programs.
  • Our Impact
    We are committed to ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement of our programming. Our annual, third party evaluation consistently demonstrates that our services significantly improve the academic achievement, social skill development, and self-esteem of youth in our programs. Parents overwhelmingly agree, affirming in surveys that Y.O.U. provides quality activities for their children, and thereby improves their behavior and academic performance.

    Among assessed youth who actively participated in our after-school and mentorship programs last year, here are just a few snapshots of our impact:

    Educational success: Seventy-one percent of youth increased their grade point average (GPA).
    Social and emotional success: Ninety-five percent of youth enhanced their coping and resilience skills and 91% improved their social competence based on a nationally recognized clinical evaluation tool called the Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI).

    Family success: Ninety percent of youth reported an improvement in their relationships with their family.

    We believe these metrics of success tell a compelling story about the broader impact we are making in the lives of our youth, our families, and our community.

    Our youth: Y.O.U. supports all youth in gaining the skills, opportunity, and confidence to participate fully and responsibly in the community.

    Our families: Y.O.U. ensures that all families have access to social and economic mobility. Education can be a powerful ladder of opportunity to a better life. But the achievement gap is so large that few families have the chance to benefit from this ladder; indeed, in the U.S. today, only 20% of all black students and only 16% of all Hispanic students leave high school college-ready. We provide tailored academic tutoring and social supports to ensure youth strive in school and go on to college. In this way, we help our families realize their dreams.

    Our community: Y.O.U. makes our community a happier and safer place to live. The hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the U.S. are the peak hours for juvenile crime, bullying, and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. But for the youth in our after school programs, these hours are filled with education and recreational activities that improve their academic performance and enhance their self-esteem. We’re pioneers in transforming the “most dangerous hours in the lives” of youth into some of the most fun and productive hours.