An In-Depth Look at Y.O.U.’s Mission Statement

Y.O.U. is a youth development agency . . .

Y.O.U. does not seek to “fix broken kids,” rather, it is our goal that all young people have what all young people need.  Our central programmatic philosophy is “Positive Youth Development” – a holistic approach based on the belief that all young people need a wide range of “assets” in their lives if they are to have positive, fulfilling lives.  One well-respected categorization of these assets is: relationships and  support, empowerment and safety, boundaries and expectations, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and a positive identity.

. . . that provides services . . .

Y.O.U. provides an array of academic, social and emotional development services that respond to the unmet needs of the young people we serve.  Those services include academic assistance, life skills education, social skill development, recreational and athletic activities, cultural and artistic activities, parental support, crisis intervention, mentoring, case management, and individual, group, and family counseling.

. . . and leadership . . .

Y.O.U. is concerned about all young people, not only about those who participate in our services.  One of our founding documents in 1971 asked of our community, “Can We Serve Them All?”  Only through a broad, coordinated, and cooperative network of active concern can communities provide an affirmative answer.  We aspire to provide leadership for partnerships, support, and advocacy for all who care about young people.

. . . to meet the emerging needs . . .

Y.O.U. embraces change as a constant in youth services.  Over the years, we have focused at various times on “hippy kids”, social isolates, gang members, immigrant families, and others.  From time to time we have provided services for high school, middle school, and elementary school students.  We have worked city-wide and in particular neighborhoods.  A former board member, in talking about our commitment to meet emerging needs, said, “Y.O.U. is Evanston’s most nimble agency.” We aspire to live up to that characterization.

. . . of young people and their families . . .

Y.O.U. is defined by who we serve – young people — not only by the services we provide. Our core concern is each whole young person.  We believe that young people are best served when they have healthy families at the center of their lives.  Parents also need our support.

. . . in our community.

Y.O.U. is community-based.  Helping young people build positive relationships lies at the heart of all we do, and relationships with a rich array of family, peers, adults, and institutions form the fabric of the larger, diverse communities to which we are responsible.