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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Youth Outreach Services, Inc. Northwest Youth Outreach

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Mental Health, Substance Abuse Dependency, Prevention & Treatment, Youth Development

Mission: Youth Outreach Services is a community-based social service agency. We work with communities, schools, local police, courts, other agencies, and community groups to provide a broad range of services to children, youth, and families on the west and northwest sides of Chicago and the near western suburbs. Our goal is to continue delivering services to at-risk youth with an emphasis on outreach. In addition, the Agency seeks to do the following: effectively understand the current and emerging needs of youth; deliver an array of programs and services of the highest quality that will meet the needs of children, youth, and their families; and provide leadership that results in cooperative action that benefits children and youth.

Community Stories

50 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

YOS is a bastion of hope and simply "what is right in the world." The diversity and depth of their programming and outreach allows for them to reach so many needed youth and have real impacts in their lives. I have worked directly with the leadership at YOS and couldn't be more impressed with the efficiency of the organization. As a business owner I am often confronted by this daunting three letter acronym ROI; YOS amazes me with how much they are able to do with the resources they have. I'm proud to be associated in the slightest and couldn't endorse a better organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer philanthropy research intern and I could not have had a better experience with YOS. I was welcomed into the team. I made a lot of really incredible friends who were also my co-workers. I also learned a lot about the world of non-profits. I enjoyed seeing my research and prospecting being put to good use. I was able to contribute my ideas and writing to the grantwriting process as well. Interning at YOS was a great experience; I believe this is indicative of their mission to serve.

Donor

Rating: 5

YOS is a valuable and effective service for the underserved Chicago youth community. As a donor, I attended an event held by the young professional board, which did an excellent job explaining the role of YOS and the services it provides. I think the most impressive work is in conjunction with the CeaseFire organization, working to provide a safe and stable environment for young people growing up in dangerous and unstable communities.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Youth Outreach Services has a low-key profile among non-profit organizations, but that is because it is "all business." The organization has a long history, since the late 1950's of working to get youth "on the right track" in communities on the west and northwest side of Chicago and in the near western suburbs of Chicago, and it has been very, very effective in doing so.

1 Tatum S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern at YOS this summer, and it was an experience to remember! The people who work and volunteer at YOS have such big hearts and care so much about the youth and families they work with. The energy and work they put into the cause is inspiring. I was grateful for the opportunity they gave me to collaborate with them on a new childhood obesity project, and plan on staying in touch with YOS in the future.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of YOS for just over a year now and It has been a great pleasure to be part of such a wonderful organization. The staff and leadership team of YOS are truly amazing. YOS is extremely well run and organized. This coupled with the complete commitment towards helping our youth makes YOS a difference maker in so many lives.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Every level of YOS is filled with people dedicated to serving the youth in our communities.

Rachel51

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Currently I am interning at YOS! I am lucky enough to get to experience many different parts of YOS. My duties in the office allow me to learn how YOS is connecting and helping communities around the Chicago Area. I also got to meet with a few of YOS clients at different events. Seeing how they interact with councilors really brings to light the difference YOS is making in the communities they serve. Talking to the youth that we work with has showed me how non-profits, like YOS, have effected their lives in a good way.

1 DeSonta G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to this organization by Ms. Tamitra griffin who is currently an employee, it started with a donation to help and eventually I began voluteering at different events they held while I was unemployeed. I have had the opportunity to work with various members of the prevention team and was inspired by their dedication to work with the youth on an educational and personal basis. Each program they have or community event seems to address youth of all ages and I hope to continue supporting them for years to come.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Youth Outreach Services has assisted our church on several occasions, by assisting us with community events and advising us on how to communicate with our youth on subjects that can be extremely difficult to discuss in the church. Their staff is extremely professional and knowledgeable on the topics that the discuss and the staff have always made themselves accessible to the youth and adults.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I always wanted to give back to the community of what I was once give. when I was younger I spent my time in the youth center, being mentored by youth workers, so as a teeneager at the age of 14, So when I got older I pursued my career as a youth worker. Then I got a job working with Youth Outreach Services as a receptionist, I stayed in that positon for 6 months cause I found that it was not enough for me to just be a receptionist, but I needed to be hands on with the youth. So Youth outreach gave me the opportunity to work as a Prevetion Specialist, I have been here for 8 years now, not just because its a job, but because the people that work for Youth Outreach Services really cares about the Youth. We stnad by our mission, we believe in order to make a difference we have to be the difference. Our youth come back after they have gotten older to say thanks for caring and being thier for us when no one else would..So I thank Youth Outreach for giving me to be part of a loving family.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a long time educator, insuring the well being of children has always been a priority of mine. When I got the opportunity to work as a Board Member for YOS, I knew that I had found an organization that clearly held that same value. YOS positively impacts the lives of so many children and families, many of whom literally have nowhere else to turn for support. The services that YOS provide are vital in the communities that they serve. Through its many years of community service, I can only imagine the number of lives that YOS has changed, and in fact saved. I am proud to serve with such an amazing organization, and I would and do urge friends and family members to offer support to YOS in any way that they can.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Youth Outreach Services (YOS) by a former colleague last summer and quickly joined the Auxiliary Board thereafter. I've volunteered at a number of non-profits over the years, and while all had good intentions, YOS has effectively differentiated itself as an organization truly making a difference. I've honored to serve on the board for such a well-run and important organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

YOS is CRITICAL in helping Chicago youth and their families navigate challenges that face them through adolsence. Whether through prevention services, counseling, rehabilitation or independent living skills, YOS really provides a comprehensive set of programs to serve our future.

I've been on the Board for nearly 5 years, and always find myself amazed by the energy and dedication of staff. It's not just WHAT they do (programs) but HOW they do their work that makes the difference.

Finally, as Board tresurer, I can attest that this agency is efficient. Money goes to where it's intended to go...to help the kids.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Youth Outreach Services offers what everyone needs most and that is a sense of belonging. This is given to the children they help by finding them good homes with people who want to see them succeed. They also give the children and families all the support they need to ensure that any road bumps that life throws at a foster child or foster family can be navigated successfully. I was introduced to this organization by a client of mine who is a key leader in the organization. I was invited to a fundraiser where I met the people whose lives were impacted in a positive way by the services YOS gave to them while they were younger and allowed them to move beyond the hand life dealt them and go to college and beyond.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Auxiliary Board for YOS in July of last year and over the last several months I have met and worked with some amazing individuals who sincerely care about the organization. The YOS staff and volunteers go above and beyond to make this organization a success by fundraising, helping children in disadvantaged situations, and increasining public awareness.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

For 50 years, YOS has been one of the premier youth serving agencies in the Chicago area. It has been very successful in keeping teens off the streets, out of trouble and out of jail.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

YOS, and the Models for Change program, are wonderful examples of how we should be helping our city's youth. By providing safe, effective alternatives to jail for teenagers, YOS helps remove the barriers that can have such a negative impact on a young person's life. This intervention allows children to develop healthy relationships, learn accountability, and dream of future success.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was looking to volunteer at an non-profit organization and lucked up to find Youth Outreach Service(YOS).

What I like about YOS was that it is a very diverse place.

I spoke to a woman at the Irving Park site who prompted me greatly regarding my career advancement. I also spoke to a staff member name Octavion, whom also influenced my career direction.

I was soon to volunteer in the agency, but my school work prevented to do so, but when I hit the volunteer trail, I will work alongside YOS

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have a close relative working for YOS for 30 years, since the beginning. I have seen the growth in their services provided to a community desperately in need. The profound impact they have made on the children and teens at risk in Chicago is what keeps me donating. I have moved away from Chicago and I still consistently contribute to YOS. I believe in their mission and I truly believe they are making a difference.
Rock on!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at YOS for over two years. YOS has been a great organization to be a part of because YOS cares about the advancement of young adults. I teach life skills courses to young men and it has been a rewarding experience. YOS has provided me the platform to share my knowledge and experience to help inspire and teach young men. I commend YOS on its dedicated staff and great work in the community.


Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Youth Outreach Services, Inc. advances the common good of its client base through its uncommonly good work as it seeks to “promote the strengths and abilities of youth and families.” For the past 50 years, YOS has been instrumental in transforming and improving the lives of those it has been privileged to serve. As a board member, I have had the honor of serving this Agency in one capacity or another for nearly half of those 50 years. Twenty-five years is a long time to devote to a single cause, but it becomes a testament to the incredible work that YOS does on behalf of youth and families throughout the Chicagoland area. The community-based services that YOS provide do indeed “empower and enrich individuals and families to face life’s challenges with confidence, competence, and dignity,” and with social services funding being cut or eliminated, YOS is a critical component for advancing the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable members in our society.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Youth Outreach Services provides an incredible opportunity to Chicagoland's at-risk youth population. Simply stated, Youth Outreach Services saves lives.

Review from Guidestar

Paul F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was the FIRST Volunteer from outside the agency that YOS allowed to "infiltrate" the organization to help mentor youth and families in the City of Chicago. In 1998 I was formally trained by the YOS staff as a volunteer and found the people I met within the agency to be the most caring and wonderful people I've ever met. I was able to meet families that needed some direction, I played "Santa Claus" for in-home Christmas visits, and I gave talks to "troubled" youth at one of the "after-school" programs. Over the years, I also participated in other YOS projects within the communities. From my perspective, having volunteered for other agencies and organizations during my adult life, YOS is among the BEST when it comes to achieving their mission and helping families that need it most.

Review from Guidestar

Claire J.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

After reading the story "There Are No Children Here" over two years ago and being shocked by the lives of two inner-city children who were transformed overnight into adults by the cruel city around them, I have wanted to find a way to help out these children, who are so much like me yet who have such unfortunately disparate lives. Youth Outreach is the answer; if we can reach these young people and let them know that we are one and the same, perhaps we have some hope for all children in this world. Together we can pull them back from the darkness into the light, from premature adulthood back into childhood.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In providing risk management and insurance services to YOS, we are deeply involved with all aspects of their operations. From the executive leadership and permeating throughout the entire organization there is a professional dedication that cannot help but transfer as positive energy to improve their client's lives.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined the YOS Auxiliary Board a little less than a year ago and have recently been appointed the Secretary position. I am so proud to be a part of YOS because of its initiative to help Chicago youth, a much more hands on experience than other organizations. The events that we hold are always a great time, and I have no doubt that we will only continue to grow in number and therefore, in being to help more local children.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I recently joined the Auxiliary Board of YOS and have had a chance to learn more about the many ways YOS impacts the lives of underserved youth and families in Chicago. YOS is dedicated to helping at-risk kids realize their full potential, improve their own lives, their communities and the city as a whole.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known the CEO of Youth Outreach Services for over 15 years. He has inspired his staff members with a vision to provide quality services to youth. In my professional capacity I have worked with other agencies and programs who have partnered with YOS and I have always heard complimentary remarks about the organization and the professionalism of its staff.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've had the pleasure of being acquainted with YOS since 1990 and served on the board for 15 years. I have always been tremendously proud of YOS and the work that they do with children and families. YOS is committed to a culture of caring and to intentionally making a difference in people's lives. They are a well-run organization with a dedicated team of professional staff and a committed board of directors. Their administrative and organizational skills have helped them through many issues, such as state funding. For this reason, YOS has a long-tenure of helping youth and bettering communities.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the YOS Auxiliary Board for 2+ years as well as a volunteer with YOS. I am constantly impressed with the dedication and tenacity of the YOS staff, volunteers, and board members in helping at-risk youth throughout Chicago overcome challenges, make positive decisions, and acquire the resources necessary to succeed. I have personally met a number of the clients served by YOS and listened to their experiences with YOS. The positive effects that YOS has had on their lives is compelling, and I firmly believe that YOS sponsored activities are crucial to the success of some of Chicago's most vulnerable youth.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

YOS is one of the best organizations out there and uniquely fills its role. It currently is the only organization in IL with a domestic violence intervention program that has made great strides in serving children who are in bad home situations and are at risk. They also have an excellent program at the ERC which provides amazing social services for underserved children.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

It is a great honor for Hedge Funds Care to partner with best-in-class agencies to combat child abuse; and YOS has met our stringent due diligence for several years now. We highly recommend YOS!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

YOS is an organization with heart. The staff is fully committed to the job of helping "at-risk" youth move from problematic behavior to positive citizenship. In the current climate of budget cutting this organization continues to perform with shrinking resources.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Youth Outreach Servides provides much needed help to at-risk teens in the Chicago area. The social workers are conscientious and well educated. I know this because my daughter is one of these social workers. She is devoted to her clients and will work unendingly to help these teens. While funding from governmental agencies has diminished, she and her coworkers have had to find new ways to raise money for activities that engage and educate the clients.
Last summer there was a camping trip that introduced some kids to the beauty and teamwork of being in the outdoors. The social workers have to go above and beyond the normal expectations to have an impact that leads these teens to healthier and more fulfilling lives. While not all efforts are successful, each and every teen receives the attention they need. The rest is up to them.

Review from Guidestar

Matilda S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a former foster youth, I find it absolutely crucial to engage with organizations in my community that serve current and former foster youth. Youth Outreach Services does just that. After calling numerous organizations in the Chicago area to become a volunteer, this was the sole organization that even called me back. From the get go, they have been extremely organized, cooperative, and true to their word - to improve the lives of foster youth while and beyond foster care.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Youth Outreach Services is a WONDERFUL organization. They are one of the most dynamic and compassionate organizations that I have had the pleasure of working with. They are truly making a huge difference in the lives of many At Risk Youths here in the Chicago area. Lives are changing for the better every day because of the wonderful programs and caring people that make up YOS!!!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have seen first hand how the dedicated staff and their passionate work with programs have made significant positive impact with individuals who despertly need it and with the community as a whole. The YOS facilities, programs, staff, is helping those who need it the most.

Review from Guidestar

1 William D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience at yos has been great. I have been a client here for two years now. I built positive friendships with clients, with the counselors, and turned my life around. I was up to no good, but the counselors were a big help. Especially Robert Lopez. I didn't care much about school, and I was sent here for substance abuse. They never tell you what to do with your life, or tell you what decisions to take. But they do give you options. I pushed myself to improve my life and the ones around me. I realized that I wasn't only hurting myself, and my body, but also the people around me that actually cared. To this present day, school is my priority. I am part of leadership, and women's group in the agencie in Cicero. I feel great and proud of myself. I have less problems, and better opportunities in life than before. Yos also has fun events. We go to the movies, ice skating, play sports with other agencies, and plenty more. The counselors are the greatest, they were meant to be here. I thank Robert Lopez, Sandra Guzman, Leah Colman, Jiselle Roman and Christine (her last name is pretty long) for the person that I am today. They are great individuals, although some are no longer here.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been an Auxiliary Board member for almost a year now and I am constantly impressed with the professionalism and dedication of YOS board members and volunteers.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

YOS is making such a difference in supporting youth in need around the Chicagoland area. And it's made a difference in mine. I feel proud to be affiliated with YOS in any way and have been moved to tears at almost every YOS event or program in which I've participated. The staff is dedicated and passionate about what they want to accomplish and the clients are kids who deserve the best. YOS is helping them get it.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have only been going to YOS for two months, But I already love it here. The Energy is amazinngg. Everyone gets along and are so understanding.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

With the help of the YOS staff, the YOS Auxiliary Board has been able to put on amazing events that help raise both funds and awareness of YOS' mission. The staff has always been extremely dedicated to all of YOS' causes and events. The Auxiliary Board would not be successful without the help of the agency's staff.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have known and at times collaborated with YOS for over 10 years now, since they became involved in Multi-SystemicTherapy in our community, later offering various kinds of counseling to our youth.

I appreciate their hands-on commitment to the communities they are a part of, and to the families and youth they serve. Their services have been delivered in a professional, kind and caring manner. The families have appreciated their relationships with YOS, and the support they have felt.

I wish YOS could secure funding again to offer services in our community.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member for 2 years with YOS. I have been impressed by the passion and commitment that the YOS staff have for bettering the lives of at-risk youth. I visited the Transitional Living Program and witnessed first hand the successes the youths were experiencing in the program. The agency is small, but has a big and lasting impact in Chicago's child welfare community. The ad campaign to recruit foster homes for homeless teens was breakthrough and attracted key influencers in Chicago. YOS has been a leading advocate for child welfare or 50 years and I only expect bigger things from the agency in the future.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

YOS Rocks!!! They help at risk youth and make a big difference in Chicago! It is well run and does so much good!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5


Although Youth Outreach Services had been providing high quality professional social service assistance to children and families for over 50 years, its success is still measured on a day to day, person to person basis. Our administrators, staff and board members are always seeking the best ways to help with the restoration of a stable and healthy family environment. YOS has been an innovator in the areas of juvenile justice and has worked with the circuit courts to create alternative sentencing programs for first time offenders. We also provide transitional living facilities and counseling to juveniles who are about to "graduate" from the state welfare system, but who are not prepared to live independently without the additional guidance provided by YOS programs. Most importantly, the success of our programs are not proven by self-praise, but by measurable outcomes. As a board member for over 15-years, I have learned that everyone laughs and cries in the same language. YOS has been working for 50 years to replace tears of distress with tears of joy...and we do it quite well.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered on the Auxiliary Board of Youth Outreach Services for over a year now and I have been nothing short of impressed by this organization. I have attended numerous events sponsored by YOS and it has been great to see the positive impact that this organization has on Chicago area youth.

Review from Guidestar

charlesakrugel

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first became involved with YOS via their board. I joined it in last 2010. After spending my first few months as a new board member, and through my involvement in other family and child advocacy programs in Chicago, it hasn't taken long for me to become convinced that YOS' is essential to keeping disadvantaged and homeless teens in school and shelter in Chicago. It's difficult to predict how many kids would slip through the cracks and get lost in our criminal justice and mental heatlh care systems without YOS, but at least we know that with YOS almost 150 kids a year are getting the help they need to successfully live in our society.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have had the pleasure to work with YOS for about 3 years now. I assisted with their re-branding, and have been a strong supporter ever since. YOS provides a much needed service to Chicago youth and families.