About Youth Outlook

Our Mission

Established in 1998, Youth Outlook is the first and longest-running social service agency in Illinois solely dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ youth. We work in seven counties in northern Illinois, offering drop-in centers for youth, caregiver, and parent support, plus community education and professional development.

Youth Outlook Drop-in Centers meet weekly and are a social setting for youth to meet other LGBTQ+ young people. We provide a safe and comforting space for them to talk about a variety of important topics. Youth Outlook provides dedicated programming related to physical and mental health, identity and self-esteem, safer sex, and healthy relationships. Our largest and fastest-growing group is Transcend, a supportive and affirming space for trans and non-binary youth.

Thrive is a support group for caregivers, parents, and those actively parenting LGBTQ+ teens. It offers a safe, confidential space for caregivers to share their journey, concerns, and information. Parents of transgender teens have found this group particularly helpful.

Youth Outlook Community Education and Professional Development initiatives include training sessions and workshops led by licensed professionals. They are designed to inform businesses, educators, and community groups on needs specific to the LGBTQ+ community, current trends in working with LGBTQ+ youth, and how to create LGBTQ+ inclusive environments. Continuing education credits are available for select sessions.

Mission statement: Youth Outlook celebrates, empowers, advocates for, and provides services to meet the ever-evolving needs of LGBTQ+ youth and their families, friends, and communities.

History of Youth Outlook

In 1996, a group of community members concerned about the lack of area resources for LGBTQ+ youth met in DuPage County.  Two years later, Youth Outlook was up and running with our first Drop-in center, our first grant, and our first executive director. Since that time, Youth Outlook (formerly Questioning Youth Center) has been committed to providing a safe, supportive, and respectful environment for adolescents, whether they identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ+). Youth who identify as allies are welcome in all of our programs and settings.

Youth Outlook currently offers fourteen Drop-in centers across seven counties, a group for transgender youth, a caregiver support group, community education, off-site recreational activities, and mobile programming. We have ten staff members and more than 100 active volunteers each month. We work with interns from Aurora University, Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois–Chicago, and Indiana University.

Youth Outlook is the recipient of the Excellence in Service to LGBT Youth from the Human Rights Campaign Illinois Chapter (2002) in recognition of our ongoing work.