Youth Outlook began in 1996 when a group of community members in DuPage County met to discuss their concerns over the lack of area resources for LGBTQ+ youth. 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. We celebrated our tenth anniversary in 2008, and we are happy to report that we’ve served more than 1,800 youth in that time; resilient young people that we have been proud to know.
Youth Outlook has expanded dramatically since then, now offering multiple drop-in centers across six counties, as well as a youth leadership program, a group for transgender youth, off-site recreational activities, and mobile programming. We have ten staff members and more than 70 volunteers active each month. We work with interns from Aurora University, Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois–Chicago, and Indiana University.
In 2002, in recognition of our ongoing work, Youth Outlook received an award for Excellence in Service to LGBT Youth from the Human Rights Campaign Illinois Chapter.