Nancy came to Youth Outlook in 1998, hired as the agency’s first executive director. When she arrived, Youth Outlook (then known as QYC) had two drop-in centers running–one in Hinsdale and one in Aurora. She has helped the agency grow just a bit since 1998. There are now eight drop-in centers in four counties, a youth leadership program, a healthy relationships program, a peer-led HIV prevention program and a thriving community education program. Nancy holds a Social Work degree from Syracuse University, where she focused in Family Mental Health. Nancy is the only full time employee, leading a staff of part time program assistants and about 50 volunteers each month to deliver services to an estimated 125 youth per week.
Nancy is a retired social worker. For most of her career she was leading staff and volunteers in efforts to end violence and promote social justice. Some of these roles include running youth programs in El Paso, Texas to help end poverty and cultural discrimination, development and leading the rape crisis center for DuPage County, helping to develop a treatment and monitoring program for juvenile sex offenders who were wards of the state, working as a policy advisor for the Illinois Attorney General on violence against women, and managing a psychiatric clinic and residential facilities for the seriously mentally ill. Now retired, she enjoys gardening, her three grandchildren, and continuing the fight for social justice with Youth Outlook.
Andrea received her Masters of Education in Counseling from Northern Illinois University. She joined Youth Outlook in November of 2007 and has been making “youth leadery” ever since. As the Youth Leadership Coordinator she trains and coordinates the youth leaders at all of the Youth Outlook drop-in centers. She loves working with the youth and hopes that they learn as much from her as she does from them.
Marcus has been the POL (Popular Opinion Leader) Coordinator since 2011. As POL Coordinator, he runs a Social HIV Risk Reduction program for youth (13-29). His goal is to educate young people about STD prevention, safer sex practices, and general sexual health issues. Also, he hopes to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues, particularly in regards to sexual health.
Karol is a Sauk Valley Community College liberal arts graduate. She learned about Youth Outlook from a PFLAG Sauk Valley meeting. After being trained in Spring 2010, she volunteered at the DeKalb drop-in site. Fall 2011 brought an opportunity to bring Youth Outlook to the Sauk Valley area and Karol took the lead as Program Assistant.
Carrie has a strong background in non-profit development, grant writing and developing strategic partnerships. Carrie holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Carrie is devoted to social justice and is involved in disability advocacy and works to engage children in life long philanthropy.
Peter’s involvement with Youth Outlook began in 2000 when he was a youth participant in the Aurora drop in center. After graduating college and starting his art career, he volunteered to support the Naperville drop-in center on Tuesday nights. He was hired to be a site leader/Program Assistant at the Naperville drop-in center in 2015. Peter is a professional artist who incorporates art and creativity into drop-in center group activities. He also leads the healthy relationships program at the Naperville drop-in center. Being a part of Youth Outlook has given Peter the opportunity to unite his two life passions: artistic expression, and the forward movement of the LGBTQ+ community.
Kim Tilford started volunteering with Youth Outlook when it was the Questioning Youth Center and transitioned to Intern in 2012 while getting her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Northeastern IL University. She launched the Palatine site for the Transcend program in May of 2015 and joined the North Suburban Community Network with Youth Outlook this Spring. Kim is currently the project manager for a non-profit organization providing services to children and families throughout the state of IL. On the weekends she provides training for adults working in youth ministry and facilitates a youth leadership program in the Unitarian Universalist Church.
Heather has always enjoyed working with youth of all ages, holding a Bachelors of Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University and having taught elementary music to over 1800 public school students. She trained as a Youth Outlook volunteer in October 2016, as her beloved Cubs were marching toward their historic World Series championship, in anticipation of the Ottawa Drop-In Center’s opening. Heather is excited to be a part of the growing safe, supportive, celebratory space that is the Ottawa Drop-In Center.
Risstofer (Riss) Carter identifies as QTPOC (Queer, Transgender, Person of Color) and more specifically a Gender Nonconforming AfroLatinx individual. Riss does not use pronouns, and instead uses Riss’s name as a pronoun. Riss is currently working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology at Northern Illinois University. Riss is also double minoring in Women & Gender Studies and LGBT Studies. Alongside working at Youth Outlook, Riss works at NIU’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. Riss is passionate about intersectionality, empowering youth, centering QTPOC identities, and living a life that would make Marsha P. Johnson proud. For fun, Riss likes to skateboard, tie dye, write songs, and play the guitar.
Randi joined Youth Outlook in September of 2018 as the Youth Services Manager. In her role as Youth Services Manager, Randi supervises and supports the Geneva, Palatine, Naperville, Transcend, and Ottawa drop-in centers. Randi has a background in youth development with a focus on youth-adult partnership and social justice youth development. Randi received a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds bachelor’s degree in Gender and Women Studies.