Winnetka Youth Organization


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Christina discovered her passions and the importance to advocate for all youth during her undergraduate studies at North Park University. Through her volunteering experience in Chicago Public Schools, she grew to know and support youth from the inner city with their college aspirations. Christina continued to serve as a mentor to teens when she began her graduate studies at Loyola Univeristy Chicago's School of Social Work. She spent the summer serving high school students in the foster care system by providing them with guidance, education and emotional support towards their future aspirations. Today, Christina is delighted to take on the role of Executive Director at Winnetka Youth Organization and apply her experience, expertise, and creativity in empowering youth to be their true authentic self. She has a vision to expand WYO's programming, so that all teens can feel welcome.



The Winnetka Youth Organization Staff

Christina Gikas

Executive Director

Melanie Challberg

Program Director

Kelsey is currently pursuing her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Roosevelt University, hoping to specialize in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety, trauma, and grief within holistic settings. Kelsey has worked with a variety of non-profits in the Chicagoland area, including Open Books and The Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network. Kelsey is thrilled to be a part of Winnetka's Youth Organization where she hopes to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of local youth and their families.



Melanie is someone who is passionate about the social and mental health of teens, is committed to designing a space for youth to build memories with new and old friends, participate in creative activities, and get to know a trusted adult in their community. Melanie grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, attended the University of Illinois and graduated with her bachelors in social work in the spring of 2015. She has been working with students in a non-profit, recreational setting for 5 years now and looks forward to many more years to come! In her free time, she enjoy exploring Chicago’s coffee shops, spending time with friends, volunteering as a crisis counselor, going to concerts, and watching documentaries.


Contact email:

Kelsey Hoeper

Outreach Coordinator

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