Mission & History

Home / Mission & History


Youth Guidance creates and implements school-based programs that enable children to overcome obstacles, focus on their education and, ultimately, to succeed in school and in life.


Youth Guidance sees a bright and successful future for every elementary and high school student.  Because we believe that success in school is not only possible but should be achieved and celebrated, we are present in the schools to facilitate an environment that truly engages students in the learning process, and through careful guidance, enables them to realize their full potential and graduate with a meaningful plan for successfully managing life.


Founded in 1924 as the Church Mission of Help, Youth Guidance was originally formed to assist girls in need of shelter, clothing, medical care, financial help, legal assistance, and educational/vocational opportunities.

In 1962, the Church Mission of Help merged with an agency serving boys in family court and became Youth Guidance Youth Services. In 1969, we entered into a partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and established our first full-time offices within area schools—laying the foundation for the innovative, school-based initiatives that are the cornerstone of the Youth Guidance of today.


Youth Guidance is a leading provider of outcomes-driven programs and capacity-building initiatives, directly serving about 13,000 youth while touching the lives of hundreds more parents, schools and local communities.  Our specific and strategically developed delivery areas are: Counseling & Prevention (BAM®, WOW℠, STRIVE); Community & Afterschool (Parent & Family Engagement, Full-Service Community Schools, Extended Day & Enrichment); and Youth Workforce Development (Project Prepare®, @Work Initiative, and Project Prepare Blue). Each area is mission-oriented, carrying its own targets and benchmarks.  Each is vital to the agency’s success.


Youth Guidance is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).  To learn more about COA, please visit www.COAnet.org.

To access Youth Guidance on GuideStar, please click here.