Our Mission

The Options for Youth’s mission is to expand opportunities for adolescents in underserved neighborhoods through programs that build upon the strengths and maximize the potential of each young person and help to break the cycle of poverty in their lives and communities.


Our Story

A 1986 University of Chicago study revealed that among adolescent welfare mothers, a rapid second birth significantly increased the likelihood of the mother’s school dropout and long-term welfare dependency. At the time, one-third of all babies born to teen mothers in the state of Illinois were not first births. In 1990, Options for Youth was created to help improve this issue—later expanding our focus to include young men—and maximize the potential of every young person involved.