Since Chris Ellerman, signed on as the agency’s First Director and only employee in 1977, we have grown to a staff of more than 85 full- and part-time employees, 25 annual interns and 600 active volunteers. Our philosophy of ministry includes a commitment to community-based services, and we intend to develop and provide services throughout DuPage County as long as there are unmet needs requiring creative responses.
A group of pastors first met to discuss how to help troubled youth and families in the area in 1971. By 1973, Wheaton Youth Outreach (WYO) was launched as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, providing much-needed counseling, street outreach, crisis intervention and social services.
Today, services available through WYO include individual and family counseling and casework services, emergency assistance funds, crisis intervention for teens and transitional housing for young adult women and single mothers. Each year we serve:
- 60 youth and families through crisis intervention
- 488 individuals through counseling
- 77 individuals through case management
- 66 individuals through transitional housing
Chris Ellerman signed on as the agency’s only employee and first Executive Director. Chris served as Executive Director and then CEO for 44 years transitioning leadership in March 2021 to Nate Kaunley. Chris remains active with Outreach as the Executive Director of the Legacy Fund for Outreach Community Ministries and continues as the Director of Operations of Social Enterprises.
“Wherever there is hopelessness, this is our calling—to proclaim the hope, God’s grace and His plan to prosper—creating opportunities to secure this hope-filled future and become all that God intends us to be.” – Chris Ellerman
Partnering with local churches in Warrenville, Outreach started Warrenville Youth & Family Services (WYFS). Operating out of donated space at St. Irene Church, WYFS helped residents access needed resources and develop healthy families.
Today, a staff of 14 plus volunteers and interns provide case management services; individual, marital and family therapy; after-school, summer school and mentoring programs for at-risk youth and Hispanic outreach. Each year we serve:
- 77 students through youth development
- 171 individuals through counseling
- 235 individuals through case management
A group of concerned civic, church and business leaders launched the Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream in response to significant needs in this community.
Today, a staff of 27 with more than 200 interns and volunteers provide the following services: individual, couple, family and group therapy; casework; strategic after-school programs; youth leadership that includes the Student Achievement Leadership Team and College Opportunity Program; and older adults program. Each year, we serve:
- 371 individuals through counseling
- 884 individuals through case management
- 250 individuals in the Older Adults Program
- 159 elementary students through Jubilee Neighborhood School
- 80 middle school students through Superb Student Program
- 75 high school and college students through the College and Career Opportunity Program
In partnership with Wheaton Bible Church and Iglesia del Pueblo, Outreach launched Puente Del Pueblo (Bridge of the People), a neighborhood resource center, to meet the needs of residents of Timber Lake Apartments in West Chicago. In 2012, city officials asked Puente to take over its youth service system and expand its after-school and summer-school youth programs to more complexes in West Chicago. Each year we serve:
- 110 elementary students
- 38 middle school students
- 22 high school students
- 50 individuals through Spanish and English Literacy
- 1,006 individuals through case management
Outreach took over leadership of York Community Resource Center at the request of DuPage County Human Services Department. Each year we serve:
- 78 elementary students
- 30 junior high school students
In May 2014, Outreach launched the Employment Opportunity Center, providing education, training and job opportunities, ensuring every young adult has the opportunity for a meaningful career. Each year we serve:
Outreach held a grand opening at the new Jubilee Furniture location (730 E. North Ave., Carol Stream). Formerly located in the Wheaton Christian Center, the new space expanded square footage for both the showroom and warehouse and provided training space for the Employment Opportunity Center.
Outreach launched Journey of Hope-a comprehensive development campaign. This $7.5 million campaign helped expand capital building investment and annual capacity to serve hundreds of additional youth and families and was a multipurpose effort to serve the Church through compassion ministries, strengthen the endowment for scholarships and program support and secures the organization’s long-term future in DuPage County.
Outreach welcomed its new CEO Nate Kaunley on March 1, 2021. As a compassionate leader and trailblazer, Nate brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of community services, church partnerships, nonprofit management, fundraising and marketing.
Outreach’s current leader Chris Ellerman will work alongside Nate to ensure a seamless leadership transition. Chris will continue to support the ministry as the new Executive Director of the Outreach’s Legacy Fund and Director of Operations of Social Enterprises.