Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Don Baker on May 11.

Don Baker was honored by more than 200 friends on May 19 for 40 years of dedicated service to Evanston youth at the Hilton Orrington Hotel. Mr. Baker is retiring as chief executive officer of Youth Umbrella Organization (Y.O.U.), an organization he helped found in 1971.

Mr. Baker joined Y.O.U. shortly after completing his graduate work at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and was its first executive director. 

“Don Baker’s leadership on youth-related issues has been a gift for the city of Evanston. His compassion for youth and his love of Y.O.U. and all it does for families cannot be replicated,” said Y.O.U. board president Chip Brady.

One highlight was a video showing countless people, including many children, thank Mr. Baker for service. Over the course of its 40 years as a social service agency in Evanston, Y.O.U. has served many Evanston youth through its programs.

The organization provides year-round after-school and neighborhood-based service programs to more than 400 young people annually at six locations in the City. 

In addition, Y.O.U. provides individual and family counseling and 24 hour crisis services to youth.