Aurora Youth Options (AYO) works with Aurora middle and high-school-aged youth and their families, helping young people gain life skills and confidence for personal success and happiness. AYO assesses each individual youth to determine what resources would be best, offer support and make the connection.
Referrals include mentoring, existing community resources, pro-social activities or enhancing life skill-building.
Nearly half the population of young people between the ages of 10 and 18 live in challenging situations that put them at risk of not living up to their potential. They need a listening ear and gentle guidance that can turn a negative situation into a life lesson.
Our staff, volunteers and mentors nurture and help young people grow their personal and professional skills leading to greater happiness and a better outlook as they come into adulthood.
Interested in Mentoring Youth?
Our Youth Mentor places adult volunteers with youth, based on mutual interests and personality traits, becoming life coaches and friends for young people.
Nominate a Young Person today
Anyone can nominate a youth to AYO programming. Youth nominations can be the first step in getting a young person enrolled in our programs, including being matched with a mentor.
How We Do Our Work
Life Skills Development - Aurora Youth Options (AYO)
All mentors, volunteers, and staff are trained to understand the principles of Positive Youth Development (PYD), giving us tools to identify what helps youth thrive and the challenges they may face.
Positive Experiences + Positive Relationships + Positive Environments = Positive Youth Development
Youth.gov, a collaboration of federal departments and agencies supporting youth defines Positive Youth Development (PYD) as:
“PYD is an intentional, prosocial approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances young people’s strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.”
We are proud to utilize these principles in working with and supporting youth in everything we do.
Partnering For Youth with Disabilities
Additionally, we work with Partnering for Youth with Disabilities to help “create a world where young people with disabilities will be able to live with dignity and pride in who they are, and to lead self-determined lives filled with purpose. To make this happen, we build the skills and abilities of young people with disabilities, and increase the inclusivity of workplaces, organizations, and communities."
In our work with disabled youth, we endeavor to create change. While progress has been made in the last 30 years, people with disabilities continue to face ableism, where non-disabled people are the first choice, along with, at times, a severe lack of equal opportunity, access, and independence.
Aurora Youth Options Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement to Youth
Exploring, developing, and implementing inclusive strategies to support access to our program for all Aurora Middle and High School-aged youth is critical for AYO to reach our goals and mission. AYO is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all and fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We embrace and encourage differences in race, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, income, or any other characteristics that make youth unique.