About Us

The Warming House Youth Center is a non-profit organization located in Wilmette that welcomes all junior high and high school students. The Center provides participants with a supportive environment and teen-focused programming. Staff members are dedicated to helping youth build healthy relationships and a strong sense of community.


The Warming House Youth Center offers 6th through 12th graders the opportunity to enjoy a structured and supportive environment. Teens can speak freely in a confidential space, seek guidance from staff and peers, build healthy peer relationships, and develop valuable leadership skills. The professional staff is trained to assess teen needs and address relevant issues through educational, prevention-based, and recreational program offerings.


The Warming House Youth Center is supervised by a full-time Executive Director who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Volunteer, Intern, and Part-time Paid Youth Workers make up the skilled staff that work with Warming House teens. Staff members are either in undergraduate or graduate school for Social Work or Psychology, or have graduate degrees and work full-time in the field. Staff members are prepared to guide and support teens, provide referrals when needed, and intervene in crises.



Emily Schnell

At The Warming House since 2015

Credentials: Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Bachelor's degree from St. Norbert College and a Master's Degree from Loyola University Chicago.

Fun Facts about Emily: I absolutely love spending time at my lake house. If I could be outside, on the lake all day, I would. I'm a proud dog mom who has a puppy that also loves being out on the lake! 

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Lisa Gresch

At the Warming House since 2018

Credentials: Licensed speech-language pathologist with a Master’s degree in Speech, Language, and Learning from Northwestern University and Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders from California State University, Fullerton.

Fun facts about Lisa: I enjoy ballet and tap dancing and love all things Disney/Pixar. 

Why the Warming House?: I love that the Warming House provides a safe space for teens where they can develop relationships and be themselves! School can be tough, so having a place where they can have fun and have people to talk to who will truly listen is so valuable


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Taleen Polidan 

At the Warming House since 2021

Credentials: Bachelor’s in Communication from Lake Forest College. Current MSW student at Northeastern Illinois University.

Fun Facts about Taleen: I love listening to podcasts, being outside, and riding my spin bike!

Why the Warming House?: I love that the Warming House provides youth a safe and supportive environment to be themselves. As someone interested in becoming a school social worker, I am very excited to have the opportunity to have hands-on experience working with teenagers! 


Reycel Fortugaleza

At the Warming House since 2020

Credentials: BSW student at Loyola University’s School of Social Work

Fun Facts about Reycel: I love spending time with my son, spending time outdoors and traveling! 

Why the Warming House?: A supportive and safe environment is so important during adolescent development. I believe that with the support of a caring community, teens can successfully navigate through the changes and challenges they may encounter during adolescence. I appreciate that Warming House is a place in the community where teens can feel safe and have access to a support system.


Maks Giljen

At the Warming House since 2019

Credentials: Senior at Northwestern studying Neuroscience and Psychology

Fun Facts about Maks: I love neuroscience and psychology, so I try to learn and get involved in research as much as I can! Aside from academics, I love listening to music and watching movies with my friends and family. 

Why the Warming House?: I’ve been involved on campus in psychology research on adolescent personality, but the Warming House provided an opportunity to get real world experience with helping teenagers build healthy relationships in an open and welcoming environment. Not only do I get to develop my interests and experience in clinical psychology, but I get to be a part of a space that makes young people feel safe and understood!

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Alyssa Pierce

At the Warming House since 2019

Credentials: Junior studying psychology at Northwestern University.

Fun Facts about Alyssa: I love to play softball. I was on the team in high school and play over the summer on teams with my dad and brother. I also really enjoy nature and any chance I get to go hiking or be outside in general. 

Why the Warming House?: I have always enjoyed working with teens and the opportunity to build connections with both them and the other staff members enticed me from the start. The mission of the Warming House is also something that is really important and I am excited and grateful to be a part of it. 

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Julie Nelson

At the Warming House since 2021

Credentials: BSW student at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work

Fun Facts about Julie: I enjoy running, creative writing, listening to true crime podcasts, and spending time with family and friends.

Why the Warming House?: I chose the Warming House because I enjoy working with teens and young populations. I appreciate how the Warming House provides an open, comfortable, and supportive environment for teens as adolescence can be a difficult and challenging time.




Amy Koplow, LCSW



Robert Sheppard


Lori Heger 



Raul Babolea 

Kevin Buzard

Joe Feldman

Jenna Pahnke

Jon Parker



Rucha Patel

Barbara Perce

David Schmitt

Shiela Steiner