Eleven years ago, a group of United Airlines staff sat down to plan their annual Fantasy Flights event, a tradition where they transform their stations into a winter wonderland for youth. That year, they were given a unique opportunity to do something a little different. With the vision of giving back and spreading cheer to underrepresented communities, they opened up their office phone book in search of a local shelter. Lucky for us, they found Adolescent Shelter, YouthCare’s only emergency shelter for ages 12-17 at the time.

So began the first of many holiday celebrations with United Airlines and their partner, Alliant Foundation—a tradition that continued this week for the eleventh straight year!

United Airlines Van

As usual, the UA team arrived in a van bursting at the seams with wishes for youth and items requested by Danee, the shelter’s program manager, including twelve alarm clock radios and new bedding sets for each room!


Adolescent Shelter is a bit of time capsule: thoughtful displays of UA’s long-standing generosity abound—the two television sets, the PlayStation, and even the Christmas tree, all came from holiday parties past.


Each year, Gabe, the activities coordinator at the shelter, prepares a holiday feast to celebrate the occasion. This year, he did not disappoint: the table dazzled with meatball sandwiches, delicious bruschetta, a cheese platter, and his famous stuffed tomatoes, a favorite of the UA team. They kindly fulfilled his wish for a new set of kitchen knives to help him make hearty meals for youth in program!

Holiday Meal

Thank you, United Airlines, for continuing to celebrate the holidays and spread joy to youth experiencing homelessness year after year! We’re grateful to share stories of partners like you with our community!