Student Picture
Student Name
Gladys Gitau
Student Descriptor
TFA Fellow, Whitman College '16, LHS '12
Years with YDO
10
Program or Club
Math Games, Youth CITIES, What's Good in the Hood, YDO Summer Staff
Story

Through YDO I have established a group of similarly minded Lawrence kids who are not only friends but also teammates who have worked on projects with me and promise to be a source of collaboration for the future. I also gained exposure to other resources outside the city, namely Youth CITIES. I joined Youth CITIES as a naive sophomore knowing nothing of entrepreneurship, but I left with What's Good in the Hood, a body of work I was extremely proud to be a part of. YDO provided a space for us to work and a form of transportation for events. Without YDO, What's Good in the Hood would not have thrived the way it did.

 

My fondest YDO memory is of the time we won a documentary contest for What's Good in the Hood. An Emmy-Award winning producer came to Lawrence and recorded us working in the YDO/WGITH office on an issue of the newsletter. I was so proud of my team. I felt so professional, and I felt like the platform we had been fighting for, the one that would showcase Lawrence in a positive light, was finally within reach.

 

I knew of YDO because as a 7th grader all of my friends at the South Lawrence East spoke of a mysterious man named Howard who fed them snacks and drove them to afterschool programming. For a while, Howard tried to contact me, but I did not officially meet him until 8th grade when I started Math Games, which was held at Cambridge College and taught by Jon Schwartz.

 

From that very first day at YDO, I met a group of friends that I am still close with today. YDO opened that door for me to participate in programs I otherwise would not have known about and, perhaps more importantly, introduced me to kids who were ambitious like I was.