Passion Becomes Project Leadership



In the spring of 2016, Camille Lopez (Gr. 7, LCA) went home from her YDO afterschool program and told her mom that she wanted to help make YDO’s library better. At the time, the library was a small room with no windows, a couple of folding chairs, and a hodgepodge of old books donated over the years.

Camille’s love of reading sparked her desire for a better library, which turned into a meaningful leadership project, thanks to YDO’s partnership with Aaron’s Presents (AP). As a sixth grader, she wrote her first grant application with information about her vision, necessary purchases, and an estimated budget. When the grant was approved, she worked with AP to develop a project plan that would bring her vision into reality.

To help with the improvements, YDO purchased a set of Yogibos (large, comfy beanbag chairs) with funds from the $100k for 100 grant awarded by the Cummings Foundation. YDO Summer staff members also pitched in by giving the library walls a fresh, colorful coat of paint.

Going further, AP connected Camille with another book lover, Ava, a student from Andover, who raised money through her own project to purchase new books for YDO’s library. Now, the updated space has new and popular books (some new releases), a puzzle table, and a cool new vibe!

YDO High School Prep class meeting in the renovated library