Jasmine De La Cruz

13 Years with YDO

Involvement: Theater, Dance, Writing, Co-Director of YDO Summer

My YDO Story | YDO alumna comes home

Jasmine De La Cruz, 2023

- SNHU '23 - GLTS '19

I don’t remember the initial conversation that brought me to YDO, but I’ll never forget the way I felt once I met Howard Sticklor. Howard had a way of making a kid feel seen upon first meeting them. He always found a way to make a kid feel special and talented. When Howard saw something in you, he made it a point to get you to see what he saw in you, too. 

I’ve been with YDO for 13 years and counting. YDO gave me the confidence I needed to step out of my comfort zone and find myself. Any creative idea I’ve ever had was followed with, “so how do we make this happen?” YDO made me feel like anything was possible if I set my mind to it, because I wouldn’t ever be doing it alone. I started off my YDO journey attending programs at Phillips Academy in fourth grade. I participated in a variety of arts and academic enrichment programs throughout my time at YDO leading into high school. During my senior year, I was given the opportunity to be a co-director of YDO Summer, which was the beginning of my story in leadership. YDO Summer taught me lessons I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. 

YDO as an organization helped shape the person I am today. I’ve made lifelong friends and memories I’ll never forget. I’m grateful to see the growth within myself and the organization, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. My hope is to inspire our kids to truly believe that the sky’s the limit, and the world is their oyster. I’ll support them the best I can every step of the way – because that’s what YDO did for me.