Jazmine Mateo

8 Years with YDO

Involvement: Performing Project, Youth CITIES, YDO Mentor, YDO Summer Staff

My YDO Story | Opportunities made me stronger

Jazmine Mateo, 2018

- Salem State University '18 - LHS '14

The things I learned through YDO helped me grow and take on more opportunities in my daily life. If not for YDO, I don’t think I would have been inspired to be a double major in Theatre and Business Management.

In 2012, I was first given the opportunity to be a camp counselor for the two-week theatre program The Performing Project, a partner of YDO, with an inspiring 11-year-old leader/director named Maggie. What we managed to do was incredible; a musical rehearsed for just ten days and performed completely free of charge for the city of Lawrence and friends. Later that year I participated in Youth CITIES’ March-to-May Bootcamp. I knew it was an entrepreneurship program, but I had no idea I would actually create a product or service! It was a challenge I was willing to take, and for someone who is very soft spoken it was very empowering to present my idea to an audience. I feel blessed to say that I made it to the final round. It was one of the best experiences of my life, so much so that I decided to pursue business alongside theatre.

Since my first year at YDO I have continued working with the Performing Project every summer (this was the 5th year of the program!), I have co-facilitated a theatre/writing workshop for kids in the program, have taught acting to middle and elementary students for 2 consecutive years in the YDO Summer Program, and have supported my two siblings in their programs as they are now YDO kids themselves.

YDO provided an outlet for me to express myself and gain confidence that I did not know I had. I am now entering my 3rd year of college in Salem State University as a double major in Theatre (Performance) and Business Management as well as a minor in Spanish and a member of the Commonwealth Honors Program. I am actively involved on campus. I was recently hired as an RA, cast in my school’s Fall production of The Seagull, voted to be the Coordinator of the Latin American Student Organization, and am a dance captain for my school’s first ever Latin dance team.