YDO Approach

With quality programming and partnerships, YDO creates enrichment pathways for students to accelerate their learning, gain momentum and improve the trajectory of their lives.

Our Mission

Our mission is to grow a vibrant community of self-motivated learners and leaders by:

  1. offering high-quality educational activities,
  2. developing supportive long-term relationships, and
  3. providing personalized opportunities for success

YDO students, through our programs & collaborations, are able to participate in out-of-school enrichment spanning STEM disciplines, the performing & fine Arts, and leadership development.

Our Theory of Engagement

Since its founding, YDO has been an entrepreneurial organization, actively recruiting under-served, motivated students while aggressively seeking partnerships and developing programs that offer those students the very best educational experiences

With close personal relationships and a strong sense of community, YDO wraps student engagement in support measures that lower barriers to participation. This approach enables YDO to create intentional, personalized pathways for students to broaden their exposure and build upon their strengths en route to post-secondary education and career success

STEP 1 – The Hook

Initial engagement begins by clearly matching a student’s recognized strength, talent or passion with a YDO program

TWO – Exploration

YDO Invites curious students to broaden and deepen their exposure to STEM and the Arts, with offerings designed to meet their needs and interests

THREE – Buy-in

When students demonstrate a commitment to growth and long-term participation, YDO responds by investing in them – providing tailored support and opportunities for achievement

FOUR – Leadership

Progress builds, skills develop, experience accumulates – YDO challenges students to step into teaching, mentoring, managing roles to expand their capacities

FIVE – The World

Our kids go forth to engage with the world, equipped with a vision for their future and a resume and network that fuels success in school, work and life

Our Students

YDO engages over 500 students in Grades 3 & up from Lawrence and its neighboring communities. Without screening for such factors, YDO serves a population of youth who can check off many of the following socioeconomic indicators:

Students come to YDO from over 25 different public schools and six charter or parochial schools. Being a citywide program, YDO is truly a place where outstanding youth are joining together based on their common interests and talents

The only prerequisites are curiosity and a willingness to participate fully. From there, YDO maintains a standard of high expectations for everyone to:

be kind, be respectful, work hard, & have fun

“There is no one curriculum or experience that projects kids out of poverty into life, but a variety of experiences can be windows into the whole world. What does it take to pull a kid out of poverty? Give them choices.”

– Howard Sticklor, Founder YDO