YDO Enters Methuen Festival of Trees


About a year ago, Mike Diodati approached YDO’s staff looking for an opportunity to volunteer to help the organization. YDO’s answer to Mike was “What are you passionate about? What talent or skill can you share? Then, we will work to round up a group of kids interested in that.”

It worked. In the summer, Mike pitched the idea of leading a design & build program that would have YDO Kids enter a themed holiday tree in Methuen’s annual Festival of Trees. By trade, Mike runs his own general contracting company, Diodati Constuction; and his idea was a perfect fit for the type of hands-on, project-based learning YDO seeks for its students.

Alicia L. (Gr. 4, St. Augustine’s) learning to use the bandsaw

Mike’s class started at the end of September and met once a week until Thanksgiving. His students each designed and constructed their own mini-trees, which they could take home. Collaboratively, they created a 12-tier, 8-ft-tall tree that was included in the December issue of Methuen Life Magazine.

Four of the students’ mini-trees. Photo by Jalice Lopez.

Mike’s son, Jackson Diodati, has participated in YDO Summer and STEM programs since 2013. He graduated from the Frost Middle School last spring and now attends Phillips Academy in Andover, where he scored a major role in the fall production of The Nutcracker. Mike’s daughter Amelia started at YDO this fall by joining the Science Club for Girls program. And, since volunteering is contagious, Mike’s wife Annette led a young group of students through five weeks of arts & crafts while YDO @PA was on break. It’s a family affair!

YDO would like to include here a very sincere and public thank you to the Diodati family for making the Fall 2016 term one to always remember!