YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION INC

aka YDO   |   Lawrence, MA   |  www.ydolawrence.org

Mission

YDO annually serves ~400 Lawrence youth from Grade 3 and up with afterschool and summer programs, focused on STEM, the arts, and leadership development. YDO’s mission is unique in the City of Lawrence: to grow a community of self-motivated students by offering high-quality educational activities, developing supportive long-term relationships, and providing personalized opportunities for success. Not a drop-in center, we engage our students early, often, and consistently year after year with robust academic enrichment coupled with ongoing personal support, including need-based transportation to/from our programs. YDO Kids share some key traits—curiosity, motivation, and a lack of access to adequate out-of-school educational and leadership opportunities without YDO.

Ruling year info

2003

Executive Director

Mark Kampert

Main address

15 Union St Ste 563

Lawrence, MA 01840 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Howard Sticklor

EIN

04-3571721

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Many challenges plaguing Lawrence—one of the state's poorest communities—are due, in part, to the chronic lack of opportunity for our youth. The City is full of motivated students fighting against the drag of poverty and the precedent of low college-going rates. The median household income is $36,754, and more than 1/3 of children live at/below the poverty level. The school district remains classified as “chronically underperforming,” while 71% of students’ first language is not English, and 83% are considered “high needs.” Per the U.S. Census’ last 5-year estimate, only 11% of Lawrencians age 25+ had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Of all 2016/17 Lawrence high school graduates, only 21% intended to go to a 4-year college, 40% to a 2-year program, and nearly 30% planned to pursue “work” or “unknown.” To address these issues, YDO tackles the opportunity gap from multiple angles, providing consistent out-of-school learning and leadership opportunities, coupled with deep personal support.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

YDO @Phillips Academy

Through YDO’s long-standing partnership with Phillips Academy in Andover (PA), each academic year, dozens of PA student volunteers design and lead 15 weeks of afterschool enrichment classes for ~70 YDO Kids on PA’s campus. This collaboration provides YDO’s younger population (Grades 3-5) with valuable mentoring and academic opportunities while, importantly, building a bridge for interaction among young people of very different backgrounds.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Started in 2012, YDO Summer demonstrates the power of the YDO community over time. Both an academic program and a leadership development opportunity, YDO Summer is delivered by kids, for kids. Through it, YDO provides five weeks of rigorous daily courses (e.g., Chemistry, Robotics, Photography, Coding, Film-making, Biology, Creative Writing, Math) to ~150 Lawrence youth in Grades 3-8. High school & college students who have grown up with YDO now plan the curricula and serve as teachers for the next generation of YDO Kids. Beyond the leadership and summer employment opportunities for older students, this program has developed into arguably the City’s best summer enrichment offering for elementary and middle school students seeking more than a playground.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

YDO’s leadership has always recognized that Lawrence students are acutely at risk of being left behind without STEM’s critical educational foundation as well as exposure to and preparation for STEM careers. YDO mitigates this risk by maintaining a “STEM opportunity pipeline,” delivered primarily through the YDO Science Academy and STEM Design Lab. We offer an innovative curriculum, with classes designed and scaffolded to help students gain a range of technical skills and knowledge and develop as critical thinkers and creative problem solvers. In the YDO Science Academy, semester classes delivered after school are designed to introduce students to STEM as early as possible, give them the opportunity to learn via hands-on projects, allow them to explore different subject areas, and prepare them for YDO’s more advanced STEM courses in the future. These challenging, project-based enrichment courses vary and have included Astronomy, Computer Coding, Brain Games, LEGO Robotics, and Math Games. YDO Kids also have opportunities to compete in the Massachusetts Science Olympiad and the Future Cities competition as well as gain access to YDO partner programs such as Science Club for Girls.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

YDO’s leadership has always recognized that Lawrence students are acutely at risk of being left behind without STEM’s critical educational foundation as well as exposure to and preparation for STEM careers. YDO mitigates this risk by maintaining a “STEM opportunity pipeline,” delivered primarily through the YDO Science Academy and STEM Design Lab. We offer an innovative curriculum, with classes designed and scaffolded to help students gain a range of technical skills and knowledge and develop as critical thinkers and creative problem solvers. When YDO Kids are ready for more challenging STEM courses, they can transition from the YDO Science Academy to the Design Lab, with project-based classes that task them with answering questions that are open ended and truly multidisciplinary. The most advanced projects require YDO students to utilize industry-standard computer-aided-drafting software, hand tools, power tools, a variety of materials, Arduino microcontrollers, and programming languages, while applying advanced algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and engineering design concepts. Through the Lab, YDO offers:
- School Year Courses: YDO seeks to augment participants’ school-based learning with an array of courses for ~60 students each semester. Courses vart and have included: Advanced Robotics, Motorized Machines, Toy Engineering, Halloween Animatronics, and Laser Light Show Development.
- STEM Design 325: Lawrence High School (LHS) and YDO together select~10 students per year, from Grades 11 and 12, to take a year-long elective course at the STEM Design Lab as part of their LHS curriculum. The students received credit for participation, transportation from YDO to and from LHS, and the opportunity to perform paid work study duties at YDO in the afternoons after class.
- STEM Design Summer: This accelerated, five-week summer program serves ~12 students (grades 7-10) with an advanced interest in STEM. Meeting five days per week, students focus on some of our most challenging STEM projects and attend industry field trips.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Each semester, YDO offers students afterschool opportunities to explore different media and develop creative interests. Led by YDO's artist-in-residence and fine arts fellow, youth of all ages can take advantage of a variety of semester-long classes after school, such as ceramics, Hip-Hop dance, piano, mixed media art, photography, and vocal expression. YDO also leads a Destination Imagination team each year. In addition, we partner with the Performing Project to put on a major theatrical production annually, giving Lawrence students an experience in the performing arts that many would not otherwise be able to afford.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

YDO serves as a community connector, providing students access to opportunities within and outside of Lawrence, with a focus on mentorships, college scholarships, internships, community leadership, and entrepreneurship. For example, we collaborate with programs such as Aaron's Presents (Andover), [email protected] (South Hamilton), The Governors Academy: GovsPLUS (Byfield), Lawrence Youth Council, The Posse Foundation (Boston), and Youth CITIES (Cambridge). In addition, older YDO youth have a strong voice in the direction of our organization and curriculum offered. For example, we annually offer many YDO Summer director/teacher positions to YDO Kids Summer as well as many school-year teaching positions, which afford youth with experience in designing and implementing curriculum and leading a class.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

In spring 2018, YDO launched Postsecondary Pathways in partnership with Abbot Lawrence Academy (ALA, Lawrence High School's new honors academy) with an inaugural class of 31 juniors (many YDO Kids and others new to our program) at Abbott Lawrence Academy (ALA). They are receiving intense, highly-personalized support with the college search, application, financial aid, admissions, and transition processes. The Pathways program emphasizes early identification, early intervention, and early commitment for all participating juniors and seniors, regardless of academic abilities. With each student, we develop and execute a strategy for earning a technical certification or an associate’s and/or bachelor’s degree. YDO plans to incubate at ALA with the goal of expansion within Lawrence in the future. Ultimately, YDO seeks to spur the establishment of the durable infrastructure and consistent support that drives postsecondary access and attainment—resources routinely available to our students’ upper-income peers.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

40 Under 40 2016

Boston Business Journal

Nonprofit of the Year 2018

Enterprise Bank Celebration of Excellence

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

YDO puts Lawrence youth—as young as 8 and as old as 18+—on pathways to success. We deliver rigorous year-round academic enrichment and leadership development opportunities, focused on STEM and the arts and delivered free of charge. Not a drop-in center, we offer more than just one-off afterschool and summer classes. YDO engages with youth consistently, coupling our flagship programs with consistent mentoring and support, including need-based transportation to and from our programs and those of our community partners. YDO Kids develop skills and confidence, through challenging, semester-long courses that build on one another and on their interests and talents.
Every year, more of these students are growing into high school and college students with considerable talents and skills to share. By design, we position these students to see themselves as leaders, to step into teaching and mentorship positions at YDO, and to become role models for their peers and younger YDO students. Visible in the community and in their fields of interest, our young leaders are gaining the confidence and experiences that are attractive on a college application, impressive on a resume, and critical in a career. At the same time, their contributions of time and talent are helping to sustain YDO and support our impact.

YDO Kids hunger for a stable community committed to helping them succeed over time. So, we develop intentional pathways for them through YDO's programs. We wrap our offerings with consistent, individualized support to ensure students' long-term persistence. Our goal is to move each student through the five stages on the “YDO Pathway:” 1. The Hook: We begin by matching a student's strengths, talents, and passions with a YDO program(s). 2. Exploration: YDO invites students to broaden and deepen their exposure to STEM and the arts, with a range of offerings. 3. Buy-In: When students demonstrate a commitment to long-term participation, we invest in them, providing tailored support and opportunities for achievement. 4. Leadership: As skills develop, we challenge students to step into teaching, mentoring, and/or management roles within YDO. 5. The World: YDO Kids graduate from our program equipped with a vision for their future and a resume and network to fuel success.

Integral to understanding YDO’s unique approach is an appreciation for what we do NOT offer. We are not a drop-in center, providing a place to simply hang out. We are not a daycare, where families send children after school and over summers. We deliver curricula with courses that build on one another and on students’ skills. When young people are at YDO, they are constructing, questioning, creating, collaborating, problem solving, designing, and leading.

We also recognize that so many of our YDO Kids face chronic barriers to success, so we prioritize the elimination of two: cost and transportation. All of our afterschool and summer enrichment programming is absolutely free to Lawrence youth, and there are no fees for class materials, field trips, etc. In addition, student transportation is fundamental to our mission; we maintain a fleet of passenger vans, a director of transportation, and drivers who work year round. For a nominal fee of $15/week (waived if necessary), our students receive unlimited transportation to/from YDO/school/partners. Approximately two-thirds of participants rely on us over the course of the year to transport them from YDO to home at night after our classes; to/from their schools to our program; and to our partner programs (e.g., in Lawrence, Boston, Cambridge, Andover).

Since its founding, YDO has been committed to maximizing its own impact and that of other local organizations. If another youth program in, for example, Lawrence, Cambridge, or Boston can offer a unique learning opportunity to our students, we build a partnership and provide YDO Kids with transportation and ongoing support to ensure they make the most of that program. YDO then remains focused on what it does best—providing multiple levels of academic enrichment and intensive personal guidance. Over the years, we have found no special activity or curriculum that, in isolation, propels a student toward success. What has been effective is a combination of long-term mentoring along with frequent points of engagement, term after term, year after year. This engagement is begun and maintained through YDO's flagship programs, which are designed to keep meeting students’ needs, building their skills, and developing their leadership abilities from elementary school through high school and beyond.

We use a variety of annual programs as the “hook” to put Lawrence youth on paths to long-term success. In our Arts Clubs, students explore creative interests (e.g., dance, photography, musical theater), and older students get experience as teachers leading these groups. In our Science Academy, semester classes (e.g., Coding, Lego Robotics, Astronomy, Sports Statistics, Math Games), which are often taught by older YDO Kids, are designed to augment school-based learning, ignite interest and build confidence in introductory STEM subjects, and prepare students for advanced courses. When ready, YDO Kids transition to our STEM Design Lab. With multi-disciplinary, project-based semester classes (e.g., Halloween Animatronics, Toy Engineering, Motorized Machines, Advanced Coding, Physics Playground), students develop from first-time experimenters to self-directed innovators, master technical skills, and gain exposure to STEM careers. Through [email protected] Academy, we take Lawrence elementary school students onto campus at Phillips Academy for 15 weeks of enrichment over the course of each academic year. YDO's partnership with Phillips is our most enduring, and these classes are delivered by Phillips students on campus in Andover and include Chinese, Comic Book Design, Creative Writing, Dance, Debate and Public Speaking, and Math. Through YDO's newest program, Postsecondary Pathways, we are providing a team of Lawrence high school juniors and seniors with two years of intensive support in preparing for and navigating the college admissions and transition processes.

YDO was founded in 2006 by math tutor Howard Sticklor after he began working with motivated Lawrence youth, finding and designing ways to engage them, introduce them to each other, and connect them to the world outside of Lawrence. He started by establishing partnerships with organizations offering academic enrichment. Howard then removed two barriers to his students’ participation: access and transportation. He enrolled youth directly in these youth programs (e.g., Prep at Pingree, Andover Breadloaf Writing Leader Program at Phillips Academy, College for Kids at Northern Essex Community College) and then personally transported them from school/home and back again.

The number of youth recruited by Howard swelled as new funding partnerships allowed him to deepen YDO’s offerings. In 2013, this work began to rapidly accelerate when Howard hired YDO’s first executive director, Mark Kampert. With investments from generous local funders, Mark and he established program space in Lawrence’s iconic Everett Mill. For the first time, YDO had a “home base” with room to gather its community of young people and deliver to them in-house classes. That year, YDO Summer was also formally launched, and YDO hired 24 high school and college students—who had grown up in Howard’s program—to plan and run a five-week summer program for the younger YDO students. It was at this time that today’s YDO was “born,” as an organization coupling Howard’s deep commitment to personally supporting the success of each individual student over time with a slate of rigorous afterschool and summer programs designed to build students’ skills and confidence, delivered free to Lawrence youth.

Since that time, YDO has grown to become Lawrence’s premier provider of out-of-school enrichment, even with reduced capacity due to the pandemic, we served ~450 young people in the 2020/21 academic year, and this number will continue to grow. When measuring our success, we can point to the “things,” such as the breadth and depth of programming, the robust partnerships, and the state-of-the-art STEM facilities. But most importantly, together we have been building and growing this organization without compromising the spirit and culture that made the very first YDO Kids so successful. One of our students Denise (a seven-year YDO participant and current Posse Scholar at Hamilton College) eloquently described our impact by saying, “I think YDO is so important because it takes children that society doesn’t think are good enough and shows them that by believing in themselves they can be extraordinary.”

Financials

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION INC

Board of directors
as of 10/20/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Cathy Lopez

Berkshire Grey

Mark Gosselin

NetScout Systems

Leonard D'Avolio

Cyft

Zoila Gomez

Gomez & Palumbo, LLC

Noemi Custodia-Lora

Northern Essex Community College

Richard Purinton

RPI (formerly Richard Purinton Industries)

Jon Schwartz

Forrester Research

Anita Worden

Solectria Renewables

Yaznairy Cabrera

AllianceBernstein

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/20/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/26/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.