2008 Grant Recipient
“Seven years ago I started a nonprofit called Youth Design as a way to introduce high school students to career opportunities in design by providing internships with leading creative mentors during the summer months. The program was inspired by my work on the Creative Economy Initiative for New England and with AIGA. I had a big yet simple idea that pairing talented, underserved high school youth with professional design mentors would feed the creative workforce and help guide students to tap into their creative passions as they looked towards college and beyond. We partnered with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s summer jobs program and the PIC, Private Industry Council, taking the program one step further to focus on a specific career path in design.
Through this experience, students learn that it is both possible and viable to focus on design as a profession and are encouraged to pursue a college education with a design focus. Students at the high school level are ripe for hands-on learning and eager to figure out how they can productively work in our complex world. I see Youth Design as both a pathway and mentoring support system for talented students at this critical crossroads.
The process of starting a nonprofit was certainly a challenge, but it has paid off. As we nurture Youth Design's growth, we see how the program continues to influence and inspire our students well beyond their summer spent with us. My first Youth Design student, Lydia Kardos, recently graduated from The School of Visual Arts in New York and is pursuing a career as a professional photographer. Our Ideas that Matter grant awarded to us in 2008 has helped us expand our mission to serve more youths and wider communities. Last summer we expanded Youth Design to Denver Colorado and Rhode Island. I now have my heart set on reaching the west coast by 2010!”