“Youth as Resources built my confidence. It takes young people who aren’t thought of as having much to offer and gives them a platform to prove that they do. They have a lot to offer.”
Gary got involved in YAR when he was just 12 years old. He won a grant to help pay for social/anti-violence events he was organizing with his friends at a local church in Pigtown. Before long, he became a Board member – making grants to other young people working to make a difference in their communities.
When he started high school, though, things changed. Gary still lived in Pigtown, but he went to the Friends School of Baltimore. He was caught between two different worlds – not fully accepted in either place, struggling to find his identity.
“At YAR, I could be my true, authentic, genuine self and not be judged,” he says. “It was the one place I felt that way.”
Now, Gary is a Mercyhurst University graduate and the Senior Program Officer at Public Allies Maryland, a program that builds leaders and strengthens organizations for positive change. He’s planning on getting a master’s degree.
After serving the maximum four adult terms on the Board, Gary became an official ex-officio Board member in 2013 but he is still involved in YAR as an advisor and donor.