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  • Lori Crawford

Lori Crawford, 10 Years at YES

1. What have you most enjoyed about working at YES? Why did you join the team and what made you stay?

My greatest joys at YES have been each and every “win” youth have experienced. Seeing youth learn and come to believe it’s okay to self-define success and realize that vision in their own life fills my heart. These reserves of happiness for the youth YES serves in turn helps sustain the work I do - so much if my current role is behind the scenes now. I truly miss the relationships I’d foster with the youth I directly supported in previous roles while also knowing that YES is able to serve more youth now through the current season of my service at YES. After all, I joined YES to hold the space for youth that I never had held for me during my childhood. A decade later, I’m finally able to see that I don’t need to hold all the space for all youth as they navigate all the things - I’m honoring that my capacity looks different now, and that’s okay! Here’s to wishing that the first cohort of youth I served in 2013 now know it’s okay to honor the ebbs and flows of what season of life they’re now in too!

2. What’s your favorite YES moment?

My favorite YES moment was when my very first client graduated high school and gifted me a handwritten letter expressing how our time together supported her goal of graduating. Seven years after receiving that letter, it’s still on my ancestral altar in my home as a reminder that our legacies and the impact we leave in the works happens while we’re living.

3. What is your job at YES and how do you impact students?

My current role is Creativity Curator - and yes I gave myself that title because Grant Manager & Resource Director was feeling a bit flat. As Creativity Curator I impact youth by bringing funding resources to YES so youth receive the high quality and personalized services they deserve.

4. What are your goals for the future? What are you looking forward to?

My most vital goal for 2023 is to manage my email inbox - if that happens, mountains will move and my impact at YES will continue to blossom. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact YES youth, families, and communities have through their Council efforts.

5. How have you seen YES grow over the years and where do you see this organization going?

My first day at YES I was given a two foot high stack of miscellaneous papers, projector slides, and crumpled up receipts and told to create a History of YES presentation for the next Board Meeting - in two days. As my reward for climbing that paper mountain without a paper cut and producing a quality report, on my third day at YES I was asked to write a 10 page single spaced grant. After googling what a grant was, I got to it, and here we are 10 years later with each of those years bringing YES a larger operating budget than the prior year - a feat most nonprofits have not experienced. I share that to illustrate that YES continues to turn new leaves, it’s branches rising to the occasion by providing the shade and sustenance youth need, trusting that while the storms we weather may shift year to year, we remember who we are, who we serve, and the values that bear the fruits of YES’ vision of youth being their own best resource. Over the past decade YES learned how to have its own back so we can better have the backs of those who mean the most to us - our youth.

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