Matthew Burns went to Westbrook Walnut Grove High School where he was active in YES! during his Freshman and Senior years (2014 & 2018).
The main projects Matthew worked on included plastic bag recycling, making braided bracelets out of bags that couldn’t be recycled, collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House and his favorite project was taking old incandescent bulbs and turning them into small planters by hollowing them out.
A skill that Matthew learned is to be more hands-on. He stated “All of our projects took work and effort and made us get down to it and do a lot by hand.”
YES! has impacted Matthew by making him think different. “I think about being more sustainable and what changes I can make in my everyday life to reduce my carbon footprint.”
What Matthew enjoyed most during his time in YES! was the people. He said “We had such great community support when it came to our projects that it really made it fun.”
Currently, Matthew is a junior at Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa studying Elementary Education and Theatre Performance.
Matthew explains that what you learn in YES! never leaves. He says “I think whether or not that plastic bag can be recycled before I take it, I think about saving the pop tabs, I think of all these little things that YES! taught me over the years.”
Thank you so much for sharing, Matthew! We are excited to see what Matthew continues to accomplish after participating in YES! We love hearing from our alumni. If you’d like to be featured as a YES! alumnus, please contact us and let us know.
Major support for YES! comes from LYFT Career Pathways, the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF), and Waste Management. Thank you!