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Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) and the McGaw YMCA hosted their second annual youth-led “Take Over” event at the McGaw Y’s MetaMedia on April 6.

Young people from across Evanston and Skokie were invited to join Y.O.U. youth leaders in celebrating STEM and talking about gender representation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Participants highlighted the role of girls, women, and gender-expansive people in these fields and inspired each other to be the next tech leaders.

At the event, youth from Y.O.U.’s middle school programs created activities for youth to learn more about STEM and STEM role models. Some popular booths included the Affirmation Station, led by youth from Y.O.U.’s after-school program at Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School, where youth could write positive messages to help them overcome obstacles.

Meanwhile, at the Code It station, MetaMedia staff and STEM experts guided students in introductory coding activities. The event culminated in a communal pizza dinner and a chance for youth to return to their favorite activities.

When asked her favorite part of the event, Natalia, a seventh-grader at Nichols Middle School said, “I liked making my own pins and learning about women who have made a change in the world.”