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Inspiring tomorrow’s youth: 16-Year-Old Landon To’s Public Service Journey with GLIDE

For 16-year-old San Francisco native Landon To, the mission to serve the less fortunate shows no signs of slowing down.

Over the past few years, Landon involved himself in a student-led group called The Lunchmakers. The volunteer group puts together free lunches that are distributed monthly to various communities here in the Bay Area. GLIDE first caught up with Landon back in 2023, when he was distributing lunches to the hungry in the Tenderloin.

To financially support this endeavor, Landon applied for a $500 grant through Youth Services America, which paid for the cost of making and delivering lunches. Fast forward, and Landon has done it again!

This time, Landon was the recipient of a $500 grant from the Heartwarming Project, a program supported by The Hershey Company, and designed to help kids and teens develop important social and emotional skills while celebrating the power of connection. Hershey sponsors programs that use social-emotional learning techniques to boost mental wellbeing and equip young individuals for success in education and employment.

Landon will use the Heartwarming Project grant to engage 50 more youth volunteers during Youth Service Month (April/May) to encourage them to create Lunchmaker programs of their own. 

glide volunteers with landon to

Landon To packing lunches with fellow GLIDE youth volunteers

For Landon, this grant only reinforces his deeply held commitment to helping others, while inspiring his peers at the same time.

 “A lot of people see community service as something of a chore, or something they have to do,” said Landon. “But I think that’s the completely wrong way to look at it. If you start from a young age, community service can become normalized, like if you were to do it every weekend, then it just becomes part of your normal routine. It’s not a “I have to do this” type of activity. “

For Landon, if you start volunteering when you’re young and make public service a part of your life, it develops positive attributes like kindness and consideration of others.

Landon enjoys working with GLIDE. As a student at San Francisco Urban High School, Landon is devoting time to school projects that actively align with GLIDE’s values.

In his words, “GLIDE is easy to work with and has welcomed me. I plan to continue my partnership with GLIDE as long as they’ll have me.”