For the Students

The Verdict

For the Students

The Verdict

For the Students

The Verdict

How Makda Dejene is GIVE-ing back to her community

Makda Dejene, a junior at Justice High School, has found a great way to give back to her local commu­nity, while still stay­ing safe in the midst of a pandemic. Dejene is one of the Exec­u­tive Direc­tors of the GIVE Youth orga­ni­za­tion, which is a local tutor­ing program for students that is now completely virtual.

The Growth and Inspi­ra­tion through Volun­teer­ing and Educa­tion (GIVE) Youth program is a non-profit commu­nity orga­ni­za­tion that provides free tutor­ing services to young students in the North­ern Virginia area. Their goal is to promote the lead­er­ship of 8th-12th grade students through volun­teer­ing. Dejene had been one of these youth volun­teers for three years now.

Since it was founded in 2010, GIVE has impacted thou­sands of students and volun­teers across North­ern Virginia and has expanded to 23 centers at libraries and commu­ni­ties. However, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, tutor­ing services are being contin­ued virtu­ally for K‑8th grade students.

Dejene began as a tutor her fresh­man year and was even­tu­ally nomi­nated to become one of two center managers at her local center during her sopho­more year. Through­out the school year, she recruited multi­ple tutors and students to join her center. This past spring, Dejene applied and was accepted for a posi­tion as an Exec­u­tive Director.

“When I first heard about this youth-run orga­ni­za­tion, I was excep­tion­ally grate­ful to have the oppor­tu­nity to become a tutor and even­tu­ally gain other lead­er­ship roles.” said Dejene, “Since then, I have enjoyed partic­i­pat­ing in GIVE and value the connec­tions I’ve been able to make with chil­dren to help them grow as students.”

As an Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, she, along­side the other members of the Exec­u­tive Team, are in charge of super­vis­ing the orga­ni­za­tion. Dejene has a role in manag­ing all aspects of GIVE, includ­ing part­ner­ships, expan­sions, center managers, students and volun­teers, commu­nity outreach, and publicity.

“Our most recent chal­lenge was lead­ing the tran­si­tion of GIVE tutor­ing to the online plat­form BigBlue­But­ton and restruc­tur­ing our system to better fit this change.” said Dejene, as the pandemic forced this sudden change onto many non-profit orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing GIVE.

Dejene partic­i­pates and is a leader in many clubs at school as well. She is the Pres­i­dent of the Ethiopian Eritrean Student Asso­ci­a­tion, Pres­i­dent of Science National Honor Soci­ety, Secre­tary of the Black Student Asso­ci­a­tion, Reporter of Girl Up, and has held lead­er­ship posi­tions while work­ing for campaigns for the FCPS school board.

“I see how much she cared for the Ethiopian Eritrean Student Asso­ci­a­tion and the commu­nity we were provid­ing for,” said senior Tigist Demeke, the Vice Pres­i­dent of the Ethiopian Eritrean Student Asso­ci­a­tion who has worked closely with Dejene to run the club this year. “Makda is some­one who takes consid­er­a­tion of everyone’s ideas and inputs them into her work. She repre­sents exactly how a good leader should act.”

Dejene enjoys the long last­ing rela­tion­ships that are formed within the GIVE commu­nity and loves how grat­i­fy­ing this oppor­tu­nity can be. “I received an email from a parent request­ing help for her daugh­ter who was having diffi­culty navi­gat­ing online courses as an ESOL student. I was able to pair the student with a tutor who helped her prac­tice English and go over her assign­ments. These types of reward­ing expe­ri­ences have shaped my passion for GIVE.”

Dejene is a commit­ted and passion­ate leader at Justice High School and an excel­lent person to lead an orga­ni­za­tion that aims to provide educa­tional services to young students. GIVE has provided a great oppor­tu­nity for her to develop her lead­er­ship skills and make a differ­ence in her local community.

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