My name is Samrawit Kelkay, I am currently a senior at Montgomery Blair High School. I was born and raised in Gondar, Ethiopia, until I was 9 years old. Over the summer, I participated in a Learning Exchange Program (LEP) that Gimie’s Organization for Youth has offered. Among the many things I learned from this Program some of them are: the different types of leaders, distinguishing the type of leader I am, becoming a good and effective leader, the many ways I can make a difference in my community both now and in the future, improving my weaknesses and finding different opportunities that can help me become a better leader in my community. The theme of the LEP was conducting research and engaging in leadership training. The project was helpful because I was able to sharpen my skills as well as learn about new tools that advance my understanding of the leadership role. Overall, the LEP gave me a chance to learn new things while helping me become a better leader.
Among all the research topics, I decided to focus on the value of a college degree and what it means to me and my family. Completing a college degree is very important to me because it will expose me to more career opportunities in terms of getting a better job and improving my socioeconomic status. Completing a college degree also will allow me to get new experiences that will teach me many lessons about life and other people with different cultures and backgrounds. Overall, completing a college degree is one of my family norms. African parents strongly believe in education; they think it is one of the most effective steps of achieving a better life. Therefore, they expect me to use any opportunities effectively and wisely and to improve my life in many aspects. When I go to college, I want to get a degree as a Nurse Practitioner and my long term goal is to become a pediatrician. As an Ethiopian immigrant, I am devoted to helping other immigrant students and minorities. In the future, I will use both the leadership skills I learned in the LEP and the leadership skills I will learn in college to create my own organization like Liberty's Promise; which is another inspiring organization that serves immigrants youth. I dream of starting up an organization that will provide opportunities for middle and high school students inspired by the Middle School Mentoring Program my friends and I founded.
I have a message for the youth. If you want to make a difference in your community, I encourage you to get involved. I believe you can benefit from GOFY's programs. The LEP, this summer, was outstanding and I have learned so much. This program helped me improve my communication skills and helped increase my self-esteem. This organization has so much to offer and all the team members show a strong commitment and want youth to succeed.