Kebede, 17, is a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. She was one of 14 young women awarded a grant last week through the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, which provides leadership skills and mentorship for young women. Prior to receiving the grant, she participated in a leadership forum as part of the initiative.
How did you get involved with the ANNpower Vital Voices leadership training program?
My English teacher recommended me for this program because I did research in our class on the glass ceiling in America. She thought I would be interested in empowering women, and she suggested I apply for the program.
What went through your mind when you learned that you were awarded the grant?
I felt honored to get the incredible opportunity to carry out my plan.
How much money is the grant for, and how do you plan to use the grant?
The grant is for $1,900 ... We will have peer-to-peer mentorship [at my school] for those who have come to the United States for education programs. We want to facilitate parent-teacher conferences for students to keep parents engaged.
The weekly gatherings will be based on peer-to-peer exchanges. I'll be working with other girls who have been through the process of being immigrant kids, and they can help mentor the new participants.
What are your plans for college, and what do you hope to do for a career?
Ultimately, I would love to become an OB/GYN. One of the reasons that I wanted to apply for this program is because I had done a project where I went back to Ethiopia, where I am from, to raise money and help those women become more visible in the world. I would like to study nursing and pre-med at the same time. I've always wanted to look at all levels of care and experience it.
- Naomi Jagoda