Hello everyone, my name is Nahom Kebede.
It’s an honor to stand here this evening and speak in front you as an alumnus of South High School, where I graduated in 2012, and the Step Up youth employment program.
I had the privilege to participate in Step Up the summers of my sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school. Throughout that time, I held a variety of diverse internships, including Children's Minnesota, Kraus-Anderson, and Thrivent Financial.
Each internship opened up the world a little more to me, not only because of the skill sets I developed but because of the way my mentors went above and beyond to ensure I gained what I could from each of those experiences. For instance, my mentor at Children's Minnesota made sure that I was able to shadow an orthopedic surgeon and a pharmacist during my time there. This wasn't part of her responsibility, but she took the time to help me explore my interests.
I also gained invaluable insights through the internships themselves. For example, I learned that I did not wish to pursue medicine as I had originally desired, but that I was instead driven by a passion for finance and financial literacy. I also discovered I had a strong interest in business and social entrepreneurship, and became fascinated by the possibility of making an impact on the world simply by the work you produce.
Because of these experiences I went to St. Olaf College, where I majored in economics and started an entrepreneurship club on campus called Free Thinkers Society. And today I work as a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial.
I still connect with many of my Step Up mentors. The confidence my mentors had in me helped me gain confidence in myself. I soon trusted in my ability to achieve in an academic setting, in work settings and in my personal life, as well. Step Up also widened my perspective of what I thought possible for myself.
It is now my time to give back to the program that gave so much to me.
Having a mentor who inspires you, motivates you, believes in you, and who shows up for you can make all the difference in how a young adult shapes their outlook on life. I know this to be true because of what my own mentors did for me. I am truly honored to be in a position where I can mentor as an AchieveMpls Graduation Coach and, in return, be mentored by the students I'm working with at Roosevelt High School.
So I would like to end by thanking everyone here for supporting the program, as well as every monitor for being committed to the students and to this work. Thank you!