Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a variety of after-school programs that helped shape me into the person I am today. From learning entrepreneurship to software development, these programs were possible thanks to the dedicated educators and volunteers who gave their time and energy to help young people like me find our passions. It’s this impact that has inspired me to give back and help support youth service organizations, ultimately leading me to create AfterSchool HQ.
Rewind to the third grade when I participated in a week-long camp where I learned how to run a candy store. We got a chance to sell candy to other students, helping us learn the early concepts of customer service, supply and demand, and finances (namely profit). This experience led me to go buy my own candy in bulk and to sell candy for a profit at school on my own (i.e. applying math skills).
As I entered Junior High, I had the opportunity to participate in engineering programs at Purdue, where I learned how to code and develop software. Without these after-school programs, I may not have discovered my passion for entrepreneurship and software development. These programs led directly to my decision to go to Purdue University and pursue a degree in software development.
Once I graduated from college, I began working with young people to help them overcome the obstacles I faced as a young person. My mother started an after-school program called Felege Hiywot Center (which means “finding direction to life” in Amharic). In order to help the organization get started, I volunteered and also became the Chairman of the Board to lead the organization in the early years. This experience helped me understand the importance of these organizations in providing support and opportunities for young people. It also helped me see the many challenges that are faced by those who are looking to help our youth. Youth service organizations are led by passionate leaders who have to wear too many hats and give the most with the least amount of resources.
In 2018, I founded AfterSchool HQ, a company that now supports youth service organizations across 18 states. Our platform offers an easy-to-use management system that organizes volunteer schedules and tracks student progress. By providing a centralized platform for these organizations, we can help them streamline their operations and maximize their impact on young people.
Through my work with AfterSchool HQ, I have seen firsthand how youth service organizations can make a difference in the lives of young people. Whether it’s providing mentorship, teaching life skills, or offering opportunities for personal growth, these organizations provide critical support for youth. I’m proud to be able to support them through AfterSchool HQ, and I’m excited to see where the future takes us.
My journey from student to CEO has taught me the importance of giving back and supporting young people. I’m grateful for the educators and volunteers who helped me find my passions and inspired me to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Through AfterSchool HQ, I’m able to support incredible organizations and help them maximize their impact on young people. I encourage everyone to get involved in your local youth service organizations and see firsthand how they can make a difference in the lives of young people.