By Kenya Johnson, Reach Site Manager
Like many people, I now tell time in the terms of “Before COVID-19” and “After COVID-19.” With so much changing around us on a daily basis, I can always count on three words to brighten up my spirits: “Hey Ms. Kenya!” Before COVID-19, I often heard this beautiful chant in the hallways of Coolidge High School as I walked up to a group of teens waiting to start their tutoring session for the evening. One teen in particular, Daveena, would softly say this chant as I opened the door, and then proceeded to tutor her 2-3 students for the day, supporting them along the way.
When you first meet Daveena, you might think she is a little reserved and maybe even shy. However, Daveena is a prime example of knowing that quiet does not mean soft-spoken. If you ever get the pleasure of speaking with Daveena, you will discover that Daveena knows instinctively how to carry her own weight in thought-provoking conversations.
One of my favorite things about Daveena is her quiet brilliance. While she may seem that she is to herself, she knows how to effortlessly stay on top of her schoolwork. I can recall a cherished “Before COVID-19” memory of attending Coolidge’s Honors Assembly with our Program Manager, Jasmine. When Daveena saw us both in the audience, she quickly asked, “What are y’all doing here?”
“What do you mean? We’re here to support you!” we playfully replied. And Daveena truly makes it easy to support her. Since that assembly, she has not only gotten numerous promotions within Reach, actively participated in our summer programs, and she wrote a whole book, but she’s done all of that while maintaining grades to be on the honor roll every term.
Watching Daveena bloom and blossom into the amazing, brilliant young lady she has always been is one of the many experiences I am truly grateful to witness. Daveena has changed my world time and time again, and I appreciate how she is #AlwaysThere to brighten my day. I am genuinely excited to see the amazing things she will continue to accomplish as the years go on.
During the month of December, we aim to raise $200,000 to support our ongoing
programming. While it’s changed this year, we remain committed to providing
comprehensive support to hundreds of students this year. We can’t do this without
your support. Please consider making a gift here. So far, we've raised $119,667.