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Circle of Women 2015- Tigist (Tigi) Frauenheim Danke

By YWCA of Minneapolis
June 8, 2015
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Tigist (Tigi) Frauenheim Danke is 13 years old and in seventh grade at Sanford Middle School. Tigi has been coming to the YWCA Girls Inc. after-school program since October 2014 and loves being part of an after-school all-girls group focused on leadership, math, science, economic literacy and healthy decision making.

Hi. My name is Tigist Frauenheim Danke.

I am 13 and in seventh grade at Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis. I live in south Minneapolis with my mom and dad, along with my brothers Sam and Miki, my sisters Hattie and Besso, and two cats. When I was three years old, me and my twin sister and my younger brother were adopted from an orphanage in Ethiopia.

I’ve been coming to the YWCA Girls Inc. after-school program since October. This is where girls get together to talk about life. I remember first learning about it while I was sitting at the tables in the cafeteria at school. A nice teacher came around and told us about field trips and sleepovers. I thought, “Oh my gosh, that would be so fun!!” I really like nice teachers; strict but not too strict.

I thought, “I really want to do this!” So, I took a form home to my mom. She was careful to read the form to make sure it was ok if I got my picture taken or something. So, every Thursday after school I go to YWCA Girls Inc. We talk about how strong we are as girls, about cool opportunities and how to make good choices. We read the Girls Inc. Bill of Rights and talked about how girls aren’t always treated equally. Then we made signs to show how we are confident.

One thing I know for sure is that I am confident, I’m grateful to be alive, and I am a girl.

My sign said “Girls Have the Right to Respect Themselves. Wave if You Believe.”

We took our signs to the Midtown YWCA and marched around the block with them. We held the signs up and a lot of people honked at us, and waved, and even smiled. It made us feel proud. Like we were doing something that would make a change. It made me really happy that people cared so much.

I like Girls Inc. because I get feedback from people.

I also like that I get to be in front of all of you speaking. I like it when people pay attention to me.

When I was 10 years old, I got a chance to go back to Ethiopia. My family and I went on a trip to Washington D.C, Rome, and Ethiopia to go see my birth family. Before the trip and before I was adopted I remember knowing that my grandpa and Dad had died. Because they were the ones that earned the money in Ethiopia, my mom had to give us up for adoption for somebody else to take care of us. I remember seeing my mom and her seeing me and my sister; she fell to her knees. I got to see my older brother and all my aunts and uncles too. I remember not wanting that time to end and I wanted to be able to stay there. Ethiopia was really different from where I live here, with muddy streets and holes in the ground. Everything was sort of half built. It was a little bit scary because cars were driving so fast and the streets were crazy. There were no stop signs. People were asking for money.

When I grow up I’m thinking I might like to be a singer, or an Olympic runner, or a coach of an Olympic runner, or a teacher. Maybe even live in Ethiopia and visit my family again.

One of the things I learned last year while studying for the MCA test at school was that I need to be confident and keep going in life. I actually wrote a note to myself that said, “I am wonderful!” I wrote that down and I’ll stick with that.

Then I asked somebody, “What if I don’t do well?” A teacher told me people will love me anyway. So, feedback from others is good, and I get feedback from my friends in YWCA Girls Inc. that helps me. They also give me tips on what’s important in life. I would like to use these tips someday to become a teacher, maybe.

I look forward to lots more years of going to the YWCA, having fun and learning more about how to be a leader.

Thank you for listening to my story.