What’s up everyone? I’m Aron Yohannes. I’m from Skyway, Washington. It is ten miles south of downtown Seattle, between Rainier Beach and Renton. My family is originally from Eritrea in east Africa, bordered by Ethiopia and the Red Sea. Due to Eritrea’s war for independence and also for opportunity, my very large family decided to immigrate to Seattle in 1989 with the sponsorship of a church in Seattle.
Coming from a large family with strong cultural values, I’ve always been family oriented. I’d spend a lot of my time outdoors with my many sisters, brother, and cousins playing soccer, having FIFA game nights, or making trails in the blackberry bushes in front of my home so that we wouldn’t have to walk around to get to the park, or watching movies. One of my all-time favorite movies is Toy Story. My Godfather would always buy me Toy Story gear (movies, posters, action figures). One of the early problems I faced was learning English as well as doing homework. My parents worked long hours and English was a second language for them, so I’d have no one to read with or to help me with homework. One of the places I found refuge in was the homework help center at the Rainier Beach Library. I’d go there with my siblings after school and work with remarkable tutors as well as other students in the same boat as me.
I attended O’Dea High School located in downtown Seattle. I would take the train down to Pioneer Square every morning for school. I became involved with many different sports teams: football, basketball, soccer, and swimming. Some of the clubs I was active in were chess club, math club, and I also became involved in volunteering at a foodbank called Northwest Harvest down the street from O’Dea. I also found a job at CenturyLink Field as a ticket scanner, which was awesome because I love the Sounders and Seahawks. One of the things I enjoy about Seattle is the bipolar weather. During class, I’d get distracted and stare out the window to see what the weather is like. I also consider meteorologist Steve Pool one of my all-time favorite people. That man looks like he hasn’t aged a day since I first saw him on television 15 years ago.
At the University of Washington, my major for the first two years was atmospheric sciences. After talking with an adviser, I decided that Environmental Science would be the best way to go. One of my favorite classes has been “Introduction to Restoration Ecology” with Professor John Bakker. I’m interested in learning how Washington ecosystems will be altered over time due to climate change, and am now getting minors in climate and mathematics. I became involved in the National Society for Black Engineers “NSBE” club, where different companies come to talk about internships and hold workshops. I also do intramural flag football and basketball with friends. I began tutoring and mentoring at the Eritrean Community Center and the Youth Tutoring Program. Giving back to my own community this way is special to me because of my own experience receiving tutoring, and I know that it is a huge difference maker for youth.
My experience of tutor/mentor is a partial motivation as to why I’m enthusiastic to be a part of the In My Backyard program. The mentees have a lot to gain from this program and I’m excited to share my own experiences.
Looking forward to writing more blog posts. Peace!