Serving on the Microsoft Team at Cardozo Senior High School in Washington, D.C. Michelle Didero has seen firsthand how education, combined with hard work and encouragement, can change a young person’s life.

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She worked with Jacob, a young man struggling in geometry class. He frequently showed up late to class and didn’t complete assignments. Didero began working with him, and by the end of the semester, Jacob showed up to class on time, completed his work and received a “B” in geometry. Today, he’s asking Didero about job opportunities and showing more confidence in his abilities.

Didero recently participated as a panelist at a YouthSpark Connection event at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Microsoft co-hosted the event with the Brookings Institution, and the conversation focused on urban education in the D.C. area and how to better prepare students for future careers through STEM – science, technology, engineering and math programs. Didero said she was energized by the rich discussion and STEM education efforts. “[It’s] a movement that will change the lives of young people by giving them resources to excel and instilling in them a sense of self-worth,” she noted in a CityYear blog post

We salute young people like Michelle for sharing her time and talents via CityYear, and for being the voice of young people in Washington, D.C. and around the world.