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State Honoree

Aida Mandic

Michigan

Aida Mandic, 17, of Hamtramck, Mich., a senior at Fitzgerald High School in Warren and a member of the Southeastern Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross in Detroit, created and single-handedly administered a tutoring program to help fellow Bosnian youth in her community succeed in school and in life. "I have wanted to help my people from as far back as I can remember," Aida said. "We need to prove to the world that the war has not stopped us in our educational pursuits."

Once she decided to start her Bosnian Youth Tutoring Program, Aida found a space in a local community center, posted flyers around town, and called friends and Bosnian community members to spread the word about the new service. So far, she has tutored 100 students in math, science, English, computer science, history and politics. In addition, she educates her pupils about the Bosnian War and genocide, teaches problem-solving and anti-bullying communication techniques, encourages positive attitudes and helps build lasting self-confidence. Most of her students have increased their grade-point averages, she says. "I want to prepare the kids in my program not only for school and the world, but also for dealing with life," said Aida.