Like most high school seniors, Anaiya Dixon is looking forward: looking forward to graduation, looking forward to summer, looking forward to starting her freshman year at Towson University, looking forward to prom. “I’m wearing a mermaid-style dress. It’s blue,” she says with a smile. But, while she looks ahead to a bright future, she is also taking time to look back.
Anaiya is a former PIE Scholar who attended Holy Angels Catholic School from 6th grade to 8th grade. She credits Holy Angels with encouraging her to get involved with community service and says her experience at Holy Angels has inspired her to help others. So, when Anaiya had to decide what her high school Senior Project would be, she wanted to find a way to “give back to the place that raised me”. As she thought of what students at Holy Angels needed, she thought of her transition to high school and the different things that she wished she knew ahead of time. Anaiya spent three weeks earlier this semester developing the ‘Grow As You Go’ mentoring program for middle school girls at Holy Angels. She then started her two-week project at Holy Angels. The girls she mentors meet 4 times a week after school. Anaiya uses this time to addresses mental and physical health, organizational skills, academic success, and other topics to encourage positive habits.
‘Grow As You Go’ gives the middle school girls a safe and productive space to express ideas and questions among their peers. Anaiya encourages them to grow and push their limits. “I want them to see that everything is in front of them and they can do anything,” says the young woman with everything in front of her. Having been in their shoes, Anaiya is, in many ways, just the right role model for these young girls. The girls she mentors all say that they love the program and wish it had existed before. “That keeps pushing me to come back. I love waking up and saying ‘I get to be with the girls today!’ It gets me out of bed in the morning,” says Anaiya. She hopes that these two weeks of ‘Grow As You Go’ will give the girls the knowledge she wishes she had as they transition to high school and hopefully onto college.
Thank you Anaiya for giving back, and good luck in all that you do!