By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Apple Valley) – When Lilly Dawit-Mamo first learned she was chosen as Young Humanitarian of the Year for the St. Mary Hospital Foundation Gala, she was SO excited.
“When I found out that I won I screamed!” said Dawit-Mamo. “My best friend is the one that told me. And her dad is the humanitarian of the year, so it was nice. I was just so happy that I got the opportunity.”
Dawit-Mamo has logged more than 300 hours of service since she began volunteering with the foundation in 2007. She is also active in many other nonprofit organizations in the High Desert addressing important issues including childhood obesity and breast cancer awareness, as well as those in need including mentally handicapped and the homeless.
“I’m involved in a lot of community service,” said Dawitt-Mamo. “For me it’s about how much you give to your community and society. I’ve done a lot of volunteering in 3rd world countries, at my school, and at the hospital.”
Last summer Dawitt-Mamo volunteered in Ethiopia, which is her parents’ home country. “I worked at 2 orphanages there. I taught them English and helped them with their studies. It was nice.”
“I’m very proud of my heritage, I love telling people that I am Ethiopian. I love just the culture of Ethiopia and I’ve always wanted to go back there, because it is a 3rd world country, and because they’re under-served. I’ve always wanted to help out there and I get a lot of satisfaction by volunteering,” Dawitt-Mamo explained.
Dawitt-Mamo graduated from Granite Hills High School in June, and is now attending George Washington University in Washington D.C. She is in the 7 year medical program.
Her thoughts on volunteering, “I feel like I’ve done something to benefit others and that makes me happy. I feel bad if I don’t do it. And I’ve been blessed with a lot – I like to share that with a lot of people.”
The 20th Annual Foundation Gala begins at 6 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds. Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the overall future expansion of St. Mary Medical Center and its new Victorville campus. For more information, please call (760) 946-8167.