‘Dear Steve’ by Gift Igben

This piece was part of the Ánimo Voices Competition, which invited students to write about innovators, upstanders, visionaries, or rebels that have made a difference in their local or broader communities. The competition was an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing and art.

Dear Steve

by Gift Igben, 9th grade, Ánimo City of Champions Charter High School


Note: This is fiction told through a letter.

1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA, 95014

Dear Steve,

Remember that time in university we were joking around about what we thought we would do in the future? We were just freshmen, adjusting to our new dorms. Who knew you would do such great things? Your inventions like the iPhone show creativity and support for all kinds of people. It’s amazing how it accommodates people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired. There are so many features to this small device!

While you’ve been doing great things, I managed to travel back to Zimbabwe and reach out to my home community and help those I left when I got such a great opportunity to study in the United States. My charity, Center of Hope, helps those who are less fortunate to start or advance their education. We help them nurture their dreams like mine were at their age. I dreamed about this for so long, and it happened, and now I’m giving back to my home, which I felt I owed them.

Here in Zimbabwe, we struggle with a lack of books and teachers, which prevents us from following our dreams and reaching our goals. Many of the children had the mindset that without school or wealthy communities, they can’t accomplish anything, which I wanted to change through my charity.There are many diseases that also distract us from our goals. Some people here don’t even have families and have lost them due to illness. My charity wants to change that one child at a time, giving them the key to improve hospitals and schools in the future. Your organization donated 100 iPads to Center of Hope recently, which made me want to reach out to you to congratulate you and thank you for the collaboration that came from our time in university together.

We are teaching the kids basic knowledge and research skills on the iPads that were donated. The kids are really learning and expanding their mindsets towards their futures. At the moment, we are educating them on the different career paths available no matter their home situation. The donated iPads gave them the resources to research the different career choices, the different education options, and how to take care of themselves and their families. The technology is amazing, and we are able to use the translation tools to communicate with other people in different countries and better their English. They are being exposed to more diversity through what they’re reading and communicating with their penpals.

Some of our students want to become the next Steve Jobs. They look up to you for how you have handled your own struggles and staying true to your ideas despite others’ negativity. Quite a few have said they want to study to become doctors in order to help other families in the area, which is the purpose of my charity. They are so inspired by you, and you have made a huge impact on this community. We greatly appreciate your generosity.

It was great to have known you at our university. I’m so glad that you progressed to make great things and achieve milestones. We can't wait for you to write back. My charity is ever so grateful!


Anna Stefson
Founder, Center of Hope Charity

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