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Elena Olsen-Valdez 
Elena is the proud Team Leader on the Rockwell Automation Team at Rogers Street Academy. Elena was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. Both her parents are elementary teachers and that has greatly impacted her interest in serving in schools. She has two sisters, one who is serving in City Year Denver and the other who is attending Madison College (MATC). Before serving with City Year Milwaukee, Elena studied Community Arts at UWM. This led her to work with service learning projects while volunteering, and summer jobs and internships that centered on empowering groups in their interests. 

Hometown: Madison, WI 

Hobbies: I enjoy biking, paper-making, cooking and just generally making!

Favorite City Year value: Students first, collaboration always

Why I serve: I serve to empower students in their own interests. I serve to build a community through those that are propelled by serving our young people. I serve to challenge my perspectives and lead through the vulnerability of sharing my story.  

Deja Garner

My name is Deja Garner and I am the proud Team Leader on the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County Team at the James Madison Academic Campus. Before City Year Milwaukee, I graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. One fun fact about me is I used to work in the garden department at Home Depot and I became an expert at landscaping. My favorite part of the job was explaining different types of flowers and grasses and how to take care of them. 

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Hobbies: Landscaping and watching YouTube 

Favorite City Year value: Belief in the power of young people

Why I serve: Serving with City Year is an opportunity to impact our youth in a major way. There is no other organization I have worked for that takes social justice as seriously as City Year and we have been pushed to think of education as a social justice issue. Working in a capacity where you get to look at students and see where you once were gives you insight on their unlocked potential. As a product of the Milwaukee Public School system, the call to return back to my foundation is one I am proud to answer. I am honored to represent this organization and the work that we do for our students.

Send Elena and Deja positive thoughts and good luck wishes for the rest of the year, and encourage them to continue powerfully leading CityYear Milwaukee, here! 

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