Yasmine and Fatou sitting in office chairs talking in the CIS office at Tyee High School. Yasmine met our School Outreach Coordinator, Fatou Bah, at Tyee High School while Fatou was speaking French to some students in her office. Yasmine’s face lit up as she stated, “I didn’t know you spoke French!” This sparked a connection between Yasmine and Fatou.  In learning more about Yasmine through her teachers and her mother, Fatou found out that Yasmine was failing most of her classes, had been in a lot of fights, and was often missing first period due to lack of transportation. Digging a little deeper, Fatou found out that Yasmine’s tendency to be in fights was because she was being bullied by her peers.

To support Yasmine, Fatou would meet with her at least once a day to check on how she was doing as well as to discuss things that triggered her behavior. They also often talked about the implications of being a young black woman in society as well as coming to America as a young person and having to assimilate to the American culture. At the beginning of their relationship, Yasmine was very closed off but as she became more comfortable and opened up more, Fatou found that all she needed was someone to listen to her.

Yasmine and Fatou worked on her grades and making up missing assignments. Yasmine was so committed to bringing her grades up that she often stayed with Fatou during lunch to do work. Fatou also stayed in touch with Yasmine’s mother and checked in daily with her as her mom was worried that she was hanging out with the wrong crowd.

When Fatou first started working with Yasmine, she had mostly failing grades. Although Yasmine still struggled with her classes she was able to bring them up to passing by working with Fatou and setting goals for herself. It wasn’t always easy, but Yasmine was going to class regularly and staying out of trouble by the end of the school year.

Yasmine came a long way in one year. She was able to admit that she is hanging around the wrong crowd and took steps to choose better friends. She built the skills to be able to walk away from compromising situations and cope with being bullied. She was able to stay out of trouble with the skills she had learned from Fatou. She went from failing grades, to having a plan for her future and steps for getting there. Yasmine wants to go to college and be a doctor and can now see a path for achieving her goals!