Ubah’s family came here as refugees from Somalia, not knowing a single word of English. She recently recalled how overwhelming it was when she first entered school here. She didn’t even know how to read which bathroom to use and had to wait for someone to stop and help her. She is now a senior at Garfield High School and has volunteered in VFA’s Service Corps program for two years. The program teaches immigrant and refugee high school students how to become a tutor/mentor for their newcomer peers. Ubah’s motivation: “I know what it feels like. I want to help other students like me.”
Khalil is from the United Arab Emirates and came to the US in 2013 with his father and sister. His mother had to stay behind. Khalil spends all of his afternoons and Saturdays at VFA’s programs learning English, math, orchestra, woodshop, and participating in yearbook club.
Thanh-Thao has been with VFA since 2006 when she and her family were newly arrived Vietnamese immigrants to the US. She is in her senior year of college at the University of Washington and hopes to be a physical therapist. She was a VFA volunteer and tutor. ■