Scholars Program, Student Spotlight

Meet Foday: A Talented and Inspiring Scholar at FLOC

Foday and Kim at the 2014 Recognition and Empower Awards.
Foday and Kim at the 2014 Recognition and Empower Awards.

Foday is a rising 11th grade student at Bell Multicultural High School and has been involved with both the FLOC Scholars and Neighborhood Tutoring Programs since the 8th grade.

Foday at the 2014 Fred Taylor Scholarship Fund Dinner.
Foday at the 2014 Fred Taylor Scholarship Fund Dinner.

If you attended this year’s annual Recognition Event and Empower Awards, you might remember learning of Foday’s hard work navigating the reading curriculum and the impressive growth he has shown.  Or maybe you joined us at the 2014 Fred Taylor Scholarship Fund Dinner where you witnessed Foday’s sister get emotional upon hearing her brother’s surprise voiceover sharing how proud he was of her.  I believe that in both these special moments and the everyday interactions, Foday shows us that his story is only just beginning…

photo

For five weeks this summer, Foday participated in the high school Tell Your Story Writing Workshop Series, where he and his peers learned how to be their own best advocate through self-reflection, written expression, and storytelling. Foday is one of the quieter students in the bunch, but he showed up each and every week, ready to engage with the material and speakers and take full advantage of the opportunities to explore, write, and share his personal story.

The very first week, Joseph Price from the nonprofit organization, SpeakeasyDC, came to FLOC to provide the students with an introduction to the art of storytelling.  Joe paired himself with Foday for the peer interview activity to find out the story behind his reserved demeanor.  Foday talked for 10 minutes – no interruptions – and when the activity ended, Joe said to me “Foday has a great story. I hope he writes about it next week.”  And when I checked in with Foday at the end of the night, he said he really enjoyed learning about “the different ways you could tell a story” and he felt “excited about the upcoming weeks of the workshop series.”

photo 1 crop

As weeks two, three, and four passed, Foday continually exemplified active listening and opened up during peer interviews. And when it came time to write, he was in his element.  His quiet confidence radiated as he wrote stories about his past, present, and future.  When week five finally rolled around, I couldn’t wait to see how Foday decided to reveal his final writing piece.  Turns out, Foday connected his stories to form one and chose to share his work on this very blog.

I hope you will find Foday’s story below as impressive and inspiring as I do.  He’s ‘going places’ and FLOC will be with him every step of the way.

“My Story” – as told by Foday

Growing up in a family of seven has been the best thing in my life.  As a kid, my three sisters and I lived in a big house in Sierra Leone.  Being the only boy in the family wasn’t easy; I always did things by myself even though sometimes I needed help.  My parents depended on me the most and I also had to work harder.  But no matter what, I wanted to do things successfully. 

In the future, I have decided I want to work hard to help people in need. My family and my community motivate me to be successful. Seeing other families losing their loved ones due to incurable diseases or not being able to pay medical bills makes me very sad.  If I can help my community and other people it would be a great benefit to others and I would feel fulfilled.

(Jessie Garrett is a Scholars Program Instructor at FLOC).

News, Scholars Program, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Caroline Fichtenberg

caroline

Caroline moved to DC five years ago to start a new job. She grew up in Paris; her father is French and her mom is American. Caroline currently works at the Children’s Defense Fund, a national child advocacy organization. She places high value in education and helping children succeed in school.

FLOC seemed like a great program and a perfect fit for her. She joined our team last fall. Since then, she has been in the Scholars program every Wednesday as a Program Assistant where she assists Jessie, our 10th grade instructor, to facilitate fun workshops for the students to help them start thinking about their future academic and professional goals.

Caroline enjoys spending time at FLOC because of its fun environment “where I see the Scholars’ positive energy of possibility and achievement.” For Caroline, spending time with youth has been a refreshing and inspiring experience.

One of her favorite activities while working with the group of 10th graders is when they play Jeopardy, which helps them to “talk about issues and reinforce ideas that we’re working with. They work together and you see what they have learned and what they are thinking.”

For Caroline, the Jeopardy game “is a good way to see their curiosity to learn and share what they know. There is a balance of competition and support for the other team, which I think shows a lot of maturity.”

Caroline represents Princeton University, her alma mater, during FLOC College Night.
Caroline represents Princeton University, her alma mater, at FLOC College Night 2013.

During this school year, Caroline has shown a great commitment to help our students in different dimensions. She represented Princeton University, her alma mater, and participated in a speed networking activity with the post-secondary Scholars during the last College Night, held on December 18th. We are glad to have her on board with us and thankful for her willingness and passion to work with our students.

(Lisvette García is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Associate at FLOC).