Fatu’s Story

At 19, Fatu’s future looks bright. She plans to go to Monroe College in the fall to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer. She’s currently going to school and working full-time as a paralegal at Queens Defenders, which provides free services to low-income people. Not long ago, she was a recipient of those services.

You see, the future did not always look so bright for Fatu. When she came to live in one of SCO’s residences for youth in foster care in 2018, she had had a difficult childhood, and she’d been in trouble with the law.

When Fatu was 12, her mother returned to their native Liberia with her younger brother, leaving Fatu with an abusive family friend in Queens. She eventually ran away, joined a gang and got into trouble.

When she first came to SCO, Fatu was confrontational with staff and other residents. But despite her rocky start at her new home, SCO staff has been behind her since day one. They encouraged her to further her education and pursue her GED. They showed her the right way to do things, and most of all, they showed her they cared.

Fatu’s former Queens Defenders lawyer, Anthony Martone, played a pivotal role in her turnaround. He saw her potential and went the extra mile to help her by initiating an internship program at the firm for past clients who’ve been through the juvenile justice system. Fatu was the first intern and became the first full-time hire from the program.

Fatu is positive, respectful, and focused. She loves her job and it has inspired her to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice.

Her turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous, and it serves as an inspiration to other youth. Fatu is living proof of what is possible with a positive attitude, hard work, perseverance, and the help of caring adults who never stop believing in you.

See Fatu’s story in THE CITY.

(Photo: Ben Fractenberg-THE CITY)

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CFL at Sunset Park High School

After School • Summer Camp • Youth Employment

Sunset Park High School is the neighborhood’s first and only high school, and as a key community partner, the Center provides meaningful supports to the school and its students year round.  SPHS teachers and staff from SCO’s Center for Family Life co-lead advisories and after school programs that enhance the strengths of each student, promote academic excellence and assist in youth employment.

Sunset Park HS teachers and CFL staff co-lead weekly Advisory Partnership groups that promote college readiness and foster inclusiveness and active participation in the school and community. This partnership ensures that every student is known and supported and all members of the school community are engaged in creating a positive school culture.

After School programming combines the resources of the Center’s After School Program, Youth Employment Program and “Life Lines” Community Arts Project with tutoring and clubs led by SPHS teachers to provide a rich menu of academic and arts enrichment, sports and recreation, community service, college readiness and career exploration activities. A five-day a week After-school Arts Program for students in grades 6-12 provides instruction in dance, acting, vocals, percussion, visual arts, and creative writing, along with daily homework assistance, computer access, and academic enrichment.  A High School Internship Program allows high school students to volunteer as intern staff in the after school program two afternoons per week.

The Summer Youth Employment Program offers summer jobs with employers throughout Brooklyn for youth ages 14-24. Worksites include local government agencies, libraries, hospitals and clinics, child care centers, summer day camps, senior centers and nursing homes, community organizations and retail firms.  A six-week Community Arts Summer Day Camp serves youth ages 10-15. Throughout the year, Performing and Visual Arts Troupes provide pre-professional skill development in theater, dance, music and visual art along with leadership training and opportunities for teens to conduct workshops and performances on family and community issues with a variety of populations.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Youth seeking after school, arts programming, summer day camp, and internships in the after school program

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

Students in grades 9-12

How to Access this Program or Service

Contact the program at 718.840.1640

This program is associated with...

Center For Family Life

Our mission is to promote positive outcomes for children, adults and families in Sunset Park through the provision of a comprehensive range of neighborhood-based family and social services. Read More

Success Stories

Westbrook Prep Helps Sam Build a Brighter Future

"I may have Asperger's, but Asperger's doesn't have me." Learn More

Fatu’s Story

Changing Her Trajectory

At 19, Fatu’s future looks bright. She plans to go to Monroe College in the fall to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer. Learn More

Last year,

106

children were adopted by loving forever families

We help

2,500

people with special needs develop skills to reach their full potential