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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Juvenile Justice Initiative – Queens

The Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI) works intensively with youth adjudicated as juvenile delinquents and their families in their homes to ensure youth remain at home, attend school, and participate in pro-social behaviors.  JJI therapists are trained in evidence-based Multi-Systemic Therapy, and are supported by the MST Institute through training and consultation by highly trained experts. This program helps our youth to find suitable educational, pro-social and after-school activities that are proven to help offenders focus on positive life choices, which in turn prevents delinquent behavior.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Youth adjudicated as juvenile delinquents and their families to prevent out-of-home placement

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

Age 12-17.5

How to Access this Program or Service

Contact: Maria McQuade – Program Director, mmcquade@sco.org, 718.739.1660 ext. 24

Success Stories

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

Chris & Ed Stack

Donors with a deep commitment to community Learn More

94%

of students at Westbrook Preparatory School passed the Regents exam on the first try

We inspire

9,900

children and teens through academic, after-school, summer and work readiness programs

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