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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Supported Single Room Occupancy Residence

The Supportive Single Room Occupancy (SRO) is a residence located on the Ottilie campus in Queens for young adult men and women with both a developmental disability and a serious emotional disturbance. These young adults are not yet ready to make the transition from a structured Residential Treatment Facility or hospital to community-based living and need extra support to make that transition successful. This program is complimented by the Outreach Service Center which provides employment and entitlement assistance along with other supportive services for the SRO residents as well as other dual-diagnosed young adults living in the community.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Young people who are dual diagnosed (SED/IDD) preparing to transition to the community

Age Criteria

18- 24 years of age

How to Access this Program or Service

Referral to SCO Supported SRO Program.

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

Adam Graves

"Garden of Dreams is the single most important thing we do.” Learn More

We help

1,700

children get ready for kindergarten

Last year,

94%

of children in our early education centers met or exceeded goals for social-emotional development

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