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)

Jasmine’s Story

I entered foster care at 16 years old and was placed in the home of “Aunt” Nessa, as I liked to call her. Few people knew of my situation; it was our little secret. I was embarrassed by the family dysfunction that led me to this strange place in my life, and with the support of my SCO caseworkers, I realized that education was my way out.

My goal was to attend Spelman College. I faced some naysayers; guidance counselors who said it was too expensive, others who felt I would never get in. But my SCO caseworkers and staff supported my decision. They stayed on top of me, making sure I filled out every document and scholarship. It was the staff’s unwavering support and positive reinforcement that sustained me.

I was accepted to Spelman with scholarships from several organizations as well as financial support from SCO’s education and permanency program, which helped me afford my housing.

But that was just the start of my journey. During summer break, I earned an internship volunteering with foster youth and their families through AmeriCorps that changed my life. I didn’t want any special treatment, so no one at my job was aware of my status as a foster youth. But as I worked in the family visiting room, much like a fly on the wall, I watched young people about my age visiting with the children they had lost custody of, some pregnant again. I saw a vicious cycle happening before my eyes.

It was that summer I realized that as a woman of color, as a foster youth, and as a human being who just cares, it would be a disservice if I didn’t take advantage of my unique pairing of lived experiences and desire to affect change.

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need.

Early Childhood Programs in Queens – Register Today!

SCO helps get children off to a healthy start with center- and home-based programs for young families. Our Early Childhood Education Centers in Queens have immediate openings! We offer high quality, full day instruction. Our programs support English and dual-language learners, and children with IEPs. Our warm and welcoming programs encourage families to become active partners in their child’s academic growth and language development.

Program Highlights

  • Year-round, full day 3K, Pre-K, and extended day options
  • Free or low-cost child care for eligible families
  • Enhanced safety measures including daily health screenings and temperature checks
  • Literacy and math activities prepare children for success in kindergarten
  • Outdoor play space, plus art, music, and drama
  • Healthy breakfast, lunch, and snacks
  • NYS Certified Teachers

Want to learn more? Complete the form below

 

 

Programs in Queens

Long Island City Early Childhood Center: 38-11 27th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101

Year-round, full-day Pre-K that focuses on healthy development and prepares children for success in school. Learn more»

 

 

Corona Early Childhood Center: 33-27 97th Street, Corona, NY 11368

Year-round, full-day Pre-K that focuses on healthy development and prepares children for success in school. Learn more»

 

 

Jerome Hardeman Early Childhood Center: 29-49 Gillmore Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11369

The Jerome Hardeman Early Childhood Center offers a year-round, full-day academic program in a safe and engaging environment for children ages 2.9 months to 5 years of age, including UPK. Learn more»

 

 

Family Child Care Networks

In-home child care providers in East Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights, Flushing, Rego Park, and Forest Hills offer families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers a full day, year-round program that fosters healthy development and learning. Learn more»

 

 

Fatu’s Story

Changing her trajectory - anything is possible when others believe in you

Her turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous, and it serves as an inspiration to other youth. Learn More

Jasmine’s Story

Foster Care staff helps Jasmine turn lived experience to advocacy for others

It was the staff’s unwavering support and positive reinforcement that sustained me. Learn More

We inspire

5,400

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

Children in our NYC shelters had a

96%

attendance rate at NYC DOE schools

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