Senior Year Success: Carmen

Young African American woman with plaid shirt, smiling.

Carmen began visiting the Accelerator YMCA after enrolling in our after school program for English Language Learning high school students. This is a job readiness program that helps immigrant and refugee students gain the skills they need to finish high school, pursue post-secondary education, and find employment. It is run in partnership with Horn of Africa Services, a nonprofit that serves the East African immigrant and refugee community in Seattle.

While enrolled in this program, Carmen revealed to staff that she was homeless and couch-surfing between various friends' houses. Despite these challenges, Carmen was still attending high school and kept up a solid GPA, so her situation was not identified by her school. Carmen was tired of constantly trying to find a place to sleep each night, and decided to ask the Y for help. 

Accelerator YMCA staff worked in collaboration with community partners to form a wraparound team to support Carmen through her senior year. The team helped her apply for college and financial aid, obtain an ID, taught her how to cash a check, and helped her secure transitional housing so she could focus on school.

When Carmen walked across the graduation stage, Accelerator Y staff were in the stands cheering her on. Today, Carmen is attending community college, living with a friend, and has returned to the after school program - but this time as an adult mentor! We continue to offer her support, to be caring adults that she can count on as she makes the transition into adulthood.

Category: Social Services