Fatumata Jawneh (Fatimah) moved to Woonsocket from Gambia, West Africa in March 2014 when she was 19 years old. Apart from her younger sister, she did not know anyone and had never been to this country before.
Fatimah was very excited to move to America, but it was difficult for her to adjust at first. Her stepmother suggested that she check out CNA classes (offered through the collaboration of St. Antoine Healthcare Training Collaborative and Community Care Alliance). After signing up for the class, Fatimah met The Harbour Youth Center staff and participated in the WIA (Workforce Investment Act) program at the Youth Center. As part of the program, she attended the low ropes/rock climbing leadership training at Adventures in Learning. Fatimah reflects on her rock wall experience as a turning point. "I was scared at first, but I overcame my fear and made it up there. It helped me bond with the staff and the other Youth Center members. I learned a lot about the teamwork that goes into being a successful employee." Fatimah went on to graduate from the CNA program and is now employed at St. Antoine Residence.
She recently moved into her own apartment with her sister and began taking nursing classes at CCRI. “There are a lot of responsibilities, but I’m so happy because now I’m free. It’s like a journey, it’s been tough, but I’m getting there. I feel like I’m moving toward something. The Youth Center gave me confidence. I didn’t know what I wanted before I joined the Youth Center, but they gave me a voice and guided me to figure out what I want to do.”
Fatimah hopes to be a nurse practitioner and sees herself staying in the USA permanently. To youth who are struggling to figure out their path, Fatimah advises: “Just be patient. Concentrate on whatever you’re doing. Hope for the best and keep working hard and striving to reach your dreams.”