Hello everyone, my name is Dar Salam, and I am from Sudan. Of course, everyone knows me, but I wanted to introduce you to my name, which means the “Place of Peace”. My goal is to bring peace to the world! I attended Atlantic Coast High School and recently graduated with help from a few caring, and loving organizations in Jacksonville.
These programs are Kim’s Open Door, Lutheran Social Services (LSS), and JaxTHRIVE. When I first came in the United States, I didn’t speak any English, not even A to Z. My sisters and I started summer camp at Kim’s Open Door where they taught us the alphabet letters and basic English. Eventually, I started pubic school. At this time, I also started coming to the LSS after-school program where they help refugee students with their homework using online mentors, and fun activities. Since I was in 9th grade, Mr. Gene (from LSS) has picked me up from school and taken me to work with volunteers who have taught me what to do and what not to do. I even had a mentor one or two days each week over Zoom.
Another program that I loved was the Super Saturday School with JaxTHRIVE that helped Refugee students with English as their second language. They have many volunteers helping students with their homework, reading books, math, science, and participating in many fun activities. They also have online mentoring that I used. My mentor’s name was Roberto; he’s an excellent student who helped me with geometry and SAT test. These programs are not the same as at school.
What I mean by that, in high school no one will teach you how to read step by step, rather they teach you as whole students in a big group. These programs were onsite with me and taught me step by step to learn.
Because of everyone’s help, I was able to get good grades, especially this year. I got all A/B’s and surpassed my SAT test goal which was exciting! Without everyone's help, I would not have made it. I want to thank each and every one of you for the time you spent teaching me and for always being so positive with me. These programs are absolutely making a big difference!
I am very grateful for all of your help and wish the best to all of these amazing volunteers! Love you and miss you all!