Spotlight: Meet Hassani! High school Volunteer at the Urban Scholar Academy

April 29, 2022

Sophomore Hassani M is a big-hearted Angeleno-born Californian, the eldest of six, youth writer, and a volunteer with Urban Scholar Academy. Now 15, Hassani started attending the Urban Scholar after school program 4 years ago.  Hassani’s friends, parents, grandparents, and adult mentors at Urban Scholar – all pouring a ton of positive energy her way is what motivates Hassani to “pay it forward.” Hassani is nearing her second year as a volunteer with Urban Scholar Academy while continuing to participate in the High School Film Club.

“I want young people to know they can count on me to learn and thrive; to reach their goals.” – Hassani, 15

Hassani is a homeschool student; her mom is the sole teacher for her and her siblings. “My mom doing her best to help us thrive has taught me how to do this for others,” explains Hassani. “I like to help people achieve their goals. I know people can be their best.” She works with the youngest Urban Scholar students after school, tutoring K – 3rd graders, celebrating their accomplishments, and being a role model. Her ongoing commitment delights the young students and their parents. Parents, who were once surprised to see a youth volunteer, now seek Hassani out to learn how their kids fared.

Every Californian has had their own unique experience living through the COVID pandemic – the effects especially significant to young people. For Hassani, the reduced in-person time further distanced her from community, friends, and mentors. “It doesn’t feel very good to lose so much [interaction with people],” noted Hassani. She also saw her friends struggle, personally and academically. “Kids had been failing their classes; when they come to Urban Scholars, they are able to get in-person help for the first time in a long time.”  Fortunately, Urban Scholars was able to remain open during the pandemic only shutting its doors for a short period of time, upholding its commitments to its parents and students.

Hassani heaps praises upon Mrs. Coleman, the Co-Founder and Mrs. Harper, a teacher at Urban Scholar. The adult mentors in Hassani’s life have influenced her desire to graduate college and become an elementary school teacher.

As an avid explorer of activities across LA and a committed volunteer, Hassani sees the very best of what Los Angeles offers:  “I love that the city is full of kids! Kids that I can help and that can help me…” Hassani is a role model for all ages – she understands that everyone can give and get help. Hassani encourages others to consider volunteering for its many benefits: connecting with your community; gaining valuable experiences and knowledge; and of course, having fun. So, be like Hassani. Find what you love to do, pay it forward, and have fun! To learn more and volunteer at Urban Scholar Academy, connect here.

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