Like many people, Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim worries about the future – especially of children living in poverty. What sets her apart is her devotion to changing their life trajectory.
As CEO of Future Foundation, Abdur-Rahim transformed an after-school program in College Park and East Point into comprehensive services that include a teen center, learning centers and parental support. A sign of success: For the past 10 years, 100 percent of Future Foundation participants graduated from high school. For comparison, the community’s graduation rate is about 70 percent.
Under her leadership, the Future Foundation recently won a five-year, $4.4-million federal grant to create an intensive model that gives children in poverty a “second family” of resources.
Abdur-Rahim grew up in the community and understands the challenges. “If someone is slipping or falling through the cracks,” she says, “we’re going to catch them.”
At Future Foundation, we consider ourselves to be a second family; not just in the way that we interact with each other, but also in the way that we serve our students and families. But what does it actually mean to be a “second family”?
We’re not out to replace the student’s family, but instead to fill in the gaps, provide stable, nurturing relationships and opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to support and guide young people and their families by connecting them to critical learning resources; tutoring and mentoring in a safe, nurturing after-school environment.
Isabel Woods (Banneker High School’s 2017 Valedictorian) is just one example of the thousands of students that have thrived in Future Foundation’s program over the years. Starting as a sophomore at Banneker – the only Fulton County high school with a nursing pathway – she overcame the challenge of switching schools from her previous home in Saginaw, Michigan.
We highlight Isabel today, as her story of resilience is not much different than that of many youth served by Future Foundation. So, when it was discovered the day before Isabel’s graduation that she did not have a dress to wear and that no one from her family could attend her graduation, our staff jumped into action! We were able to coordinate buying Isabel a graduation dress; treating her to her very first mani / pedi and getting her hair styled for her big day. And of course, on graduation day we were right there cheering her on!
Despite the fact that this young woman faced homelessness, caring for a mother with health challenges and playing a huge role in raising her siblings, Isabel remained an active participant in our program and graduated high school with a 3.7 GPA. Future Foundation is committed to disrupting the way poverty has been historically addressed nationwide and leading a revolutionary, data driven effort against the core causes of poverty in America. #AfterschoolWorks #AfterschoolGA