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December 5, 2017

GVP Newsletter – November 2017


Letter from the Head of School: Giving Thanks!

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate this season of thanksgiving, I am grateful for another opportunity to thank you, our sustainers and supporters, for helping us achieve our mission of providing a strong educational foundation for our students and for helping the young women we serve achieve their dreams for the future. Without you, the work we do would not be possible. We depend on you and are deeply thankful for the more than 150 volunteers and mentors who work with our teachers, students, and graduates each week; our amazing board of directors who acts as ambassadors and champion our cause throughout the community; our tremendously talented staff and their dedication to our school and students; and for the families that entrust us with their daughters’ education.

We also depend on and are incredibly grateful for the consistent and continued generosity of the community that financially supports us. Your gifts provide full scholarships for our students; transportation for students, staff, and families; lunches at Agnes Scott College; books for students at all levels of learning; arts classes and experiences; translators and interpreters; learning trips around the metro area and beyond; weekly counseling sessions; and so much more. Your support allows us to provide GVP students with an excellent education—one that enables them to build on what they already know and achieve success in high school and college. This May, GVP will celebrate alongside our first college graduates! As we cheer them on, we will be thinking of you with much gratitude. Thank you again for helping us make a difference in the world, one girl at a time.

Wishing you a happy holiday season filled with peace, love, and joy,

Administrative Team Transitions at GVP

Development Manager, Erin Alred, transfers Development Team Leadership to New Donor Relations Manager, Martice Sutton
Please join us this month in giving a warm GVP welcome to Martice Sutton, our new Donor Relations Manager, as we also bid ‘farewell for now’ to Erin Alred.

Erin and her husband are embarking on an adventure around the world before relocating to Bozeman, Montana. Although she will continue supporting GVP’s development efforts from afar, Martice will serve as point-of-contact for any questions or conversations related to fundraising, grants or donations beginning Friday, December 1st.

Please feel free to stop by the office and welcome Martice, or contact her at

Alumnae Spotlight: 
Asma and Nasteho Ibrahim

by Amy Durrell and Daphne Hall

From Djibouti to Druid Hills—Asma and Nasteho Ibrahim

Sisters Asma and Nasteho have spanned continents and cultures in their young lives, adapting to many changes in their home, language, and educational environments. Born and raised in the small country of Djibouti on the northeastern coast of Africa, they arrived at GVP as newcomers in September of 2014, remained until June of 2016, and entered Druid Hills High School in the fall of 2016. They moved from their family’s home in Djibouti to an apartment in Clarkston, Georgia. They spoke Somali in Djibouti, learned English when they came to the U.S., and are now studying French in high school. They also transferred from the all-female, intimately small school of GVP to a public high school of about 1500 students students of both sexes.

From the outside, their adaptation to so much change seems very graceful. Asma (the older of the two), is known for her quiet, thoughtful ways, and outgoing Nasteho is often engaged in animated conversation that includes both intensity and plenty of laughter. Nonetheless, they have experienced plenty of struggle and self-doubt. Asma wrote: “[In high school,] I was thinking I would never find a friend. Also my English is not really good. I thought I might not be able to understand the teacher. But I have found my friends, I understand what I am doing, and I am happy to be at Druid Hills.” Nasteho had this to say: “One of the hardest challenges I have faced was difference. When I went to high school I realized I was different from everyone else. I wore hijab and everyone else was wearing jeans and shirts. But I realized it does not matter how I looked; all that mattered was that I tried my best and achieved my dreams.”

In reflecting on their time at GVP, they both praised the level of support from teachers and volunteers. Asma said it this way: “I liked GVP because there are a lot of people who help you and care for you. I like that there are people who help you like my mentor, Ms. Amy.” In her typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, Nasteho added, “I loved you [GVP], but also [the] food and the help.” Obviously, having lunch at Agnes Scott is a real treat for GVP’s students.

Both young women are pleased to be in high school at Druid Hills. As Asma says, “I am happy every day I go to school. I get to learn new things. I have teachers who are really nice. If I raise my hand they help me understand.” Nasteho adds that it makes her proud and happy “when I do my best at something and succeed.” Looking ahead, the sisters have goals and plans for high school and beyond. Nasteho hopes to do well in school and go to medical school. Asma states, “I hope to challenge myself to take an AP class. I want to join school activities, maybe join the Environmental Club. I joined International Club this year. We do activities together with kids from all over the world. We do an international show where we show what our culture is like.” Also, “I hope to finish high school, go to college and help my family. I hope to get my GPA up to help me get scholarships. And help buy a good house for my mom and dad.”

Thinking about a house for their mom and dad really exemplifies how Asma and Nasteho are devoted daughters. When they were students at GVP, they often expressed both admiration and gratitude for the effort their parents made to provide for their well-being. In addition to working hard at school, they also work hard at home. They take turns with cooking and cleaning chores because both of their parents have jobs. When Nasteho was a newcomer, she wrote this poem about her mom in Somali and in English. You can find the English version of this poem following this article.

The sisters have advice for current students. If one didn’t know the whole story of their struggles, it might sound trite. However, knowing that these young women have crossed an ocean to be in this place lends it weight. Nasteho writes, “Some advice I would give to GVP students is to follow your dreams. Try your best and be respectful to your teachers and volunteers.” From her hard-won experience, Asma offers, “Just be yourself in high school and don’t worry. You will find friends.” She adds: “Also—GVP is not a school you leave. You come back and do activities together. People still help you.”

“GVP is not a school you leave.” What a tribute to the Global Village Project school community and, especially, to the Mentor Program and Ms. Amy (Amy Durrell), the sisters’ mentor.

About Mom
by Nasteho Ibrahim

Every mother
makes her child
to be good child
so that it can have a
peaceful life
and mother wants her child
to be the best child
it can be
and I love my mother
and every one of you
love your mother
and she love her child
more than anything in the world

I wish I can be
like my mom
I am proud of
my mom
and of course the other moms
I love my mom

Mom I still love you

 Volunteer Spotlight:
Brad Tachco 

by Daphne Hall

“It’s the best afternoon of my week!”

“I can’t wait to get there,” says Brad Tachco about his weekly volunteering at GVP. For four years, rain or shine, he has been coming to GVP to walk students to and from lunch at Agnes Scott. After that, he spends the rest of the afternoon working with them in their social studies classes.

Brad’s lifelong interest in history and current events makes support in social studies classes a perfect match. His passion in that area also led him to pursue a journalism degree in upstate New York. Now he uses the lens of history and current events in his career as a producer at CNN where he works with a team of others to assign, select, and arrange news for the world to see.

It’s a bit ironic that, when he comes to GVP, he gets to see the world through the eyes of young women who come from many parts of the world. “At first, it surprised me,” he said, about how much he learned from the students. “[Now] I feel so privileged to have an eye into their world and see how other people get where they are. I learn so much about the girls and their countries, their upbringing, and their culture. It’s fascinating.”

Of course, it’s not always easy to get to know the girls or to help them when they are struggling. They are teenagers, after all, even though they come from many places. “They still have similarities with American teenage girls. It’s hard to reach the students who need guidance when they are resisting. I try to spend a little more time and show them I am interested in them, that I am concerned and have their best interest at heart. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Nonetheless, Brad feels it’s important to persevere. His first volunteer service was after Hurricane Katrina when he helped re-build neighborhoods—not just once but for several years. “I’ve made it a point to help other people who need the help. It’s just part of me to volunteer. It’s what makes me the happiest—helping other people. Part of it is selfish. It makes me feel good. I wanted those people to know we weren’t just going to leave them. I feel the same about the girls who have such difficult backgrounds. I want to show them that American people are behind them, that there are people who care about them.”

Like many volunteers, Brad’s pathway to GVP came from an encounter with another person who happened to know about our special school. After working in Maryland and Washington, D.C., he was thrilled to have an opportunity to work at CNN in Atlanta, but he knew he wanted to find a place to volunteer on a regular basis. By chance, he asked his doctor where he should go, and that is how he found Global Village Project. GVP has truly been a good fit, with the added advantage of approval from his mom. “My mom really loves it because she was a teacher for 40 years. She retired, and now teaches part-time. I still have a little ‘teacher’ in me.”

Brad doesn’t really offer advice for working with the girls for their sake. It’s more about the rewards one might receive as a volunteer. “Be ready to open up and listen. Be thankful for being able to be opened to this world.”