Nimo and her family have been working with Way to Grow for over 10 years, with the help of their dedicated and enthusiastic Family Educator, Shamsa. Three of Nimo’s six children have been enrolled in Way to Grow, and Nimo can see the difference between their performance in school and the older children, who were not enrolled in Way to Grow. Her youngest child, who is now seven years old and had previously attended the Way to Grow preschool, impressed his teachers right away. “He surprised the school everywhere – the way he behaves, discipline, sharing, how he gives his opinions when they ask questions, everything.” Her second youngest child, who enrolled with Way to Grow at four years old, also excelled. “I tell the test center to test him, to see if he’s ready for kindergarten. They did every test and he passed everything, and they told me he absolutely does not need second language learning.”
Nimo credits Way to Grow and Shamsa for her children’s progress. This included not only the work that Shamsa does with the children, but also helping Nimo navigate the school system and be a partner in her children’s learning. “I know how to help my children now,” Nina shared, “before I never knew it, how to work with schools.” Nimo is proud that she has been able to gain these skills, and she’s paying it forward within her community. When she sees other parents struggling, she steps in to help. “I know a lot of families that don’t have the experience I have, and I try my best to help them.”
This is especially important within the Somali community in Minneapolis, where some parents face language and cultural barriers that make it difficult to participate in their children’s education. “It’s not all mothers like me and my background [with Way to Grow] – the mothers from Somalia and East Africa, they don’t know how to speak English. They have difficulties when they receive letters from school, that they cannot even read it or fill out the forms.” Having a family educator like Shamsa, who can translate the communications from the school and help the family fill out paperwork, is invaluable for these parents. Now, Nimo is able to extend the same assistance to others.
Nimo and her family’s growth are a testament to what can be accomplished through hard work and community efforts. Thanks to Shamsa’s guidance, Nimo continues to actively participate and encourage her children as they progress through school, and uses her knowledge to help her fellow parents and caregivers. Way to go, Nimo!