This week, I spoke with Mark Kabban of Youth and Leaders Living Actively – “Yalla SD” – in San Diego which provides tutoring, ESL support, college prep classes and educational technology programming to 450 students in the area.
Let’s start with Peter*.
Peter’s father was an anesthesiologist in Iraq until the war turned his family into displaced refugees in Lebanon. They lost everything. Instead of going to school, pre-teen Peter sold snacks at a nearby airport to help support his parents and brother. By the time they were granted asylum in the US, Peter’s education was behind, and he didn’t speak a word of English. But soon after his family relocated to San Diego, Peter joined YALLA. He met friends and got help with schoolwork and college applications. Five years later, Peter is a sophomore at Berkeley and was just accepted into the highly competitive Haas School of Business.
YALLA was made for the thousands of Peters currently living in San Diego. The organization, led by its founder, Mark Kabban, is on a mission to confront social and economic barriers that confront refugee kids.