Jamal’s Journey with FHF SELA
Back in 2010 Maragrite Riley called Families helping Families SELA to get help to advocate for her son Jamal who has an Intellectual disability. She stated that Jamal was overage in a class of younger children. He was bullied and he was unenthused about school.
Ms. Riley and I began to not only work on her advocacy skills but I attended every meeting with her regarding Jamal and his educational journey. In working with mom I got to spend a time with Jamal and speak with him about advocating for himself and speaking up. Now Jamal is very shy and doesn’t make eye contact most of the time but I saw hope in Jamal, The same hope I see in my boys every day. Through the years Ms. Riley and I were able to advocate for pupil progression where we were able to get Jamal in his age appropriate grade. Jamal was ecstatic he began to see what advocating can do. When Jamal started his high school career he insisted that I attend every IEP and ITP meeting with his mom, I was happy to oblige as this was his right to have his favorite advocate present to help him and his mom understand what was happening and what Jamal deserved.
In August 2014 Jamal entered 12th grade and was assigned a project that needed a mentor and who do you think he chose? That’s right, me. How exciting! Jamal came in and worked at FHF on our Career Symposium Program. He was able to identify companies and organizations that should be a part of our job fair. He loved it and we loved him.
We are proud to announce that Jamal is out of his shell and graduated high school on May 27th! Jamal wants to pursue a career as an advocate and fashion designer! Way to go Jamal and way to Ms. Riley! The Staff at Families Helping Families SELA are extremely proud of you!