We are proud and humbled to share the amazing work of our YWLC alumni who are helping our community in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.


Fatmata Sesay, a rising junior at Westbury High School and a 2017 YWLC alumni, decided to take action by putting her leadership and service skills to mobilize other students to volunteer during Hurricane Harvey. Fatmata knew that many were in need around her, sharing that, “The [Hurricane Harvey] storm was terrifying and sad because many families and friends lost so many clothes, furniture, valuables, and, most of all, food. So, I asked myself why not go around my community and help the people and places that have been affected by the hurricane. I decided to go on the computer and search for volunteer opportunities.” Fatmata lives far from most organizations and is limited by public transport, but despite her limitations, she persevered to make it out to volunteer.


Fatmata mobilized a group of fellow students to go to Plant It Forward, a Houston nonprofit organization that provides resettled refugees with urban farming business opportunities so they can achieve economic self-sufficiency. The farmers were in dire need of help to clean the debris, replace destroyed crops with seeds, repair drip irrigation systems, and undertake flood mitigation projects.

“We cut unwanted grass, worked on plant beds, picked up trash, and tidied up the garden—we all worked very hard,” said Fatmata.

Fatmata was grateful for her friends’ help and the opportunity to lead the volunteer effort, saying, “This was a big opportunity for me because I got to organize the trip and experience how fun, yet stressful, it can be to make the trip a whole success. I also demonstrated my leadership and service skills to other students and, most importantly, I brought students together to cooperate with each other to make one thing work—that is a huge accomplishment in my book!”