Meet Najmo Abukar

Resident Najmo Abukar is a shining star participating in Oakridge Neighborhood’s youth programming. But before joining in Oakridge’s afterschool program full-time in 2018, Najmo was quiet and introverted. Her younger brothers were active participants in the youth programming, but she would not consistently join in. Some arm twisting by friends, a staff member who was also her middle school science teacher, and the very persistent Oakridge youth department lead Vernon Johnson convinced Najmo to become involved and commit to regularly participating.

Now, Najmo, the oldest of five children who came from Africa when she was an infant, demonstrates confidence, leadership and discipline in all aspects of her life. She is driven, ambitious and motivated. She earns nearly all A’s at Roosevelt High School. She works over 30 hours a week as a cashier at Walmart to save for a car and to assist her mother with household expenses; with her first paycheck, she bought her brother a phone. She is also a tremendous help to the Oakridge staff, assisting with high school tutoring sessions. She has joined several educational groups to help bolster her college resume (“College is a must,” she says), including the 4-H Urban Youth Leadership Academy and Investing in My Future.

She was also selected for the Oakridge Summer Youth Employment Program. She aspires to be a nurse, doctor or surgeon, so her summer employment experience last year placed her at UnityPoint, just across the street from Oakridge Neighborhood. “I want a career where I can make a change in the world, where I can help spread hope,” she says.

With young people like Najmo poised to lead the way, we all should, indeed, have hope in the future.