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Yaara Aleissa is a Front Runners volunteer whose unique experiences and skills allowed her to connect with the students at our program.

Yaara has grown up in Louisville, but her parents were born in Iraq. Yaara has enjoyed her upbringing of a blend of both US and Iraqi cultures. She speaks Arabic at home, but English at school, like most of our students do with Spanish. She has had conversations with a few of the kids while tutoring them about what it feels like to share those two identities and how to be able to appreciate both sides. It has even allowed students from Front Runners to open up to Yaara about some of the difficulties that come with the dynamic of living with two cultures, saying it was nice to have someone to talk to who has a similar experience.

Another thing that Yaara shares with the Front Runners students is that she is also a student.

“Having the experience of being a student and being able to help a student is very rewarding. I am helping them learn but also learning about myself and about the topic at hand,” she says.

While recognizing similarities between herself and the students, she is also empathetic to some differences. She knows that each families and students encounter with living in the US is different. Yaara has been a great tutor for our students at Front Runners, and we hope she continues volunteering with us in the future.

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