An exceptionally sensitively-written and moving series of articles in the Baltimore Sun, by Liz Bowie, on the experiences of refugee and immigrant youth attending Patterson High School in East Baltimore. The first story in this three-part series focuses on the journey of Narmin El Eethawi, a young woman from Iraq, and the staff and teachers who offer care and support to her and to other young people who have fled conditions of enormous loss and trauma. The second article profiles a boy from Guatemala who has worked since the age of 8, fled his country to escape the threat of gangs, experienced detention on arrival here in the U.S. and now lives in a state of legal limbo while also negotiating a fraught reunion with his mother. The final article profiles a girl from rural Central African Republic who faced drastic adjustment to life here in Baltimore, having never before lived in a city or attended school.
Along with the perspectives of dedicated Patterson staff members Margot Harris and Tom Smith, the article includes contributions from Amy Rakusin, psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor for the Intercultural Counseling Connection. Also included are observations by Dr. Richard Mollica, Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, and Donna Fallon Batkis from the Hispanic Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins.
The online version of the series includes photographs and videos by Amy Davis that depict the remarkable diversity of Patterson’s student body, and give voice to their hopes and to the challenges they face.