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Sahar's Resettlement Success: Overcoming School Hurdles, Achieving Honor Roll with LSS Support

Sahar, middle, studying during after-school tutoring provided by Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida.

Sahar’s journey to the United States began when her family fled Afghanistan during the Taliban's resurgence in August 2021, depriving Sahar, like countless other girls, of an education.

After obtaining refugee status, their journey led them to a camp in Qatar before settling in Jacksonville, Florida, where Sahar discovered a newfound sense of hope.

“We were very happy that it was finally our turn,” Sahar said. “... life in Afghanistan was very hard for everyone. No one could go to their jobs because the Taliban had taken over everything. We were sad, too, because we were leaving our country. Everyone wants to live in their country…have peace and security, but we had to leave to have a better future.”

Joining 11th grade after a year without school posed challenges, especially in math. Sahar turned to YouTube tutorials and sought additional help during after-school tutoring sessions provided by the LSS Refugee Youth and Mentoring program.

Sahar, middle, pictured with her family celebrating her acceptance into the National Honor Society.

David Van Horn, a retired UN professional and Sahar's LSS mentor, became a guiding force. With extensive experience in Afghanistan, David understood Sahar's struggles and provided support where he could. His mentorship, part of the LSS refugee mentoring services, extended beyond academics, when he helped Sahar's father in his job search.

Sahar's journey from academic uncertainty to triumph was remarkable. With David’s guidance and support from the LSS refugee youth program, she achieved the Honor Roll and was later accepted into her high school’s National Honor Society chapter in October 2023. Sahar's aspirations to study nursing and become a business owner highlight her resilience and ambition.

Sahar's success underscores the significance of mentorship and determination, emphasizing the vital role of programs like LSS in empowering individuals like her.

Curious about getting involved? LSS offers opportunities to mentor, volunteer, or organize field trips for refugee youth. Discover more about these opportunities at

Support the LSS mission.

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