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Aline Before GFC, I was missing school a lot. I’m from a family of nine and I’m like the good one. I thought I could get away with it and nobody really checked. I think I was being plain young and not thinking. I wasn’t finding anything there for me. And then my GPA was real low. I’m from Burundi in Africa and my parents are from the two tribes that were fighting. So coming from there to here and acting all Americanized was hard. My family has been through hell, I’ve seen war and I’ve been through it. I was so closed off and I wouldn’t talk to nobody about nothing. Growing up in Africa and living in the refugee camp and not having food—it was a struggle. Still coming here, I realized, "I’m still messing up." I felt like I had no reason to go to school, I wasn’t motivated.

And when I joined GFC, they told me to come to school and started encouraging me. When I first heard about GFC I was like: “Who would invest in me?” And then I saw they are really doing it, changing the world, and I wanted to hop on this train. When I joined GFC I would start showing up to school. It was good for me. I got to talk to girls who would listen to me. I was looking up to the people GFC and they were there for me. I managed to get a B in math, and I started believing in myself and going to class and taking in seriously and wanting to get scholarships.

Our Girl Action Team talked about serious stuff but we also joked around and had fun. I also joined the Girl Steering Committee and helped plan GFC events and got to meet the governor of Arizona. I was like, “I’m a rock star!” Before GFC, I was being a bad leader—getting my friends to skip school. When I joined GFC, I became a good leader. Now I tell my friends go to class and they listen to me. It feels good and like I’m helping people instead of destroying their lives.

Now, I’m working on a scholarship to go to college to become a criminal defense attorney or lawyer. Without me going to school, there’s nothing. There is so much pressure. The GFC staff and coaches, they have been there for me through everything. I don’t where I would be if I haven’t met such awesome people. GFC has done so much for me. I know they are always there. GFC helped me and that makes me want to help other people. I want to tell people to invest in GFC because it helps girls in my situation who don’t know what to do in their lives at this moment, it helps us know that there are options out there. And we learn that other women in power want to meet us and want to be there for us. It’s helping us believe in ourselves and be more successful.

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