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Mid-City CAN Blog

Salaam Cultural Center changes outlooks

Abdimagid Omar is the CEO of Salaam Cultural Center, which helps young City Heights residents learn  languages and math. Mid-City CAN photo

Abdimagid Omar,
CEO of Salaam
Cultural Center

Salaam Cultural Center
6064 University Ave.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Open 9-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday;
4:30-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday

Mohamed Mohamed,19, is a youth coordinator at Salaam Cultural Center and also a testament to its success.

He said he was a student who was struggling when he joined the organization's youth group about three years ago.

He was a different person then.

"Freshman year I had like a 1.6" grade point average, he said.

Attending the center raised his grades, he said. He graduated with a 3.6 GPA and now attends a state university.

"By teaching me my Somali language, and my Somali heritage and culture, they taught me to achieve my goals and [told me] don't look down, keep looking up," he said.

The center, which changed its name from the Al Salaam Foundation in February, has a core mission of developing future leaders.

"We want to empower the youth on leadership skills and counsel" them, he said.

The center also teaches them languages, like Somali, Arabic and English, and math.

The center is one of the City Heights Building Healthy Community Initiative grantees. Building Healthy Communities is a 10-year, $1 billion initiative of The California Endowment to change the way health happens in 14 locations throughout California.

The center is open on Saturday and Sunday and Thursday and Friday and helps 115 City Heights boys and girls from 7- to 19-years-old.

"It helps them with their studies at school," Mohamed said. It teaches them "it is way better to [learn] your mother tongue, and you are going to have better jobs in the future."

The center, which opened Jan. 11, 2011, also is recruiting college students to help the young people with English and Math.

Mohamed said an appreciation of the advantages that he and other young people have in the United States that they wouldn't have if they were living in Somali is why he is volunteering.

"It makes you think, you know, how good of an opportunity you have, and it makes you want to do better," he said.

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