School: Forest Hill Elementary School
School District: Camden City School District
City, State: Camden, NJ
Music that Describes Fatihah
Fatihah Abdur-Rahman was nominated by an anonymous friend.
Principal Abdur-Rahman is one of those special people who has a natural “light” that brings joy and love to anyone who is lucky enough to be near her. She doesn’t wait for people to approach her; she is on a mission to spread her love and message of empowerment through her job as an elementary school principal and through her organization “iServe."
"Fatihah is extraordinary," explains her friend. "Despite raising two beautiful girls as a teenage mother and experiencing homelessness, she found ways to go to college to become an educator. Her drive to help others, especially children, was just that strong. Her vision is very much based on her own experience of hard work, motivation, and gratitude. Now, as an elementary school principal, Fatihah brings her special gifts to an entire community of classrooms and families in Camden, NJ."
Ms. Abdur-Rahman created iServe to assist children all over Camden County and the surrounding areas. Through iServe, she has assembled and distributed over 1,000 Calming Bags to help children self-regulate their emotions as they navigate through challenges and trauma, especially during this difficult past year. While schools in Camden were closed, she ran a weekly "Reading in the Park" program, inviting children to listen and participate as she read books and gave out treats, Calming Bags, and books to take home.
She finds all sorts of ways to bring her iServe mission to school, such as by sharing empowerment messages and programs, as well as promoting community involvement. Her motto is L.O.V.E. – “Living On Village Energy." Everything she does and every interaction she has is with the goal of bringing joy, a love of learning, and self-worth to her students. One must not forget to mention the food bank, book, holiday, and water ice distribution parties for school families!
As the Forest Hill Elementary School principal, Ms. Abdur-Rahman has created a mentoring group for girls called “PEARLS" (Positive, Elegant, Attractive, Radiant, Leaders.) The purpose of the PEARL mentoring program is to help "PEARLgirls" to find their voice, discover their inner strength, and see themselves as the valuable pearls that they are. You will never find Ms. Abdur-Rahman without her “pearls of wisdom” around her neck.
When students weren't learning in-person, Ms. Abdur-Rahman brought her weekly program called “Harambee” to the virtual school community. Harambee means “to pull together." This end-of-week program, held during the school day, engaged the children and school staff with student accolades, messages of encouragement from community members, cheers, songs, and as always, a lot of love! It's always wonderful, but it was especially meaningful when the children were isolated from their beloved school community. The love that Ms. Abdur-Rahman brings to everything she does with the students makes her a rockstar in their eyes.
"To watch Fatihah and the children interact with each other is such an honor," said her friend. "The children are always so happy to see her as she exudes true joy in their presence. She doesn’t let a child walk away without taking a selfie with them, because they are that important."
"Fatihah is certainly one of my Sheroes. She is an unstoppable force for good," said her friend. "She has defied odds to become a leader, both in the community and in her school. Fatihah sets the example for her teachers and staff to approach each day with joy and love, and that spreads to the children. She is an enormous influence on everyone she encounters and she is an incredible LifeChanger, especially for children."