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Somali native finds calling in teaching children

When she was just 12 years old, Ibado Aden fled Somalia, and would spend the next 17 years fending for herself in the United States without her parents or siblings.

It was during this challenging time in her youth that she kept telling herself to “never give up, to keep trying, to do the research and find the right people. I had to keep circulating and get out there and talk to people.”

She spent a lot of time talking to Larry Hill, a job placement specialist with Seattle Housing Authority’s Economic Opportunity Program. Since 2002, Hill has helped her navigate Seattle’s job market and secure housing in West Seattle’s High Point neighborhood. Her immediate and extended family eventually found their way from the East African nation and joined her in Seattle, and she now keeps very busy with her own family.  The 33-year-old has fun chasing her four children around.

“I have always turned to SHA for my job research and learned about the job market and how to search for jobs using their resources,” she says. “Even if you can’t speak English, Neighborhood House and SHA have such great services and there are always people willing to help you.”

After a brief stint at Macy’s, Aden found her passion working in social services for Neighborcare Health, first as a receptionist, and then spending many years as a Somali medical records interpreter.

She liked the sense of community in High Point so much that she never left:  just recently Aden became an assistant teacher at Neighborhood House High Point Center, working with 3-to 5-year-olds.  

She adds, “A typical day at work is full of exciting things and working with amazing kids. I always enjoy teaching young kids and I think they’re full of life.”

As she recounts her life’s journey with such enthusiasm and animated expressions, one can’t help feel that she, too, is full of life.