Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to document a day in the life of a man making a huge difference in his community. The assignment, for NPR, was on Omar Shekhey, an immigrant from Somali, who moved to Atlanta in the early 1980s to pursue an engineering degree at Georgia Tech. But Shekhey abandoned that dream and now devotes his entire life to helping Somali refugees in Clarkston, a suburb of Atlanta. Most of his day is spent at the Somali American Community Center, which he founded to help refugees with a variety of tasks, such as navigating governmental bureaucracies or how to find jobs. In the afternoon, he runs an after school program at a nearby church that helps Somali children with schoolwork and gives them a sense of community. He finishes the day driving a taxi, the same taxi he often uses to pick up children for the after school program. He hasn’t had a day off in years.
I worked at several newspapers around Georgia during my short-lived (6-year) newspaper career. I started out as reporter (I miss AP style, too) for The Moultrie Observer in 2001 and was working as a staff photographer for the Griffin Daily News when I left the industry in 2007. I quit so that I could return to school and finish my bachelor’s degree. My intentions were to re-enter the newspaper world, hopefully a few rungs up the ladder, once I had degree in hand (I had already been turned down one job because I didn’t).