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Mosaic Artwork for Nasje

Nasje | Illinois

I used to struggle with my self-esteem and would get involved in altercations at school. But that was before I found a caring adult who empowered me and boosted my self-confidence. Now, I’m the leader of a peer group at school that works with other students on conflict resolution and de-escalation tactics.

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Music Notes

In the past, I was bullied and that made me mad, so I would get into fights at school. Now, I'm committed to encouraging others and bettering myself. I’ve found ways to express myself more positively, like learning to play the piano and art journaling with Ms. A in the Heart Club.

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Police Badge

My dad was a police officer, and I admired his work ethic and how he handled himself. After graduating college, I’d like to explore becoming a police officer myself.

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“My Black is Beautiful” Quote

Being bullied for how I looked took a toll on me, and I struggled a lot with self-esteem. In my group for girls of color, I was introduced to a film about self-love. This stuck with me and helped me find the confidence to feel beautiful in my own skin, just as I am. It made me see that my black is beautiful.

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High-Top Sneakers

I recognize the responsibility of being a role model for younger students. Whether I’m inspiring others emotionally or pioneering fashion trends at school, I know my peers will follow in my footsteps.

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Colorful Stars

I was not as confident growing up as I am today. Early on, I struggled to see my own beauty, but now, more and more, I'm embracing and loving the beautiful brown girl that I am and it brings me great joy to share my positive vibes and unique personality with those around me.

Nasje – Cropped Portrait

Nasje is a seventh-grade student at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy of Social Justice in Chicago, Illinois. She used to get involved in frequent altercations, and she struggled with her self-esteem. She met Artesha Williams, a site coordinator for Communities In Schools of Chicago, who empowered her and boosted her self-confidence. Nasje is now the leader of a peer group at school that works with other students on conflict resolution and de-escalation tactics.

What is something about you that others don’t always see?

Other people don’t always realize that I have a voice, and I will use it to speak up if I see a problem.

What is one thing your Communities In Schools coordinator told you or taught you that you’ll never forget?

My Communities In Schools coordinator taught me that I cannot let anything or anyone hold me back from my future. I’ll never, ever forget that. I used to let people walk all over me and make me feel lost, but now I’m doing me—and doing what is right for me.

What is the biggest challenge facing students today?

The biggest challenge facing students is meeting academic standards and the pressure to be at the top of the class.

What is one thing you want the world to know about you?

I’m not afraid to speak my mind.

Do you think you’ve changed as a person since the beginning of middle school?

I do think I’ve changed. I used to let people get to me, but now, I don’t let things get to that point.

How do you try to make a positive impact on your friends and fellow students?

I encourage my friends and fellow students to pray to God and to be really specific about what they need to help them through their problems.

24 %

of current students report bullying as significant problem in their high school. DePaoli, Atwell, Bridgeland & Shriver, 2018

If you could give a piece of advice to other students facing bullying, what would it be?

I would tell them to stand up for themselves and to let their bullies know that picking on others is not okay.


What’s your favorite kind of food?

My favorite kind of food is Thanksgiving dinner! But if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be bacon!