Chicago House


Being an immigrant, language wasn’t the only barrier for Youssef in American schools. A trauma he suffered as a young boy left him with a severe speech impediment and a learning disability. For the first two years in America, Youssef was very insecure and his self-esteem plummeted. He had difficulty learning, keeping up with school-work and his test grades were barely passing. The kids in his class didn’t make it any easier for him as he was teased of daily for being “different.”

Youssef’s parents turned to the Family Support Program (FSP) when he was 10 years old, in hopes to find an outlet that would let him gain some confidence. Through the FSP Bridges Music and Performing Arts Program, Youssef started taking guitar lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and quickly discovered that he had a natural talent. His passion for music grew stronger by the minute, and so did his confidence. His niche for music and extraordinary talent helped him gain acceptance by his peers and perform better in his classes. While honoring his guitar skills, within the year, Youssef also took on piano, trumpet, violin and electric guitar. The positive impact of music is evident in youth like Youssef and it continues to affirm the amazing potential of children in the Family Support Program.

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