Young San Diego Somali strives to keep peers on right track

CITY HEIGHTS, Calif. – A young San Diego Somali is making it his mission to keep Somali kids in school and working towards a positive future.

We met 19-year-old Mohammed Mohammed walking down the street in City Heights, in a neighborhood where thousands of Somali-Americans live.

He said his elders have warned him about terrorists recruiting young Muslim Somali men.

“It’s like disrespecting our religion, really our religion and all that so it’s like a little bit embarrassing for us,” Mohammed said.

He also fears people may judge all Muslim Somali-American men like him.

“When we say we’re from Somalia, and it’s embarrassing, like people are going to get scared from us,” Mohammed said.

Mohammed has been in the United States since the mid-90s, when his parents escaped because of the civil war.

He said it can be hard here for a Somali-American child.

“We were having lot of problems, our Bantu people were having too much bullying,” Mohammed said.

So he stepped up. He is part of an organization to help other young Somalis find their place in San Diego — the Somali Bantu Association of America.

“Until this org came out we was having problems with school, people were bulling us…we didn’t know English,” Mohammed said.

Kids are getting help with homework, they have a computer lab, and they are working with the U.S. military.

Mohammed said graduation rates have soared.

Mohammed said recruiting young Somalis will be his life’s work too.

“I would like to help the kids…just like to keep them out of trouble and all that,” he said.