Safaa Hussain: 

  • Graphics Program Lead and Co-Executive Director
  • Senior (’23) at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, CA
  • Tutoring with B4M since 2019

Student projects

What is your favorite part about being back in-person at Crittenden Middle School?

One of my favorite parts is seeing the creative process behind my students’ projects in-person, and being able to walk around to offer them guidance as they work. Seeing the constant improvements they make and their excitement when brainstorming new ideas makes me feel more connected to their individual styles, strengths, and energy! I’ve also enjoyed playing in-person ice breakers where everyone is an active participant and valued member of our Crittenden Graphics family!

Tell us your favorite story from teaching Graphics in-person for the first time this year.

On my first day back in-person, I was pleasantly surprised by how curious and outgoing the students at Crittenden were. After our project work time, the eighth graders had questions about high school, and Saint Francis in particular, since many of them grew up with my school just minutes away. They were genuinely eager to hear more about my favorite classes, biggest learning experiences, and best advice, which helped me serve not only as a tutor, but a mentor to them. Being able to offer them inspiration beyond just Graphics was an extremely special way to end the day, and I ended up staying late just to answer everyone’s questions!

What future projects are in the works for Graphics?

This year, I plan to lead students through a series of projects about their dream college environment to give them an early introduction to their potential for studying a wide range of fascinating fields in higher education. This will involve designing their ideal campus, coming up with imaginative classes they would take, and sharing their outside-the-box thinking with peers. We also plan to make “Skill Cards” for students to pick any skill they want to learn (big or small!) and track their progress on their own pocket-sized cards they can carry with them.

What is your biggest hope for the middle schoolers you teach this year?

My biggest hope is that they feel confident in their unique artistic skills, and can see the connection of Graphic Design to their other ambitions. I want to be a resource for them to feel comfortable asking questions, unwinding on a Friday afternoon, and having a creative outlet to express themselves.

What have you learned about being a leader from Buddies4Math?

Tutoring with Buddies4Math has pulled me out of my shell over the past four years, as I have grown increasingly comfortable leading a classroom of energetic kids, delegating tasks to team members, and being more assertive when needed.

The Graphics Program has also improved my organizational skills, as I create lesson plans ahead of time and come up with new strategies to check-in with each student during sessions. Most importantly, I’ve discovered that the best way to make my students feel confident and capable is by building a close-knit family where everyone can offer feedback, uplift each other’s visions, and suggest what projects they’d like to do in the future. Ultimately, I hope to consider every student’s voice in creating the most engaging sessions possible, and lead by example when treating everyone with thoughtfulness!