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HARLEM- A chance encounter with an after-school program has led to a life-changing experience.

A teen from Harlem is headed to college, thanks in part to Girls Inc, NYC.

The group’s hope for this young lady? That’s she will be changemaker for years to come.

Fargana Abden made a life changing choice when she was in 8th grade; she joined after-school program Girls Inc., NYC.

At the time, she felt ashamed of her heritage, being the only Bengali student at her Harlem school, and never felt comfortable wearing her hijab. She shied away from her teachers and others.

“When I  joined Girls Inc., I was told everything about me was fine,”

She flourished and Girls Inc. continued to guide her along her high school journey.

Dr. Pamela Maraldo, CEO of Girls Inc., NYC says their mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. They also want to develop more female leaders.

Fargana became so involved in mentoring and tutoring other girls with Girls’ Inc. that she was chosen as the U.S. Glamour girl and joined other girls from around the world to describe their struggle for education,

Fargana, who is a first-generation Bengali-American, says she wants to change the Bengali culture in Harlem.

Fargana’s tireless efforts to help others and so much more is why she was chosen as the “Girls Inc. National Scholarship winner. She now has $20 thousand to spend on her schooling.

Fargana has decided where she will go to college– her choice? The City College of New York.