Participant Profile: Samarriah

Samarriah is a 7th Grader at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in downtown Brooklyn. She has been in the Carrera Program for three years and her favorite part is Job Club because, “I get paid for going to Job Club, so when I get older and I go to college, I already have money for college…I learned about how to be an entrepreneur and not mess up credit. I now save my money instead of spending it every chance I get.”

Like many CAS-Carrera participants, Samarriah has been supported tremendously by the CAS-Carrera Medical Advocates to ensure access to semi-annual dental exams, complete physical exams, medical follow-ups for immunization updates and prescription refills, and ophthalmology appointments. Unfortunately, this Justin Bieber fan has a seizure disorder that requires maintenance medication to manage the symptoms. Last summer, she suffered a scary series of seizures that required hospitalization and, ultimately, a 24 hour video Electroencephalography (EEG) which records the brain's spontaneous electrical activity. Typically, a parent is required to stay overnight at the hospital during the EEG, but her mother could not secure child care for Samarriah’s six siblings, including a newborn baby.

Kim Ciaccia, CAS-Carrera Medical Advocate, stepped in and remained at her bedside at all times, providing comfort, helping with homework, watching movies and playing board games and video games. Today, thanks to the partnership of CAS-Carrera's medical team, health care partner and her mom, Samarriah’s epilepsy is under control. According to Samarriah, “I feel that I’m healthier and I can focus more…I like that the fact that I get a medical advocate to help me with my seizures and other appointments because my mom [doesn’t] always have time to take me on every single appointment.”

CAS-Carrera may not (yet) have a prescription for Samarriah’s “Beiber Fever,” but it has helped her take charge of her health while cultivating the desire to graduate from high school and go to college.