The holidays are officially behind us, and with the start of a new year (and a chance to breathe after holiday crunch time!) we are given a chance to reflect on the previous year. With our 2012 movement under the Communities in Schools of Wilkes umbrella, we have been able to fully embody the CIS mission — that is — to
surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay
in school and achieve in
Through the help of our community and supporters, we often have the pleasure of extending our reach and impact into the lives of our students. This Christmas season, site coordinator Ann Privette enjoyed the privilege of not only impacting her student, but his family as well. What follows is the story.
In his sixth grade year, a student failing to meet his potential was recommended to Team Challenger (A CIS program offered at East Alexander Middle School). Eric* would often complain of being bored in class, refusing to do much work and opting to joke and play instead. He made no effort towards his homework.
“I can’t do it no matter how hard I try,” Eric would remark when asked about his studies, “so what’s the point?”
Ms. Privette refused to give up on him.
Through a close eye and lots of encouragement, Eric’s grades and attendance improved. Unfortunately, his attitude and commitment still lagged behind as the sixth grade came to a close.
Eric re-enrolled in Team Challenger in the seventh grade, and the year seemed to start out similarly to his previous. He was struggling in two out of four major classes — but his attitude was different. Instead of arguing over doing his school work, Eric sought to better his grades. He participated and offered amazing insights in class discussion. He even redirected others in class who were distracting him when he was trying to do his work.
This dedication paid off. Just recently, Eric earned one of only three A’s given in his Language Arts class for a major essay.
Though his attitude about school improved, his home life was deteriorating. His father had been unable to work since last school year, forcing the members of his immediate family to move into a relative’s home. Other financial cuts were made, and only necessities were purchased on mom’s salary.
Though the family struggled to get by independently, but Ms. Privette thought a “Merry Christmas” would be in order for the boy who improved so much and asked for nothing in return.
Ann called Alexander Juvenile Detention Center, who had sponsored families in the past, and they jumped at the chance to help. Not only did the employees donate money, they also shopped for toys. Erica Lowe, an employee at the detention center, headed up the special project — collecting and using the donated money to buy the family a Wii, some games, CD’s, toy cars, a football, and more. She then personally wrapped each and every item.
When the toys were delivered to the family, many hugs and thanks were given. Mom said that her family usually gives to others over the holidays, but she and her husband wondered how they would afford Christmas for their own family this year. She couldn’t say enough about what a blessing this gift was to her family!
As for the site coordinator’s thoughts? Eric had earned it all — and more.
If you would like to make a donation to CIS or to get more information about volunteering for the mentoring program, please contact Angie Yates at (828)495-4611. Communities In Schools is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax exempt.