From the desk of a CIS of Mid-America Site Coordinator:
Violet* entered her sophomore year a little apprehensive of how it would go. Last year, her family had experienced some stress and she had felt unsafe where she was staying. She got poor grades and had been suspended at the end of the year for involvement in a fight. At our school, we do house visits before the school year starts and I visited Violet’s first. I told her I would find her on the first day of school and I did. Ever since then, Violet has been coming to the Communities In Schools office almost daily.
Upon Violet and I making a goal, it was obvious attendance had been a prior issue. We made an agreement that if Violet came every day in September that I would buy her a school sweatshirt. Initially, she would come every day to report she was in attendance and to quickly say hello. The visits then grew to lunch time where she would bring a friend and to sit and talk about different classes or homecoming. Together we practiced for job interviews and she became a partner in the development of an afterschool girl’s group.
In early October, Violet’s living arrangement became in transition and she faced some instability. She was telling me about some dark moods she was having and was seeming distant. Since she was no longer coming to me, I came to her to check on her. I referred her to our school counselor since she needed to work through some past trauma. Throughout, we kept Violet at school and I allowed her some grace when she came in to not have to talk but know my support was always there.
I’ve changed from last year. I feel more in control now.
Violet is back to feeling better, wearing her school sweater, and has already surpassed her goal to achieve a higher GPA. She is a great example of someone who keeps persevering even when life circumstances have made the bigger picture less clear. Violet has said “I’ve changed from last year. I feel more in control now.” And I can’t wait to see how she continues to progress throughout the year.
*Name has been changed to protect student’s identity.