Kristine wanted to teach her daughter, Alice, the importance of giving back to their community. Seeking out an opportunity to serve a local school, Kristine contacted Communities In Schools and offered to help stuff backpacks for a school supply drive. Together, the mother and daughter team sorted over 30 boxes of donated supplies and delivered 700 school supply backpacks to area schools. “I like volunteering because I like to help other kids,” says Alice. “It makes me realize that no one is too young to make a difference.”
When 6-year-old Samuel first attended his Communities In Schools after-school program, Director Cheryl Britt, recalls that he struggled to stay on task. “Samuel couldn’t stay in his seat long enough to complete a simple project.” After speaking with his mom, Cheryl learned that Samuel had recently lost his brother in a traffic accident, and was struggling to focus in school. Cheryl paired Samuel with Jacob, a mentoring volunteer. Jacob worked one-on-one with Samuel to help him complete his projects, stay on task, and engage with other students. "To see Jacob's patience with Samuel is amazing," says Cheryl. Jacob says he enjoys working with Samuel, and, “can definitely see a change. He interacts better with his peers and is able to stay focused on his work."
When Marlene, a Communities In Schools volunteer, first met Gayle, she had one goal: help Gayle pass middle school. Gayle had failing grades, low self-esteem, and was challenged by physical handicaps and significant learning disabilities. Each week Marlene would meet Gayle at school for lunch. They went on nature walks, worked on sewing projects, and visited art museums. Soon Gayle’s grades began to climb. After four years together, Gayle has worked to overcome her challenges and is making A's and B's. She has gained self-confidence and public speaking skills and is preparing for college. "Marlene keeps telling other people how much I have achieved," says Gayle. "I’m not sure if she realizes that a lot of it is because of her."
Doug, a Communities In Schools volunteer, has mentored Kevin for 6 years. “In elementary school Kevin struggled with behavior problems, which caused his grades to suffer. We met and worked on math homework or played chutes and ladders after school. Soon, his behavior improved. Kevin became interested in music and started playing percussion in the school band. Now that Kevin is in high school, we talk about life experiences and the importance of keeping good grades in preparation for college. Mentoring Kevin gives me a chance to give back to the community. Growing up I had very few black male mentors, and I wanted to be that kind of example to Kevin. I’m so proud to see how he’s developed into a mature young man.”