Samuel is a high energy first grade student enrolled in a Communities In Schools after-school program. A CIS Site Coordinator, Cheryl, remembers the first time she met Samuel. “He had the hardest time staying in his seat. He was very sweet, but couldn’t focus long enough to complete a project before wanting to move on to something else.”

Cheryl spoke with Samuel’s mom after the first session. “His mother told me that Samuel had suffered the tragic loss of his younger brother over the summer,” Cheryl said. “She told me that Samuel’s brother was his best friend – that it had been very difficult for Samuel to cope and that he struggled being apart from family.” His first time in an after-school program, Samuel’s mother explained that it was important for him to connect with his peers and caring adults.

Cheryl paired Samuel with Jacob, a regular volunteer with the program. 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 is there with him the whole time. He acts almost like a big brother to him.” Jacob says he enjoys working with Samuel, and considers it a privilege. “I can definitely see a change in Samuel. He interacts better with his peers and is better able to stay focused on his projects and his work.”

Now, with the help of Cheryl and Jacob, Samuel is learning important skills that will help him tackle the first grade, and beyond.