Today’s Site Coordinator Snapshot is by Network Communications Specialist Erica Rafferty.
It’s funny how a single moment can shape your point of view, your beliefs and sometimes your life. For Nancy Essary, a site coordinator with Communities In Schools of East Texas for the past five and a half years, that moment happened on the first day of school this year.
Originally, my post about Nancy Essary was about how she spends every summer with Communities In Schools delivering lunches across Diana, Texas to low-income students whose next meal is not always certain. An undeniably powerful story, you can watch a video of Nancy telling the story at the bottom of this post.
But when she told me about the first day of school this year, and of a single, simple moment that she will never forget, I knew that, too, was a story to be shared.
One of the schools Nancy serves is Robert F. Hunt Elementary School, a pre-kindergarten through third grade school. Last year, she ran a character development program with the first grade students.
She said there was one student in particular who frequently had to be removed from the group due to behavioral challenges. Whenever Nancy saw him, she told him to make good choices, and set time aside at the end of the day so he could share his feelings with her freely and confidentially.
When Nancy arrived to school this year, she went over to the second grade classroom to introduce herself to the teachers and students. In that classroom was the same boy from last year.
As soon as he saw her, the boy yelled, “Hey, you know me! I am the one with all the problems last year, and you are the one who helped me with them.”
“In the meantime, my brain and heart were racing,” she said. “And I remembered him, but I had no idea I had that kind of impact on him.”
When Nancy left the class, the impact of the moment overwhelmed her. She stood in the quiet hallway, absorbing it.
“He gave me much more than what I had ever given him. Because what he gave me in that shout-out was, ‘Ms. Essary, you keep doing what you’re doing because it really did help me.’”
For Nancy, a first day of school almost didn’t happen because her program’s funding was uncertain. She said she spent her summer wondering whether she would have a job once school started. Community members came forward privately to pay for Nancy’s position and program.
“It was just a miracle, and when that moment happened with that student, I had only known for a few weeks that I actually did have a job to come back to,” said Nancy. “I almost started crying.”
Our site coordinators are a selfless bunch, working tirelessly to bring needed community resources into the schools to make sure that students are surrounded with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Last year, our site coordinators served 1.35 million students, without expecting a thank you or an acknowledgement of their impact on a life.
“For me, if I never have another positive moment the rest of the school year, I had it all right then,” said Nancy.
And that’s the power of a single moment.