For Nadege Delinois-Jean, the journey to becoming a site coordinator at Communities In Schools of Miami started behind the deli counter of a supermarket. While taking orders, the part-timer chatted with a customer about the work he did as the head of a grants program at Delinois-Jean’s alma mater, Florida International University. Delinois-Jean, who has a degree in public administration and who had always wanted to be a teacher, says she followed up the chance meeting with a phone call as soon as she took her next break.
“I called right away, and after I came in to meet with him, I ended up getting a job at the university.” The position was with Robert Vos, who helmed GEAR UP Edison, a program that provided grants to help increase the number of low-income students getting into to college. Delinois-Jean worked with the local chapter of GEAR UP for seven years, and it was what led her to Communities In Schools. After her work at GEAR UP, she spent two years working for Communities In Schools as a data specialist at North Miami Middle School. When a site coordinator position became available in 2010, she got a call to apply.
As a site coordinator at North Miami Middle School, Delinois-Jean works with approximately 100 students to ensure they receive targeted and sustained services. One of the programs she’s most proud of expanding at the school is a mentoring group that serves boys and girls in all grades. She works with the City of North Miami mentoring program to recruit new mentors. Roughly 10 civic employees from the city arrive every Wednesday and along with 23 students, fill the school’s media center from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.
“Kids need mentors. They need people to talk to,” said Delinois-Jean. “The mentors come every week and you can see the kids opening up. The ones that were in trouble are doing great. I’m very happy with the program and the results because I see the progress the kids are making and I see improvements in their grades and conduct.”
And her latest project, a partnership with Sabrena O’Keefe, assistant professor at the Center for Leadership & Service at Florida International University (FIU), is the Academy of Leaders. It includes 12 FIU students working twice a month with North Miami Middle School students to teach them life skills.
“Being a site coordinator gives me a chance to help people,” said Delinois-Jean. “I love to help people, I love to empower people. I think it’s in my blood. My happiness comes from seeing others succeed.”