With the support of CIS, our students stay in school, graduate and go on to bright futures. They all have a story about their journey to who they are today. Alumna Brittany shares hers.
I have always feared becoming a product of my environment and growing up, I noticed how my community was filled with poverty, drugs, prostitution and violence. During my childhood, my surroundings limited my ability to see myself moving beyond my situation. The thought of having a better life and going to college seemed impossible. But I believe it was this same fear that pushed me to achieve things I at one point never thought possible.
As a child, I witnessed early how the misuse of drugs and alcohol can have a lasting effect on the lives of individuals and their families. Like many children where I grew up, I was raised in a home where at least one or both parents abused alcohol and drugs excessively both inside and outside of the home. This unfortunately caused my siblings and me to experience things children should never have to go through and as a result, I went into a deep depression. A deep depression that caused me to lose my smile and made me feel like life was no longer worth living. My state of depression drew attention to me and it drew the attention of this one particular woman named Ms. Hardy.
Ms. Hardy was a site coordinator for Communities In Schools at my school. Ms. Hardy took an interest in helping me personally and academically. She made a personal commitment to allocate any resources I needed and in assisting me in achieving success academically. From this experience, I recognized how important it is to be able to interact with people in a manner that expresses empathy, compassion and a sincere interest in their welfare. Most importantly, I realized how someone who barely knew me wanted to help me and show me that I was deserving and worthy of being helped. Although going to college was never discussed in my household, nor was it a requirement, when it came to Ms. Hardy and my future, pursuing college was my only option. When I reflect back on the role Ms. Hardy assumed in my life, I recognize how effective intervention in a child’s life can promote positive adolescent and adult outcomes. As a result of CIS helping me, I have successfully obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree, both within the field of social work. I am the first person in my family to attend and complete college and I am hoping to have paved a way for my younger siblings and hopefully others like myself who have had challenging experiences and are working to rise above them. I am currently working in my field as a foster care case manager, and I love helping to make a difference in the lives of others.