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 Jasmyne shares hers.
Being an African American woman was supposed to keep me at a disadvantage. Having to witness the financial struggle of not having enough or having just enough was supposed to keep me at a disadvantage. Being the child of a single parent working hard to provide for two daughters – my sister and me – was supposed to keep me at a disadvantage. Being one of the few children in middle school to have quite a different learning style from many other children, therefore making it hard for me to keep up in the classroom was supposed to keep me at a disadvantage. Perhaps these things may have made it a little harder for me, but they did not stop me. Being a child of God gave me all the grace I needed to succeed in spite of these things.
Being a part of Communities In Schools was just the advantage I needed to help me achieve more and to be a better student academically. CIS broadened my perspective and revealed the potential I had hidden within me. CIS benefitted my growth and development as a young middle school student. This program not only gave me a sense of belonging, but it also gave me comfort in knowing that I had a strong support system not only at home but at school as well.
I built lasting relationships with my fellow CIS peers, my mentors and of course, Edith Penny, who helped cultivate a great experience for not only myself but for other students as well. I can truly say that I walked away from CIS a better student. I became more outspoken and more confident in my ability to achieve. I was more focused and studious when it came down to my work and more fearless about tackling my dreams and blossoming into the young woman I was destined to become. I began to think more about what college I wanted to go to, what I wanted to study in school, who I wanted to become in life, and what purpose I wanted to fulfill.
Meeting my mentor gave me more emotional stability. I had the opportunity to open up about life beyond academics. I discussed sports, how to become a young mature woman, relationships, shopping, etc. This allowed me to free my mind, be more social and express my emotions more effectively.
I was that student who struggled a little in school and needed a little extra attention. I needed and valued one-on-one time with my teachers and CIS mentors. Due to my challenges in school, many people doubted my potential. However, I could move past this and involve myself in CIS to bring out the best student in me. This program rebuilt hope that was taken away from me, and as a result, I graduated from Northern Nash High School with a 3.1 GPA, graduated from North Carolina Wesleyan College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, worked as a Zumba instructor for two years, and I am currently an inspirational music artist, a minister in training, and a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. And I am still aiming higher.
I realize I made it this far not just because of my talent or willingness to work, but also because of the strong support system backing me. CIS encouraged me to think beyond the present and to my future. I will always carry with me what CIS, my family and friends instilled in me.
As an alumna of Communities In Schools, I will pass the torch and encourage every student to aim high in spite of any past mistakes or failures. I advise all students to view being part of CIS as a resource to help you achieve every goal you aspire to achieve. Be the best that you can be, not because someone is telling you to do so, but because you want to be. Be the best that you can be, no excuses!