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Making His Community Proud

CIS of Jacksonville
Academic Assistance

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. Alumnus Dominic shares his.

I was raised in a single family home with seven other siblings. I grew up in a very low income area and household where making the honor roll and going to college was not the norm. My mom did everything she could to ensure my education was top priority. So you could imagine when I came home expressing to my mother that I was having difficulty in my math class. My mom made a plea to the teacher, guidance counselor and principal. 

I was then introduced to Communities In Schools of Jacksonville. At that time, CIS was a program open for all students to receive time to work on their homework with a teacher, get involved in a recreational activity and even receive a meal before leaving for home.

CIS set up a meeting with my algebra teacher, and he stayed afterschool twice a week to ensure I got the extra help I needed. He later opened up our session for other students who needed help. CIS was deeply involved in my middle school. They not only helped during afterschool but during the day as well. Some of the CIS liaisons would check in on me and several other students throughout the day. They would even say hi and spend their lunch with us. CIS is and was a safe haven for all students. CIS gave me that extra boost of confidence I needed to get through some of my courses and dealing with middle school issues like bullying.

Currently, I volunteer with CIS by mentoring, attending board meetings, and meeting with local business owners to sponsor and get involved with CIS. I am a walking billboard as an advocate – I post on social media sites and drive volunteers to get involved in the great works that CIS is doing in our community. I am the first person to have received a bachelor's degree in my family, and I want to share with my community how they can do the same.

A moment where I took great pride in myself was the day I graduated and received my Bachelor of Business Administration. From freshman year to graduation CIS was there, from learning how to balance work and school, the financial aid process, failing/dropping classes, summer jobs and even various projects. CIS made calls on my behalf and even assigned me a mentor who I could talk to along the way. My mentor Curt Lightbody has been there since my freshman year of high school, and without CIS, I would not have met him. We are still in contact today 10 years after my high school graduation. The help CIS provided post-high school has helped to mold me into the person I am today. Today, I work for J.P. Morgan Chase and I am married with three children.

- November 2016

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