17 years old with ½ a credit
The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Increased attendance, improved behavior, and satisfactory coursework, in addition to parent and family engagement, are the cornerstones of our work.
Sasha Hamilton was a 17-year-old student at Dudley High School with half a credit, the only credit she earned during her entire high school career that she could use to be applied towards graduation. She had moved around so much that she was never fully able to ground herself at school and commit herself to her studies. Some of the other factors that affected her ability to pass her classes and be successful in her courses were: she experienced the loss of a family member due to crime, her home burned down, she was living between shelters and hotels, and felt like she just had an all-around series of unfortunate events.
By the end of the same year, Sasha’s guidance counselor, Fredricca Stokes, who is currently Director of Student Support Services for Guilford County Schools, told her “it wasn’t looking good…” that she was “pretty much going to ‘age’ out of the system…but that they could find a plan for Sasha to graduate.” No one in Sasha’s family had graduated from high school so Sasha wasn’t surprised that this could have contributed to her lack of academic success.
Fortunately, Sasha’s guidance counselor introduced her to Ms. Angie Carter, currently the Project Director of 21st Century Scholars of Communities In Schools of Greater Greensboro. Angie told Sasha that “it was going to be extremely hard, but she would help implement the new plan that Mrs. Stokes created for Sasha to get Sasha to graduate.” It would require Sasha to take classes during the day, during her lunch periods, after school, and throughout the summer! During this time, Ms. Angie Carter was a pillar of moral support, a source of motivation, guidance, and structure. Ms. Angie Carter would even pick Sasha up and take her to and from school.
After a year of catching up on her course credits at Dudley, Hamilton still didn’t have enough credits to graduate, so Mrs. Stokes got Hamilton into the Middle College at Bennett. A middle college is an innovative, contemporary high school on a college campus which provides the opportunity for students to earn a high school diploma and start college early. Ms. Angie Carter continued to support Hamilton while she was a student at the Middle College at Bennett. Sasha completed two years at the Middle College including more summer classes and finished her high school curriculum! She graduated in the top 5% of her class!
Communities In Schools continued to help Sasha after her high school graduation! She determined that she wanted to go to college and in her statement of her college application she demonstrated how CIS helped her. She said, “it only takes one person to care about what’s happening in someone’s life, to listen and help…”
“Communities in Schools saved my entire life,” Hamilton states. Hamilton explains that during her time at Dudley HS she had no guidance. Fortunately, Communities In Schools was able to step in and address some of Hamilton’s unmet needs, by introducing a caring adult into her life and surrounding her with a community of support, Sasha was able to focus on learning in school! CIS uses a coordinated, individualized approach, that’s what makes us effective!
Currently, Hamilton obtained her Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate License! She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Psychology, received her Master’s in Social Work in 2017 and is working towards obtaining her full LCSW License. She works with families both in-home intensive and outpatient services. She enjoys working with patients in-home intensive the most because she loves going to their homes where she can dive in and help out the most! Sasha says that CIS helped her to enact her goal of giving back. She says she always had an innate sense that she wanted to help people. CIS showed her why it’s important to get the community involved when helping people. She says it’s an extraordinary experience to take a child out of an unfortunate situation because you never know who they can become!
She says she also loves to give back to her family. She says she has an excellent relationship with her family and that her experience with CIS benefitted everyone! She’s now able to help her family a lot! She has a better understanding of the educational system and was able to help her sister with navigating her education and her sister also graduated from Dudley and is a nurse! This semester her younger sister will go for her full RN! Her oldest sister is currently on maternity leave but will be completing her LPN associate’s degree soon.
Many children face challenges both inside and outside the classroom. Through a school-based site coordinator, Communities In Schools strategically aligns and delivers needed resources so that students can focus on learning. It is the only nonprofit proven to keep kids in school and help them graduate on time. CIS uses a coordinated, individualized approach, that’s what makes us effective!
For more information, or to donate and impact more students like Sasha, please donate to CIS! A link to our donations page: Donate!