A Long Term Commitment
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Written by Stephanie Valle, MSW   
Thursday, 01 November 2012 16:19

Stephanie Valle, CISNT Program Manager at Lewisville High School Killough in Lewisville ISD, writes about a successful long term mentoring relationship.

lisa and mariaLisa Cox has been a mentor to Maria, a student at Lewisville High School Killough, since she was in elementary school. Over the years, Lisa has followed Maria to her schools so they can continue their relationship. When Maria started her first year in high school, it only seemed natural for Lisa to follow her to LHS Killough.

Their relationship truly is special! Since they have met for over five years, Lisa has had the privilege of watching Maria grow into a teenager. In fact, over the summer, Lisa was invited to celebrate Maria's quinceañera, her 15th birthday. Maria wanted to share this important day with her mentor.

When the two meet, they mainly like to talk and catch up about what is going on with school and at home. Lisa motivates and encourages Maria in all she does. At the moment, they are exploring careers, and they will be learning more about architecture--Maria's current interest. Since Lisa is a realtor, she will be showing Maria blueprints of homes and asking her to draw her "Dream Home." Lisa is always finding new and exciting ways to encourage Maria in her interests.

Although I have only just begun to see their relationship, I already see it is something special. I admire the time and effort Lisa puts into maintaining the wonderful relationship her and Maria have built. Their relationship is only going to continue to get stronger and I am excited to see Maria grow with Lisa.

Life in the U.S.
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Written by Jennifer Hughes   
Friday, 19 October 2012 18:58

Jennifer Hughes, CISNT Program Manager at DeLay Middle School in Lewisville ISD, writes about the close relationship that one of her mentors has built with his student over the past three years.

Brad and RamBrad Curtis has been a CIS mentor with his student, Ram, for 3 years. They first met in 6th grade at DeLay Middle School when Ram had only been in the United States for under a year.

Due to the great needs of the Chin students, who are refugees from Burma, Brad has been a very involved mentor from the start. He spent his time learning about and learning from his student. On one of their first meetings, Ram drew out on a white board his family's journey to the United States. This included a weeks-long walk in the jungle to reach the refugee camp.

Brad and Ram worked many weeks on helping Ram to understand his Science and Math work. They also discuss Ram's interests, such as football, soccer and things that are very typical of a teenager.

Ram's family is also served by Rochelle, a mentor through the Chin Refugee Ministry. Rochelle and Brad have been able to communicate with each other to best meet Ram's needs.

Last week, when Brad and Ram were meeting, Ram told Brad that his family is very happy because they have great mentors. We are very fortunate to have volunteer mentors like Brad, who take the time to help a student transition to a successful academic life in the U.S.

A Student's Thoughtfulness
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Written by Erica Salinas   
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 14:40

Erica Salinas, Site Coordinator at Lee Elementary in Denton ISD, writes about a student's thoughtfulness.

cross pendant necklaceCelia is a 4th grade student that has been enrolled in the Communities In Schools 21st Century Afterschool program since last year. Celia's personality is a mixture of being gentle yet fierce at the same time. She does not back down from anything and is always protecting her friends from other people that are picking on them. On occasion, we have had to tell Celia that in confrontational situations, it is best to get an adult and tell them what is happening and not to take matters into her own hands, because if she doesn't, she will also get into trouble. Along with her fierce and protective side, Celia is also a very caring and very thoughtful individual.

Last Tuesday, a 5th grader had lost his silver necklace with a cross pendant outside when the class was playing soccer. All his classmates were helping him look for his necklace, but they couldn't find it. The following day, Celia ran into me in the hallway during regular school hours and gave me her silver cross pendant. She asked if I could give this to the boy that lost his necklace. She said, "I know how it feels to lose something special and never see it again, so he could have my cross. It won't replace his, but at least he will have one now."

She knows of the boy but does not talk to him or interact with him in school, so it humbled me that she would be so thoughtful to give him this. I gave the pendant to the boy and told him from whom it was from and what she had said. His eyes started to tear up and said thank you. I reminded him that he needed to say that to Celia since she was the one giving him the gift. He went and did just that.

It is a rare individual to be so thoughtful and giving to a person that is not a close personal friend or a relative, especially in one so young.

The Golden Rule
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Written by Tarrolyn Williams   
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 20:43

Tarrolyn Williams, Site Coordinator at Central Elementary in Lewisville ISD, writes about Eddie, a student in the Communities In Schools ACE program.

I have to brag on a Eddie for possessing the "Golden Rule." Eddie found a dollar on the 2nd of October and gave it to his Academic Enrichment Specialist (CIS Coach) with a note on the front that said "I, Eddie, found this $1.00 and I wanted to turn it in. If no one wants, it's okay. I just did not want a person to be sad on this day". It completely melted my heart!!!

Thank you, Eddie, for your compassion and kindness! I love the students and staff at Central Elementary, and they are all doing a fantastic job!


Eddie shows us the note he wrote to his AES2.

A relationship with a caring adult
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Written by Tasha Moore   
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 14:08

Tasha Moore, Program Manager at Hedrick Middle School in the Lewisville Independent School District, talks about a mentor who ended up helping more than just one student.

At Hedrick Middle School we have a diverse population of students: Hispanic, Chin, Nigerian, Bosnian, Russian, and others. Some of the students speak both their native language and English very well. Others are just starting to learn English and face some struggles during the school day. Volunteering one's time to mentor a student is an incredible gift. When the mentor is able to communicate with the student in their native dialect, it is even more amazing

When Sung Cin, a Lewisville High School student, arrived at Hedrick Middle for her first visit with her mentee, she was expecting to only talk with one student. Instead she found herself helping five other students understand the topic I was covering during our lunch group meeting. The 8th grade CIS lunch group had just started, and Sung's mentee was part of that group. Since the group was doing a get-to-know-you activity, Sung joined the group and sat with her mentee. As the activity got under way, it became very apparent to Sung and I that overcoming the communication barrier was going to take time and a lot of hand gestures.

Being a Chin student herself Sung could relate to the Chin students' struggles and began to translate the activity instructions in Chin. Once the students better understood the directions, they were able to participate in the activity, laughing and sharing with each other about some of their favorite things.

Although Sung is a young adult herself, she played an important role in the lives of the lunch group students that day. She gave her time and her skill, providing a personal connection to the Hedrick Middle School students and encouraged them during their lunch period.

While watching the group talk and share with each other during the activity, I was reminded that it does not take a lot to show someone that you care. Sometimes it is the simplest things which let a student know you care the most. There is no need for fancy gifts or extravagant activities. It just takes a relationship with a caring adult who is committed to walking through life with them.

Hedrick Middle School mentor Sung Cin and her mentee

Hedrick Middle School Mentor Sung Cin (left) and her mentee.

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