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What It Takes to Graduate

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It’s graduation season and students across the country will be walking across the stage accepting their high school diplomas and anticipating the next stages of life. For some students this means gearing up for college or the military. For others it means going to work a full-time job. Regardless of a student’s next step, the road to graduation is not easy.

Meet Aaron. When he started high school, he didn’t have the best living situation with his family. His mother was incarcerated and he was told that school wasn't important and that he needed to focus on working a regular job. Through it all Aaron worked and attended school, but unfortunately he didn't take school seriously. During this time Aaron and his family lost everything. Homeless, they ended up living with relatives and moving from place to place. Due to his circumstances, Aaron admits that he had developed serious anger problems. The search for positive affirmations from his mother and family were never found. His anger was so bad that it landed him in an alternative school his 11th grade year.

Aaron has made a 360 degree shift with the help of Communities In Schools of Atlanta and his student support coach, Ms. Johnson. Since joining CIS of Atlanta, Aaron was the recipient of the Trunk Award, given to graduating seniors for exceptional improvement. It includes a gift card, new laptop and printer to help him move on to the next part of his journey. Aaron is still homeless and lives at Covenant House, a shelter for teens, but through hard work and determination he increased his GPA and earned all his credits for graduation. This summer he will attend Livingstone College in North Carolina where he plans to major in biology and become a traveling nurse.

Aaron's words of wisdom: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t great!” and “Sometimes we fall, but we have to get back up and dust ourselves off!”

Aaron is just one of the many CIS of Atlanta students who have succeeded. He beat the odds and is a representation of what can happen when CIS of Atlanta is integrated into schools. At Communities In Schools of Atlanta we see firsthand that the road is not so simple for the 40,000 students who we support . We give individualized support to our students who struggle with poverty and a lack of parental involvement, by showing them basic life skills and helping them with academics and college and career preparation. The wrap around services we provide prove to be beneficial. Just look at Aaron and the other 92% of students we serve who graduate.

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