Jaleel is a senior in high school, something that he did not think possible just two years ago. Jaleel was referred to Communities In Schools during his sophomore year because he was chronically absent, a serious risk factor for adverse outcomes. He was out of school at least two days every week. Not surprisingly, his grades suffered.

CIS Student Support Specialist David Nobles met Jaleel, built a connection with him, and found that the root of the problem for his absences was a lack of transportation. Some days Jaleel walked to school. It was not his intention to skip school, but without any encouragement from a caring adult, it was hard to find the motivation to stay on track. Mr. Nobles became that caring adult for Jaleel and provided him the supports he needed to get to school and complete his assignments.

Mr. Nobles noticed that, due to missing so much school, Jaleel felt isolated, had a hard time expressing his thoughts and feelings, and found it difficult to interact with his peers. Through weekly check-ins and connections to resources in the school, Mr. Nobles saw that Jaleel was improving his social behavior and his overall mental health.

Once Jaleel began attending school regularly, his grades improved, and he was excited to attend school. He wanted to work on his social skills and become more involved in school-based activities. During his junior year, Jaleel served as a CIS Student Ambassador. He provided school tours to visitors and helped with the coordination of volunteers during site visits. Since connecting with CIS, Jaleel has truly enjoyed being part of a community that understands him. He has picked up a new hobby with his newfound friends and looks forward to their time on the basketball court at the end of each school day.

Now in his senior year, with graduation on the horizon, Jaleel is focused on the future. With the support and guidance of Mr. Nobles, he can envision a career for himself serving his country. Currently, Jaleel has his sights set on enlisting in the military and is looking forward to learning more about each branch to figure out which one will be a good fit. He is eager to learn more about career opportunities after high school and beyond and looks forward to finding his passion. With Jaleel’s new skills, he will walk with confidence across the stage in 2024.

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