It was the middle of January, and CIS Site Coordinator, Alex Mazares, was settling in to the new semester at Nina Otero Community School. She began to notice Sophia (not her real name), a sixth grade student that was frequently seen standing on her own in the hallway. Apparently, Sophia was often asked by her teachers to step out of the classroom and into the hallway when she would lose her temper.
On one such occasion, Alex brought Sophia into her office to chat and to ask her how she was doing. The moment gave Sophia a chance to "cool off" and the two of them a chance to gently start getting to know one another. For Alex - listening to Sophia and showing her that she could open up to her about her challenges and frustrations was an important first step in building trust.
Sophia’s family situation was difficult. At one point they were homeless, and now her mother was remarried. Her father was also in a new relationship - and Sophia was traveling back and forth between Albuquerque and Santa Fe as she shared time between households.
Sophia also had challenging interpersonal relationships with kids her age and was the victim of a bullying incident. This resulted in her participating in the school's restorative justice program designed to help students learn productive communication skills and healing approaches to resolving conflict.
Keeping a close eye on things, Alex became aware that Sophia was still struggling and might benefit from professional help. Together with the school counselor, they made arrangements for Sophia to receive in-patient psychiatric care. The next year and a half was an extremely difficult time for Sophia, and Alex was there to support her along the way.
Despite the challenges of distance learning, Sophia has remained engaged in school and as Alex says, “Sophia always has a smile on her face.” She is excited to be an 8th grader at Nina Otero School and also keeps an eye on her little step brother, a kindergartner at the same school.
"CIS continues to be provide support to Sophia’s family," comments Alex. "This summer we were able to check in regularly when CIS delivered groceries and other supplies each week. Sophia knows she can come to me with ANY concern and I will be there for her!"
Thank you Nusenda!
Thank you Nusenda Credit Union for your generous support of Commuities In Schools. We are so excited for the Santa Fe Trails buses that are on the roads promoting our partnership!
A Pop Up Sale Success!
A heartfelt thank you to everyone that attended the Pop Up Sale on Saturday, September 19!
And a BIG thank you to Raashan Ahmad and Jonathan Boyd for organizing this event!
Proceeds from Saturday will purchase hygiene products for 300 students in our public schools.
Help build brighter futures for Santa Fe's students!
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