When Lauren Sly, Vice President of Programs at Communities in Schools (CIS) – Greater Tarrant County, speaks about her organization, you can’t help but feel energized by her exuberance to find meaningful life-changing solutions to the challenges students are facing in her community.
“Everything we do focuses on two things: building relationships and removing students’ barriers to success,” Lauren explains. “We get to know our students on an individual level so that we can identify their unique barriers, and then we come up with ways to solve them.”
The CIS approach is to partner with schools and augment what overloaded school counselors are doing to support students already. As Lauren puts it, CIS will say, “bring us your most at-risk students, your students who need the most attention.” By building trust and forming relationships with these students and their families, CIS can apply tailored solutions—often through partnerships that can provide specific resources—that address areas ranging from mental health, food insecurity, housing insecurity, job opportunities and more.