Present in the Laredo community for over eight years, Communities in Schools assists students with school tutoring, basic needs, scholarships for college, college readiness, and career exploration. Students and their families who are struggling and have a difficult time accessing public and private services benefit from Communities in Schools. There are many resources in the community, but sometimes there is no one who can help make the connection between the person and the resources. Through a school-based coordinator, students are helped with this issue. The coordinator helps students remove barriers, and brings community resources into the school to empower success for all students. The program helps students who are at risk of dropping out due to academics, attendance, social service needs, and behavioral issues. Communities in Schools keeps students on the path to graduation.
Luis Cerda has been a member of Communities in Schools for over three years at Raymond and Tirza Martin High School. Despite the obstacles he faces at home, Luis’s school based coordinator, Stephanie Diaz, has personally seen him grow as a student and individual. Luis contacted Mrs. Diaz because his is family is financially unstable. Luis’s parents are unable to work because his mother is on disability, and his father has a heart condition. Although his family receives government assistance, it is not enough for a family of six. Through the program, Mrs. Diaz has been able to provide Luis with school supplies, clothes, food, and someone to confide in. The program has helped alleviate many of the stressors that can prevent Luis from thriving in school.
Luis has prospered at Martin High School. Currently, Luis participates in countless extracurricular activities such as football, golf, powerlifting, chess, and UIL. Once in a while, Luis needs extra support for his academics, and he knows he can easily ask Mrs. Diaz for assistance. Now, Luis has broken out of his shell, is more outgoing, and enjoys helping out at his school and home. Luis explained that the program has made him more aware about the importance of helping others and he truly enjoys it. Communities in Schools has also allowed Luis the grand opportunity to attend the prestigious Texas Boys State program. “He really is a good kid. He always does his best to be involved in many activities. I was excited for him to go. Texas Boys State will help him excel for his senior year,” explained Mrs. Diaz. Luis is already preparing for life during his senior year and for after his graduation.
United Way of Laredo financially helps support Communities in School, so the program can continue making a difference in the daily lives of students. The funds go directly to student resources. “I am happier being in Communities in Schools. I don’t have to worry anymore,” explained Luis. Luis’s parents are also thankful for all the support Communities in Schools have provided them with.