North Texas

Nonprofit CIS Gives Student, 18, Hope for Future

School supplies will be back on store shelves before we know it. Notebooks and pencils are tools of the job.  Yet, some students do not have those basic necessities.

That's why NBC 5 teamed up with Albertsons and Tom Thumb stores for the Supporting Our School school supply drive.

It's easy to join us. Just donate $10 at the check out.

All of the money will help buy school supplies for students who get support from the nonprofit agencies the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities and Communities in Schools or CIS.

Daniela Alvardo, a 2018 graduate of Denton High School, is one of thousands of students in North Texas who rely on CIS to remove barriers that hinder their success in school. Those obstacles can be as basic as school supplies or food to academic help and more complicated issues such as family dynamics.

"The main ingredient CIS brings to the table to change lives is a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult, having someone to turn to if there's a problem at home; having someone to speak to if you're struggling academically, having someone who will care about whether you show up to school; who will keep you accountable for your goals and what you want to achieve," said Ann Pape, CEO for CIS North Texas.

Alvarado's home life was one of the challenges she faced as she started high school.

"I honestly was so worried about coming into high school. Who was going to help me? My mom never attended college. She didn't go to high school. So I was like, who am I gonna rely on? Who's gonna help me succeed in life?," Alvarado said.

She learned to rely on Breanna Slaughter, a social worker and site coordinator with CIS.

"The bond is an awesome, healthy bond," said Slaughter. "We have been able to go from complete strangers where I've supported her through some of the most difficult decisions she's ever had to make."

Those decisions included ending toxic relationships, setting healthy boundaries, focusing on school work and trusting that Slaughter was on her side.

"It took time for me to realize she was going to stay here." said Alvarado. "And she pushed me to where I am."

And, where is she? A high school graduate, headed for North Central Texas College, then on to a four-year university for a social work degree.

"Our vision for students is for them to feel equipped and empowered to achieve their goals, their dreams in life," said Pape. "And the very first part of that is to keep them in school and support them along that path to graduation." 

"I have so much hope because whenever I felt hopeless, Ms. Slaughter helped me realize me you're worth a lot,' said Alvarado.

"She's an amazing example of the relationships we form and the lives we touch," said Slaughter.

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