Anastasia is the oldest of five children. Growing up, she had very adult responsibilities caring for her four younger siblings while her mom worked long hours to support the family. Anastasia’s challenges at home made it difficult to stay focused on school work. She often missed classes, failed to turn in assignments, and she was unsure about her future. Anastasia says that in her junior year, she began to notice that her peers who were involved with Communities In Schools were doing positive things. She says that those students seemed to have a purpose, a drive, and a can-do attitude about school. Anastasia wanted a change, and so she went to the Communities In Schools office at Eastside Memorial High School in Austin, Texas and asked how she could get involved.
In CIS, Anastasia worked closely with Ashika Raval, her CIS Compass to College Coordinator. Compass to College is a program for students living in public housing that raises awareness of higher education and career opportunities, develops pre-employment skills, promotes peer and leadership characteristics, and builds self-esteem and social abilities for future success. Ashika met with Anastasia on campus every week to talk about challenges at home and at school. They developed goals, strategies, and plans for making the kind of positive changes Anastsia wanted to see in her life.
Over time, Anastasia became more confident and hopeful. With Ashika’s support, she identified her passions, and she began to envision the future she wanted for herself, and for her younger siblings. Anastasia’s initial goals were to improve her attendance and grades, and then she planned to be the first person in her family to attend college.
Anastasia worked hard during her final two years of high school. She went to her classes, studied at home, and she got involved in extracurricular activities on campus. When it came time to apply for a scholarship, internship, and for college, she was on track in all areas. She had achieved all that she set out to accomplish. In June, 2019, Anastasia graduated from high school, accepted a summer internship, and she received a college scholarship. She is currently pursuing a technology degree in college.
“Communities In Schools taught me to make better decisions, and to be the best me that I can be. CIS also helped me to apply for college and navigate that process. I am so proud of where I am now.” – Anastasia, Class of 2019, Eastside Memorial High School
Learn more about Anastasia by watching this video.