“The Hub was my lifeline”

In a matter of months, Treecie Hargroves’ life flipped upside down. Her children graduated from high school, her marriage ended, and she lost her job and her home. A teacher with two decades of experience enriching countless children’s lives, she suddenly found herself homeless.

“I lost everything – my kids, my job, my place to live – I was living out of my truck, trying to find income, trying to be who I was supposed to be. It was a time and a place where – I didn’t know who I was or why I was. Why did I exist? Why was I breathing? What was I supposed to do?”

Ms. Hargroves applied for a teaching position at Evans High School, A Community Partnership School, more than an hour away from the community she once called home. “I thought my troubles would follow me,” she said. “But once I ended up at Evans, they said no, we want you here and we want you as you are!”

This was her first introduction to the Community Partnership Schools™ model at Evans High School, affectionately known as “The Hub.”

Before long, Ms. Hargroves led the Summer Literacy Academy at Evans, integrating international students to their new school and community – their new home.

“Watching my students’ faces as they met the Community Partnership School team melted my heart,” she explained. “They were fitted for new shoes, clothes, back packs, school supplies … they scheduled vision exams and glasses, dental exams and braces – the Hub even provided hygiene kits to the girls, boys were taught how to shave, it was really cool!”

While Ms. Hargroves relied on the Community Partnership School to help her students, she was also connected to a variety of resources to help her focus on her own well-being, finding a network of support during the most difficult time of her life.

Ms. Hargroves says her life has changed since receiving support from CHS and the Community Partnership School at Evans High School – both personally and professionally. “There is a sense of – OK, now I can give to someone else, I know how to refer a student to the Hub, I can get them the support they need and I can focus on teaching. I am more open at school – my opinion matters, I matter.”

“The kids don’t have an excuse not to come to school – whatever the problem is, the Hub will help take care of it. If your water doesn’t work at home, if you need food – it doesn’t matter. Just get to school and we will take care of it. The Hub is a bridge that keeps expanding – there is no end to what can be done to help us succeed.”

In 2009, Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) and the University of Central Florida (UCF)  came together with a shared commitment – to use their scale and resources and collaborate with community members to tackle inequities affecting student success. Bringing in Orange County Public Schools, the partnership resulted in Florida’s first Community Partnership School, located at Evans High School in Orlando. Core partners work together to bring high-quality academics, health care, counseling, support, mentoring and more – all where students and their families are comfortable: in their own school.

Questions? More Information? Please contact Alexandria Turnley, Community Partnership School Director.