Amari is a first generation college student who credits CHS and the Community Partnership School model at Jones High School for bringing her many opportunities for future success. Jackson, a straight-A student transferred to Jones her sophomore year and says attending Jones High School was not her first choice.
“I didn’t want to go to Jones because of the stereotype I heard in the past,” said Amari. “But once I got there and I met the people, I learned about the Community Partnership School and the opportunities that were available to me, I realized it wasn’t that bad. It was a tough start, but I pulled through.”
Navigating the stressful transition of a new school, a rigorous schedule, while balancing responsibilities at home left Amari feeling overwhelmed with uncertainty and worry for her future. She began suffering from extreme anxiety which starting causing physical symptoms – fast breathing, racing heart rate and chest pain – making it impossible to focus in class. Facing stress and frustration, Amari turned to the Community Partnership School for help.
“I was having anxiety over school, family stress, what I was going to do when I graduate, I was working really hard to keep straight A’s throughout the school year – and applying to college,” said Amari.
With the Community Partnership Schools™ model at Jones High School, Amari has access to free health and wellness services conveniently located right on campus. Through these resources, Amari learned coping strategies to manage her anxiety — from deep breathing exercises to how to create a stable routine to better manage her busy schedule.
Amari used the coping skills she learned to remain focused on her grades and to become involved in school through the Student Leadership Council (SLC), a group dedicated to inspiring leadership in fellow students and community, and the Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) Virtual Advocacy Academy.
“I was a part of the SLC and I knew I had a lot to live up to, but I knew someone always had my back and knowing that is a confidence boost,” said Amari. “CHS showed me there are a lot of people just like me, who want the same things I do – it was amazing to be a part of the Advocacy program through CHS.”
Through the Community Partnership School, Amari was connected to the tools and resources she needed to successfully graduate and pursue college.
“I learned so much from the Community Partnership School,” said Amari. “I learned it is OK to ask for help. It is OK to be vulnerable to other people. If you aren’t being vulnerable, they can’t effectively help you!”
CHS continues to support Amari’s educational goals through the Virginia Morey Rell Memorial Scholarship, which has helped alleviate her financial concerns as she transitions to college. “With this scholarship, I don’t have to worry – I just have to focus and be disciplined,” said Amari.
Amari is planning on studying Business Management with dreams of opening her own dance and photography school in the future, where she hopes to one day mentor aspiring dancers like herself. “I want to create a world where voices are heard, where anyone can feel comfortable sharing their feelings and what they want to see happen in the future,” said Amari. “I want to be a part of a community where everyone has access to the resources they need to succeed in life.
For more information on the Community Partnership Schools model at Jones High School, contact Tanika Bango-Cooper, Community Partnership School Director.