When Laila was in elementary school, she and her two younger sisters moved in with their aunt, uncle and four cousins after both of Laila’s parents were incarcerated for drug use and trafficking. The anxiety of a new living situation coupled with losing both parents hurt and confused Laila and her sisters, creating emotional stress which began to reflect in her attitude and school work.
Recognizing Laila’s distress, her elementary school introduced her family to Full Service Schools, a long-standing neighborhood-based collaborative that helps students overcome barriers to success in school through free health and human services, including mental and behavioral therapy.
Through Full Service Schools, Laila received the counseling she needed to cope with the stress and anxiety stemming from her parents’ incarceration. By coping with her mental and emotional struggles, Laila’s success in school improved. She made A’s and B’s, even raising her grade in her toughest subject, math. She also participated in her school’s safety patrol program.
Now twelve years old and in the sixth grade, Laila transitioned to Jefferson Davis Middle School and entered United Way’s Achievers For Life program, which paired her with a mentor who encourages her academically, listens to her problems and inspires her to achieve her dreams of being a model or joining the military. The devoted mentors involved with Achievers For Life foster meaningful relationships with students who struggle academically and emotionally by offering support and accountability, keeping them on track to graduate.
Since entering the program, Laila has maintained A/B honor roll and has participated in Team Up, after-school Bible study and the step team.