CIS was contacted to help Hugh who’d gotten drenched in the rain on the way to school. A dry change of clothes from the “clothes closet,” was an easy fix. Later that week, another Request for help was needed when Hugh split his pants. CIS followed up with his teacher’s aide. CIS learned that Hugh was routinely wearing clothes that were too small and worn out. His backpack was falling apart. His English teacher shared that Hugh was struggling academically and socially.
CIS enlisted the help of a bilingual teacher to communicate with Hugh. She explained that CIS was here to help. Hugh could only look down at the floor. As she spoke another dialect of his native language, he was having a hard time understanding her. CIS showed him a box of new backpacks, let him choose one and any school supplies he needed. Again, head down, he quietly moved his things to the new backpack. CIS gave Hugh a CIS permission slip and an Operation School Bell form, explaining as best as possible that this would allow his parents to take him shopping for new school clothes. Hugh had hardly spoken.
While the permission slip came back signed, the Operation School Bell shopping day passed without Hugh obtaining the clothing. CIS learned, with the help of a teacher and Hugh’s cousin, that Hugh’s parents work from 9 am to 11 pm everyday but Monday. His parents would not be able to get him to the shopping day events. Hugh was alone most of the time, seeing his parents only on their day off. The teacher’s aide shared that Hugh seemed to be especially frustrated, even angry at the home situation.
CIS partnered with his English teacher to make a home visit. There, CIS learned that he family had recently moved into the apartment, and had only two wooden dining chairs, one metal bed frame with a piece of cardboard atop, and bed linens. As the English teacher could communicate with Hugh’s father, some history and information about Hugh and his family were shared. Explaining that CIS could help with food, with furniture, with other household needs, and with referrals for other services, the family said they would welcome the help. CIS provided a box of groceries, obtaining permission to provide Backpack Buddy food.
CIS talked with a CIS mentor and shared the needs, enlisting support for nice used furniture, school clothes and household items. CIS’ mentor went to work finding needed donations. Within a few days, CIS coordinated a home visit with the mentor to deliver the new school clothes and shoes, a new television and clock radio bought by the mentor and a bicycle. A follow up visit provided beds, a couch, a table and chairs and kitchen needs. CIS was able to share a gift card from the CCISD Cares program. Hugh and his parents were touched and grateful for the help. Hugh’s parents came to the campus where CIS assisted in completing an online application for the family to get discounted internet service at home.
Hugh’s teachers were concerned that he might have some educational challenge that had not been captured in a prior assessment, very possibly due to the language barrier. CIS staff went on a quest to find a volunteer who was proficient in English and in Hugh’s native language. Reaching out to a local church, CIS was referred by church office staff to their Bible Study group leader, believing she might know that dialect. As speakers of Hugh’s language are rare here, CIS and school staff were so very glad to have found someone able to communicate with Hugh.
CIS staff coordinated meetings with Ms. Yi, the CIS mentor, Hugh and his parents.
Ms. Yi shared that she had had a similar “newcomer” experience to Hugh’s, and that she would work to see how she might help. She welcomed Hugh to her church’s youth group on Fridays and services on Sundays. Hugh’s parents agreed that he could attend, and that church members or the mentor could help get him there. Talking with Hugh’s family, Ms. Yi learned that an educational disability was mentioned when Hugh was in his home country, but that he is also painfully shy. Sharing that information with the school, Ms. Yi is helping as she can in getting additional information. Ms. Yi set up the router so that the family could begin using the internet at home. CIS is coordinating efforts to assist parents in applying for CHIP health care.
CIS staff received an offer to pay a peer tutor to assist Hugh during after school tutorials. Hugh is hoping that will help him do well in school. CIS staff is working to recruit a peer tutor.
In process now, CIS has found a pediatrician who speaks Hugh’s native language and accepts the CHIP program health coverage. CIS mentor coordinated a dental cleaning and exam for Hugh, pro bono. CIS is working to also find someone bilingual who can provide the additional assessment helpful in determining how best to help Hugh succeed.