Communities In Schools of Scotland County has been in two locations for just over a year, and counts Carver Middle School eighth-grader Jasmine Lane among its initial success stories.
CIS, a nonprofit dropout prevention program active in 27 states and 37 North Carolina Counties, also has a program in place at North Laurinburg Elementary School.
“CIS lets me know that all people aren’t cold-hearted and that some are there to help you,” Jasmine said.
This positive outlook is new for Jasmine, who found her first year of middle school to be a challenge. Lately Jasmine has become involved in sports and has become a leader, setting an example for other struggling students.
One reason for Jasmine’s success is the time she spends with her mentor, Louann Albright, one of her seventh grade teachers.
“I can tell her stuff. She is like a mother to me, a shoulder that I need,” Jasmine said. “Mrs. Albright sees the best in me when nobody else does.”
Albright, a teacher for 18 years, describes her year-long mentoring relationship with Jasmine as “a positive, eye-opening experience” that has given her a different perspective about all of her students.
“I see more clearly that everybody doesn’t have the same experience growing up,” said Albright. “We all have different backgrounds and that’s only one thing I have learned from this relationship. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I think it really does. I believe every adult should add something positive to a child’s life.”
Albright’s eight-year-old daughter treats Jasmine like a sister and Jasmine returns the sentiment, always including the younger girl in outings. Besides spending time together at school, Jasmine visits Albright’s home or they go out to eat, sometimes going to get manicures. They also stay in touch through email and text messages.
James McLean, CIS Site Coordinator at Carver, oversees individual students’ progress, ensuring that Jasmine and her fellow CIS students have the resources they need for continued improvement.
“I am going to see to it that Jasmine Lane is the first child in her family to graduate from high school and accomplish great things,” said McLean. “The sky’s the limit for this young lady. I am so grateful to Mrs. Albright for being a wonderful mentor to Jasmine.”
“He helps me see that I can succeed,” Jasmine added. “He is fun and likes to joke around, but I know he cares and when he gets serious, he means business.”
Mentors do not necessarily need to be educators; CIS also seeks mentors from among the community. Anyone interested in volunteering to mentor a CIS student should contact Maria Bingham, executive director of CIS of Scotland County, at 277-4459 ext. 365.