Wolfforth teenager meets challenges, graduates high school

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Updated: 5/10/2013 10:01 pm
Two years ago, 17-year-old Randi Rogers of Wolfworth wasn't very sure about her future.

She had dropped out of school, after trouble at home became too much to handle.

"I was kind of moving from school to school," Rogers said, "and finally just gave up on all of it."

Rogers' life changed when she got back in school at the Reese Education Center and met her counselor and friend, Vanessa Lee.

"I'm kind of one of those stand-offish people at first," Rogers said, "I didn't really know what to think about all these people trying to care for me like that."

After a few weeks, however, Rogers said she realized that Lee and the other Communities In School staff members had her best interest at heart.

"You can eat lunch in there with her, play games, have fun with her, talk to her about personal needs," Rogers said, "or getting ready for college or financial things or if you need clothes or if you need food... just anything."

Vanessa Lee, the campus coordinator for Communities In Schools at the Reese Education Center, said the program's purpose is to provide a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on for the students.

"Having someone there that can support them and say 'You can do it. Doesn't matter what you've been through, you can still reach your goals,' and just being there for them to talk to," Lee said, "someone to laugh with and someone to say, 'This is what you want to do, let me show you how to get there.'"

For Rogers, her dream of being a teacher was solidified through the kindness of the CIS staff.

"Just all the teachers out there," Rogers said, "they really helped me, and that really did ensure me that I want to be that life changing experience that they gave to me to someone else."

Rogers also volunteers her time by giving back to the program that helped her graduate high school at the age of 17.

"I just let them know anytime you need me, call me and I'll be there," Rogers said, "because I think it's really important to give back because they've given so much to me."

Lee said the guidance that CIS provides, with the help of the United Way, has helped many students - like Rogers - turn near failures into success stories.

"Students tell me, 'I don't know what I would do without the program here. If you weren't here, or the program wasn't here, I don't think I'd come to school...I don't think I would finish school,'" Lee said, "because whatever it is that student needs, we take care of that so that they can stay in school and focus on school."

You can donate during to the United Way's Week of Caring Campaign by visiting the United Way's website.

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