Leighton.jpgLeighton and Grandma Neil
Support that works for students and parents

When Leighton and Joseph’s mother left, their grandmother obtained custody. Ms. Neil was already parenting their three other siblings. Now she was “mom” to all five.

As a grandparent raising second generation children, she was feeling stressed. And when Leighton began to exhibit behavioral problems, every day Ms. Neil expected to get a call from school that Leighton had gotten into a fight.

She knew she needed help, but didn’t know where to turn to get that support. When Leighton was accepted to CACPCS a few months into the school year, Ms. Neil didn’t hesitate to move him. She knew that a Children’s Aid school was the right choice for their family. “I could tell it was a good environment for him…and for me!”

Our Life Coaches conducted family therapy sessions at their home, assigned Leighton a support-professional in the classroom, and Leighton’s improvement continued. “When you use other mental-health services, there is a waiting list,” Ms. Neil notes. “At CACPCS, I tell the Life Coaches the issue, and they come over that day! Ms. Neil was also able to join a parent-support group, and she began to process her experience as a grandparent raising five children. She learned new ways to deal with Leighton’s behavior. “That group helped me realize I’m not the only one dealing with this.”

Now in 5th grade, Leighton no longer needs in-classroom assigned support, and this summer he attended Children’s Aid’s Wagon Road Camp along with 39 of his schoolmates, where he experienced more independence. He’s even joined our basketball team. These days, Leighton is thriving, and catching up on his times-tables! He says, “I want to learn them all so that I can do math really quickly.”

With the right supports in place, scholars at CACPCS demonstrate their resilience, their talent, and their enormous potential. They are excelling, not only by showing proficiency on state exams, but by outperforming peers across the city and state. To ensure that our scholars continue to succeed though, we need your help. Together we can make sure students in this South Bronx community, like Leighton, have the chance to beat the odds, thrive, and work toward college and career. Please consider a gift in support of this important work and our students’ success.

Thank you.