Benita is a refugee from Africa who moved to the US when she was just eight years old. She lives with her mother, who is unable to speak or care for herself due to a stroke, and an aunt was is also disabled and speaks no English. When she first met her CIS Project Manager, Ms. Olivarez, Benita seemed very depressed and quiet. She wore the same things everyday. Ms. Olivarez was able to get her new shoes, donated from Payless, and found a teacher to sponsor her for Christmas.
As Benita began to participate in groups, she slowly came out of her shell. Her personal hygiene also improved now that she was provided the necessary clothing and toiletries. Her clean clothes soon became a source of pride for Benita. Her teachers reported she was increasingly talkative and confident. She even began reporting instances of bullying on her afterschool bus.
Benita recently participated in college week, science day, reading week and even attended a Mavs game with her fellow students. CIS has continued to support her by providing emergency food and other necessary supplies. Over the year, Benita has progressed from a student with no self confidence to a student who laughs, talks (a lot) and is very successful at Dunbar Middle School.