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Communities in Schools Alumni Spotlight: Jessiah Woods

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

If Jessiah Woods could tell his high school self anything, he would say, “You surpassed and achieved more than many believed you could. Keep on proving them wrong.” This is exactly what the Communities in Schools of Eastern PA team strives to achieve with our students. Many students, unfortunately, face barriers limiting their education and success outside of school; we seek to help them realize their potential and overcome those obstacles.

Jessiah was introduced to CIS during his sophomore year while struggling with school attendance. Attendance records are very easily affected by external barriers, such as poverty, racial inequality, and homelessness. Our site coordinators throughout multiple districts have created campaigns to encourage students to attend school to overcome the detrimental results of low attendance. With CIS’s guidance, Jessiah greatly improved his attendance and earned himself his high school diploma from Dieruff High School.

Jessiah decided to attend college after graduation and is still a student today. In his free time, he plays football for his college and works as a certified personal trainer. He says that, through his journey, he has learned “patience and discipline play some of the biggest roles in what you can achieve in life.”

He recalls thoroughly enjoying the holiday get-togethers hosted by CIS at his high school. He cherished the time he got to spend with the CIS staff and other students at these events. He said it was hard to pick a favorite memory since, every time he went to the office, he had great experiences with the staff. Our site coordinators work hard to create pleasant experiences throughout the school day for students. If they have been alienated from their school due to external obstacles, getting through the school day can be a struggle. Small, positive interactions make a big difference.

Success stories like Jessiah’s prove the integrity of CIS’s mission. Each day, our executive team, program managers, and site coordinators are dedicated to building trusting, supportive relationships with students and creating life-changing results. The students we work with have immense potential that institutional barriers can make hard to realize.

We look forward to continuing to work with students like Jessiah and assisting in deciding what success means to them. If this story resonates with you, please join our mission today.



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