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Communities In Schools Making A Difference With At-Risk Teens

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

RickDayton Rick Dayton
Rick Dayton joined KDKA in September 2009 as a morning news anchor. ...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There are thousands of young people who are at risk of dropping out of school every year.

Many organizations are dedicated to battling the problem.

One group is working with the schools in Allegheny County to help make sure no one slips through the cracks.

“I would probably be out here on the news and not in a good way. Seriously, I was making a lot of bad choices and I didn’t see [any] future for myself. I don’t know. Communities in Schools just got me back on track,” Tyrone Sherman said.

Sherman, 21, is one of roughly 2,000 students helped each year by the non-profit Communities in Schools. It’s not a school, but they work with 11 school districts in Allegheny County to help at-risk kids.

“We place a person in the school to work with the teachers, to work with the principals, to really do a needs assessment for that individual school and for that individual community,” Jesse Sprajcar said.

With mentoring programs that start in middle school and support later on, the goal is to keep kids in school to make sure they get their diplomas.

“The schools certainly know of us, but if a student drops out of school, what’s the likelihood they are going to go back to the school to seek what they can do?” Sprajcar said.

That’s why they have the Communities in Schools Academy for kids to finish the work they need to get their diploma.

“If this is what you want, we can help you get there, but you are going to have to work. I did it. I worked,” Sherman said.

Sherman has his diploma now from an organization that says its goal is to give the schools the extra support they need.

“There are tons of resources. Everybody is doing something. There are tons of non-profits everywhere that are helping, but there really is no one to coordinate all of them together. Our focus is in the schools,” Sprajcar said.

The focus is on kids like Sherman.

“They helped me realize the stuff I wanted wasn’t too far away that I could get it,” Sheman said.

For more information about Communities in Schools, visit their website here: http://cispac.org/

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