By Holly Wise
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - In a portable building on the campus of Copperas Cove Junior High School, one woman is giving her students simple things - such as food, tutoring, a safe place and a listening ear.
"They are fun kids," Communities in Schools Site Director Stacy Bradley said. "They just need someone to talk to."
For the former juvenile probation officer, Bradley's job is to make sure kids have the ability to come to school.
"Basically, my job is to make sure that kid comes to school," she said. "If that kid doesn't eat breakfast, their concern isn't two plus two; it's what they're going to eat."
Bradley makes sure students in need of her help get what they need to make them successful.
"We try and keep it to where the kids get the services they need," she said. "We try and help the families as much as anything."
Communities in Schools is on the front line of servicing the district's families in need.
Through the CIS Angel Fund, families are provided emergency rent assistance, utilities, medications and prescriptions, appropriate school clothing and supplies, winter coats and blankets, summer school and graduation, athletic insurance and physicals and family vehicle emergencies.
"I try to be a connection for them to find something in the community if they need it," Bradley said. "I can help you in any way possible."
Bradley has a $300 budget to work with for various supplies and relies on the community within her school to help.
"It's a great school to be at because they really do care," she said, pointing out a shelf of school supplies provided by teachers. "It's amazing; these people just pour their hearts and money out."
Bradley praised the school's administration for its "100 percent support of what we do." Bradley's overflowing clothes closet boasts of the generosity of everyone involved in making the program successful.
The portable building is also a safe place for kids to gather after school.
"We just get together, and they encourage each other," Bradley said.
She said her background as a juvenile probation officer in Bell and Harris counties has given her the perspective she needs in what she now considers the "coolest job" she's ever had.
"Working juvenile probation gives you a perspective on the kids about to be bad," she said. It also gives her the ability to give those kids insight into the complicated juvenile probation system.
"Communities in Schools tries to deal with these students before they get to juvenile probation," she said. "It's a big deal."
The long-term goal for the students in Communities in Schools is to make sure graduation day comes for them.
"My job is to make sure that kid wants to come to school," she said. "It's finding out what makes them tick and then winding them up."
Her influence in the school is evident as she walks the hallways, directing one student to her office for graham crackers and assuring a teacher she had plenty of index cards for a student to use.
"I can't fix the world," she said. "But I can point you in the right direction."
Contact Holly Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254)501-7474.