Students with hardships find hope with school outreach

Sovereigna Jun is a School Outreach Coordinator at Federal Way High School. - Courtesy photo
Sovereigna Jun is a School Outreach Coordinator at Federal Way High School.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

By Sovereigna Jun, School Outreach Coordinator at Federal Way High School

What were your high school years like? Do you remember them fondly, or would you rather erase them from your memory?

Whether your time was positive, negative, or somewhere in between, I think I can safely say that for many of us, being an adolescent wasn’t easy. Constantly sleep-deprived, covered in acne, and overly self-conscious about everything, I remember looking forward to leaving high school behind me.

Years later, I am back in high school and thrilled to be so. To be more specific, I am at Federal Way High School as the School Outreach Coordinator with Communities In Schools of Federal Way.

Before I started this position, I knew that my work would be meaningful. After all, my job is to collaborate with school staff and community members and organizations to connect students in need to academic, physical, and/or social services. If that isn’t meaningful, I don’t know what is.

As the academic year progresses, however, what surprises me is how profoundly my position moves me. Every day I am in awe of and humbled by the numerous students who lead lives full of hardship. Some students’ families cannot afford to purchase glasses or shoes.

Unfortunately, not only do the students I work with struggle financially, but many are deprived of connections with caring adults, something that Communities In Schools believes that every student needs and deserves. Given that even adults crave a connection with others, children and teens need it even more because they tend to be more vulnerable.

I really appreciate the community volunteers and organizations that give their time and money to Communities In Schools. We live in a world where much emphasis is placed on wealth and status, and plenty of individuals shun activities that don’t lead to financial gain or publicity.

As such, it is most inspiring to see mentors, volunteers, and generous donors give their time because they understand the value of seeing beyond themselves and their surroundings.

For example, when National Honor Society and I held food drives at Top Foods and Albertsons to gather non-perishables for Thanksgiving, the generosity of the people in Federal Way amazed us. They donated enough food to fill one van and two cars.

On any given day, I may give students binders donated by Boeing, coats donated by Zumiez, food donated by a teacher, or soap donated by a mentor. Every day, I check in with students to see how they’re doing. They trust me, and know that Communities In Schools is there to see them succeed.

I hope they will come to understand that the existence of Communities In Schools is made possible by thousands of caring individuals. And one day, I hope that they will find themselves in a position to eagerly give back to and strengthen the bonds within their own communities.


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