Between celebrating COTS’ 40th anniversary, holidays, and fun in the sun with family and friends, this summer has been very busy. As the days get shorter and we approach the Back-to-School season, I am reminded of a story by the celebrated actress, humanitarian, and author, Cecily Tyson.
In her stunning 2021 work, Just as I Am: A Memoir, she writes of Darryl, a young honor roll student, whom she described as “sharp as a jackknife”. Darryl was accepted by every college he applied to, but was unable to afford the potential educational opportunities.
Ms. Tyson stepped in to work her magic and was able to assist this young man with so much promise to obtain a scholarship. Four years later, Darryl graduated with honors from Morehouse.While that’s impressive, it’s not the best part of the story.
Darryl’s hard work and perseverance deeply inspired the people closest to him. Ms. Tyson writes, “Darryl’s younger siblings were so inspired by his achievement, that they made plans to attend college. Even his mother went back to school and earned her diploma. That’s the power of education. It expands one’s field of vision, and in so doing, it lifts entire families and communities. When you witness better, you often want better.”
We’ve witnessed similar results with Rachel, a familiar face around our offices. A former resident, Rachel turned her life around completely and is now an important member of our COTS team. Like Darryl, Rachel’s children are high-achieving students passionately pursuing their education for a better future. And, just like Darryl’s mom, Rachel has been inspired by her children to continue her own educational journey – recently graduating with her GED and now pursuing her associate’s degree.
Rachel credits COTS with allowing her the ability to appreciate the privilege of obtaining an education. She passionately shares her experiences and lessons learned with other families within COTS as they embark on their educational pursuits to set an example that will impact generations to come.
As we embark on a new school year, we need your help to ensure continued success. At COTS, our families’ education goals are of utmost importance. Back-to-school season is an exciting time, but it can also be very stressful for those who are trying to learn while experiencing instability and homelessness.
As inflation, fuel prices, and the housing crisis intensify, the need for the services COTS provides is increasing rapidly. We want to make sure that all students have a reason to be excited about getting back to class and that they have everything they need to make this year the best year ever.
Please join our movement by donating to COTS today. With your support, we can continue to offer programs that change lives for the better every day. Your donations and volunteer hours make a MASSIVE impact on the people in your community who urgently need your help finding hope in these unstable, difficult times.
If you know a family who may need assistance, please contact us for information on how we can help. Together, we can work to create a better tomorrow for our most vulnerable and provide them with the tools and resources to succeed.
From all of us at COTS, thank you for inspiring children to have a safe and happy start to the school year. Your support is invaluable and greatly appreciated. We truly could not do this without you.
Let’s witness better, and lift each other up to CREATE OPPORTUNITIES TO SUCCEED!
With an ocean of gratitude,
Cheryl P. Johnson
COTS Chief Executive Officer