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Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Our site coordinator at Goodlettsville Middle School, Kelley, describes part of her role as helping families turn lemons into lemonade. “CIS has the best lemonade recipe ever,” she says. “A lot of love, some creativity, a hefty dash of patience, and a nice serving of compassion makes the best batch of Lemonade one could ever imagine.” Kelley learned one of her families lost everything in a fire, and so she set out to help them develop their own unique lemonade recipe.

Kelley had already established a relationship with Ms. Ray by working with her son to ensure he was compliant with the school’s dress code after he showed up to school in violation of it several times. Kelley was able to get him clothes that allowed him to stay at school, and got to know the family better through that process.

After the fire, the family moved into a hotel but an old debt made paying for it a challenge. Kelley said, “after some thought, the parent and I remembered that sometimes Lemonade can come in different flavors, and sometimes our experiences can take on a different recipe too. So we changed the recipe and decided that the parent would pay off her debt weekly, Communities in Schools would pay her hotel fee, and we would do this until her debt was paid in full.”

Ms. Ray is now back on her feet, and the stability that Kelley and CIS-TN were able to help provide for the family during an incredibly difficult time meant that not only was her son able to stay in school, his attendance has actually improved. Kelley is now helping Ms. Ray look for an apartment.

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