Where Are They Now? Talitha Halley
Many of you have seen on the news, this year marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina devastating the Gulf Coast. We all know that our local community became the new home for many who were displaced by Katrina. I still vividly remember the stories of our tireless case managers who ensured that every displaced child, who was at a CIS school site, received the social service support and counseling they needed. Not only to deal with the trauma of the event but to ensure that those students stayed in school and achieved in life.
Many of our CIS students who were effected by Katrina thrived in our CIS program. One special CIS alumnus who came to CIS because of Katrina was Talitha Halley. Many of you may know Talitha. Talitha went to Sharpstown High School where she met and worked with her CIS Project Manager, Donna Wotkyns (our current Director of Development), and CIS Case Manager, Eric Johnson.
At Sharpstown High School Talitha was involved in many of the CIS programs on campus, and took full advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves. During high school Talitha learned about the competitive Congressional Page Program in Washington D.C. With much determination, and CIS assistance, Talitha was accepted into the program. While in Washington Talitha visited Howard University and upon high school graduation Talitha enrolled at Howard. Talitha was able to attend with the generous support of the many friends of CIS of Houston. Coinciding with the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Talitha graduated from Howard with a degree in Political Science, and is currently working in the media industry with the ultimate goal of going to law school.
Talitha is an exceptional young woman who has personified for many that even through a disaster like Katrina, a disaster that can destroy cities, people can persevere through the adversity. With the willingness to work hard and accept help from others, Talitha has been a shining example of what CIS of Houston is all about. By building relationships students are able to accomplish anything!
Due to Talitha’s graduation and the media coverage of the 10th anniversary of Katrina, Talitha has been profiled numerous times over the last couple of months. Below I have listed links to news stories, articles, and other media profiling Talitha and her journey from Katrina to proud Howard University graduate!
- The Washington Post. May 3, 2015
- MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts. May 5, 2015
- Communities In Schools Blog:
- Where Are They Now. May 5, 2015
- From Hurricane Katrina to Howard University. May 5, 2015
- The Root. May 30, 2015
- The Hechinger Report. July 5, 2015
- The New Orleans Advocate. July 6, 2015
- TEDX Talk with Dan Cardinali. July 14, 2015
- ESSENCE Magazine. August 26, 2015
- Al Jazeera America at 7:30pm August 28, 2015
- TIME Magazine. August 2015
We at CIS of Houston are so proud of Talitha and all of our students who overcome so much to succeed in school and achieve in life. Our alumni are shining examples of what a great organization CIS of Houston is because of the change and opportunity it generates for our at-risk children and youth. We are so excited for another school year where we can all work together to help more kids, like Talitha, realize their potential.
Cynthia Clay Briggs