At Elyssa’s Mission, we frequently receive inquiries and/or questions from school personnel, graduate students, agency mental health staff, etc. who “stumble upon” our website and subsequently take the time to reach out. We respond to all, and if we can’t directly be of service, we do our best to connect these individuals to those whom can help.

Recently a request came to us all the way from Texas, from an agency that strives to link area schools with needed supports and services: Communities In Schools of South Central Texas ( CIS South Central Texas is one of nearly 200 local affiliates (Chicago is another affiliate) of the national organization Communities in Schools (CIS). The nation’s leading organization dedicated to empowering students to stay in school and achieve in life, CIS serves nearly 1.26 million young people and their families every year. CIS works in partnership not only with schools, but also with more than 200 businesses, organizations and groups to provide a myriad of needed services to at-risk students. In Comal and Guadalupe Counties in Texas, CIS serves 29 schools in four school districts.

Sasha Roskos, LMSW, Adolescent Health Coordinator, originally reached out to Elyssa’s Mission in January, looking for information about the SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program. Since we are not able to directly support schools outside of Illinois, we connected her to the organization that developed and distributes this program nationally—Screening for Mental Health—and also provided her with SOS outcome data gleaned from our partnering schools. Sasha graciously thanked me, and, while I hoped that I had helped her, I didn’t think much more about it . . .until now. This is because I just learned, more than four months after my original correspondence with Sasha, the exciting news that CIS South Central Texas intends to bring SOS to four of its middle and high schools next school year! During the course of our communications, Sasha posed some additional questions including a request for the follow-up survey that we ask all of our partnering schools to complete—which we gladly forwarded to her.

Sasha, once again, graciously acknowledged the help that she received from Elyssa’s Mission: “Thanks so much for your help and I am really impressed with all of the work that your organization is doing.” We are thrilled to be able to support not only local Chicagoland schools and agencies, but also serve as a valuable resource to groups and individuals outside of Illinois—in this case, as far away as Texas!


By Jodie Segal, Elyssa’s Mission