Communities In Schools of Houston student support specialist Alejandro Cubria is helping Houston ISD’s Scarborough High School develop the next generation of leaders by helping students beat the odds.
Among his charges at the school, Cubria leads the school’s XY-Zone program, which supports and guides Scarborough High boys, many whom are struggling with tough issues in their journey to manhood. Funded through a partnership with the City of Houston’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the CIS program provides leadership development through service projects, enrichment activities and peer support. The group provides a safe, judgement-free zone where kids can share experiences and help each other grow through conversation and games. They also organize community service events, such as an annual dinner honoring the school’s cafeteria and custodial workers.
The program has been so popular at the school, Cubria created three spinoff groups, including a XY-Zone girls’ group and an advanced XY-Zone Leaders group. The third group Cubria established is “Life After Scarborough,” which provides college and career support and a safe place for students to ask questions about anything they’re worried about after high school while making plans for their future.
Through his work with the students in these programs, Cubria has watched students make complete turnarounds. From a boy who was skipping school because he was spending all night cleaning buildings downtown to earn money for his family to the girl who was harming herself out of deep depression, XY-Zone, under Cubria’s leadership, creates a supportive family environment that helps students feel welcome, like they have a meaningful role at the school, in their community, and in their future. The result is students who think critically about issues around them and solutions to address them and are eager to contribute to their community and tackle our global society.