As students prepare to move in to their residential houses this year, we reflect on the relationships built between seniors and their residential counsellors. Daneetra J. has lived in Ms. Rainey’s residential house near H Street for three years, and is about to enter her final year at Maya.
Ms. Rainey has been a residential counselor since the program first started and has previous experience working in residences for other schools and organizations. Daneetra first came to Ms. Rainey because she had behavioral problems at school, her grades were suffering, and she was facing other issues at home. She knew the program would be beneficial to herself, so she joined and has grown tremendously since.
Daneetra is excited to move in to the residential house for her last year because she loves Ms. Rainey’s food and appreciates how she makes the house feel like home. She provides nice sheets and towels, buys flowers for the house, has family-style dinners, and gives the girls anything else they may need. Daneetra shared that she has eczema and cannot always afford the cream, so Ms. Rainey will buy it for her. One thing Ms. Rainey is persistent on is always making herself available to the students and telling them to “have a good day” as they walk out the door in the morning.
Ms. Rainey knows all youth need “attention, love, and support” and that is exactly what she gives to Daneetra. Ms. Rainey recalls that Daneetra barely spoke to her the first year because she was shy and did not like the program, but one day she approached Ms. Rainey and admitted the program was not as bad as she once thought, and that she liked it.
Daneetra claims Ms. Rainey has helped her through a lot, and is like a second mother to her; “She’s a person that I could talk to if something was going wrong. Anything.” She has helped Daneetra come out of her shell, improve her grades and attendance, and ease any tension or misunderstandings between her and her mom.
Since attending the residential program, school staff have approached Ms. Rainey to tell her they “can’t believe where Daneetra is now!” Her grades and attendance have improved, she is more involved in the school, and her confidence has boosted.