Find us on Pinterest!

right! CIS Wilkes has made the jump into Pinterest land and we couldn’t
be more excited!  Here is what you will find when you come on over and
follow us:

Success Stories
Come here to find stories about how Communities In Schools is making an awesome impact in your area!

about just what effect bullying has on our students? What about the
impacts of poverty? This board is a great place to find the facts — in
formats great for sharing!

Notable Quotations
Everyone can benefit from words from the wise every now and then, so venture over this way to read up!

sure which way is up today? Can’t find the energy to carry on?  Visit
this board for some uplifting words and images of encouragement.

From our archives to our present, this is the place to check for what’s going on in the world of CIS!

Again, we’re very excited to be a part of the ever booming Pinterest world — please make the journey over and follow us!

CIS Helps with the Alexander County Backpacks Program

Members of both branches of Communities In Schools of Wilkes
County joined forces last Wednesday to help pack backpacks of food for
Alexander County students. Staff members met at First Baptist Church in
Taylorsville to compile the bags of weekend necessities – which are received by
area students enrolled in the program.
Sponsored by the Taylorsville Rotarians, the Alexander
County Backpacks program began six years ago with aim to supply weekend meals for
area students.
With food costs ever rising, it should come as no surprise
that weekend meals during the school year cost $135 dollars per student.  With 300 students being served – and the
number ever growing – this outreach operates solely on donations. Their biggest
supplier? Galaxy Foods: a locally owned grocery store that offers a huge price cut
on necessary inventory.
The Backpacks program serves identified students at all seven Alexander
elementary schools, as well as both middle schools, and the Head Start
program.  Area high school students have
access to a food pantry located on campus. 

Angie Yates, a site coordinator for Alexander County, remarks of the CIS staff:

“The staff members from Wilkes were a huge help. 
It is amazing to see the collaboration between the two counties.  I
believe it shows how we feel about students regardless of their geographical location
and . . . [our] desire to help them.”

If you would like more information on the Backpacks program, please click here,
or contact Angie Yates by email, or at 828-495-4611.

National Mentoring Month

Whether we were ready for it or not, we’ve passed the two week mile marker into 2013.  We here at Communities In Schools of Wilkes County(CIS) hope these two weeks have found you well, and that you have been able to enter this year with the success and determination we work constantly to instill in our students lives.

Our work, of course, would be vastly limited if not for the reach of our wonderful mentors.  January, as National Mentoring Month, gives us a chance to reflect on and thank these wonderful people.  These wonderful people graciously donate their time, supplying area students with the CIS basic “a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult,” — someone to turn to in terms of support, encouragement, and guidance.

To begin our celebration of National Mentoring Month — we would like to first thank our Friends of Youth volunteers — those individuals who spend two to four hours during the week with their mentees, offering the valuable resources listed above. These wonderful people are as follows:

Matthew Daye
Kathy Jennings
Gary Doran
Gaye Drennen
Elizabeth Wagoner
Candie Greer
Emily Greene
Gary Newman
Brenda Clardia
James Barnes
Josephine Redmon
Todd & Debbie Garner
Teressa Byrd
Linda Zinger
Dawn Michael
Thu Nguyen
Rebecca Hayes
Robin Ellis
Monica Foster
Lyn & Debbie Lambert
Kayla Harless
Pealie Brown
Annie Denny
Chad Hayes
Katherine Byrd
Patricia Turner
Joe Samuel
Lora Davis
Ginger Mathis
Fawn Roark
Dorothy Adams
Roy Williamson
Michael Jordan
Mary Ann Ferguson
Ken & Glendora Yarbrough
Phill Caudill
Neal Settle
Joe Rhoades

All of us at CIS would again like to wish the sincerest of thanks to these selfless people. It is people like you who truly make the difference in the lives of today’s students, and we are forever grateful for the work you do and the impact you have.

Again, thank you!!

If you or someone you know may be interested in volunteering for Communities In Schools of Wilkes as a mentor, please contact Jettie Walker by email or at 651:7830.

Site Coordinator Spotlight: Student Success

The holidays are officially behind us, and with the start of a new year (and a chance to breathe after holiday crunch time!) we are given a chance to reflect on the previous year. With our 2012 movement under the Communities in Schools of Wilkes umbrella, we have been able to fully embody the CIS mission — that is — to
surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay
in school and achieve in

Through the help of our community and supporters, we often have the pleasure of extending our reach and impact into the lives of our students. This Christmas season, site coordinator Ann Privette enjoyed the privilege of not only impacting her student, but his family as well.  What follows is the story.

In his sixth grade year, a student failing to meet his potential was recommended to Team Challenger (A CIS program offered at East Alexander Middle School).  Eric* would often complain of being bored in class, refusing to do much work and opting to joke and play instead.  He made no effort towards his homework.

“I can’t do it no matter how hard I try,” Eric would remark when asked about his studies, “so what’s the point?”

Ms. Privette refused to give up on him.

Through a close eye and lots of encouragement, Eric’s grades and attendance improved. Unfortunately, his attitude and commitment still lagged behind as the sixth grade came to a close.

Eric re-enrolled in Team Challenger in the seventh grade, and the year seemed to start out similarly to his previous. He was struggling in two out of four major classes — but his attitude was different.  Instead of arguing over doing his school work, Eric sought to better his grades.  He participated and offered amazing insights in class discussion.  He even redirected others in class who were distracting him when he was trying to do his work.

This dedication paid off.  Just recently, Eric earned one of only three A’s given in his Language Arts class for a major essay.

Though his attitude about school improved, his home life was deteriorating.  His father had been unable to work since last school year, forcing the members of his immediate family to move into a relative’s home.  Other financial cuts were made, and only necessities were purchased on mom’s salary.

Though the family struggled to get by independently, but Ms. Privette thought a “Merry Christmas” would be in order for the boy who improved so much and asked for nothing in return.

Ann called Alexander Juvenile Detention Center, who had sponsored families in the past, and they jumped at the chance to help.  Not only did the employees donate money, they also shopped for toys. Erica Lowe, an employee at the detention center, headed up the special project — collecting and using the donated money to buy the family a Wii, some games, CD’s, toy cars, a football, and more. She then personally wrapped each and every item.

When the toys were delivered to the family, many hugs and thanks were given. Mom said that her family usually gives to others over the holidays, but she and her husband wondered how they would afford Christmas for their own family this year.  She couldn’t say enough about what a blessing this gift was to her family!

As for the site coordinator’s thoughts? Eric had earned it all — and more.

If you would like to make a donation to CIS or to get more information about volunteering for the mentoring program, please contact Angie Yates at (828)495-4611. Communities In Schools is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax exempt.

Christmas Time “Friendraiser”

Staff members of CIS Wilkes, alongside our Alexander County employees, enjoyed a great time getting to know the Alexander County community on Saturday, December 15th.

Hosted in the lobby of the Central Alexander High School auditorium and immediately following the school’s production of “Yes, Virginia,” CIS and attendees enjoyed punch and fresh-baked cookies alongside two very special guests.  Who might they be? Why, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, of course!

All were welcome to enjoy the refreshments, while 5×7  prints with the Big Guy in Red (and his lady!) were offered in exchange for a $5.00 donation to Communities In School.  In total, $165.00 was raised.

“Meeting and interacting with parents and students allows people to get to know CIS as an organization, as well as see that we are serious about serving in Alexander County,” remarked Glendora Yarbrough when questioned about the event, “I look forward to and welcome more opportunities within the community in the future.”

For more information about the Communities In Schools of Wilkes – Alexander Branch, visit or find us on facebook at

Cookies With Santa

Ready or not, the Christmas season is upon us.  To mark the occasion, Communities In Schools of Wilkes – Alexander County Branch is hosting it’s first ever Cookies with Santa event!


Meet up with Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the auditorium lobby of Alexander Central High School on Saturday, December 15th from 4:00 – 5:30 pm, immediately following the production of  “Yes,Virginia.”  During the celebration, enjoy cookies and punch with an opportunity to take pictures with the Man (and Lady!) in red!

Each 5×7 picture will be in exchange for a $5.00 donation to Communities In Schools — helping provide the services and resources necessary to help our area students succeed both in school and in life.

CIS of Wilkes — Alexander County Branch encourages individuals to also attend the preceding production at 3:00 pm, put on by students of Alexander Central High.  Ticket costs will be $5.00 for the play.

As always, we hope to see you there — and we wish you a very Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

“Like” us on Facebook!

CIS of Wilkes – Alexander Branch is excited to announce our new Facebook page!
Find us and follow along with our journey by clicking the icon below:

Don’t forget to click “Like” to stay updated!

2012 Thank You Luncheon

On Friday November 2nd, Communities In Schools of Wilkes County hosted an annual Thank You Luncheon for area volunteers. Held in the Stone Center, all who have offered time, service, or resources enjoyed a period of relaxation and fellowship, with a lunch catered by Dean Carlton.

 Our awesome volunteers and donors have made CIS what it is today.  Our expanding mentoring programs Lunch Buddies and Friends of Youth are in the process of merging, we’ve added two new site coordinators to our staff, and new New Century Scholars are accepted yearly.  Our DanCIS program is something our students enjoy and pride themselves for.  We’ve even had the pleasure of expanding into Alexander County this year! These advances and programs would be lost without the involvement of our community. 

While all involved are invaluable to us, the CIS staff selected these few individuals to honor specifically.

Terry Carrol was honored as our Lunch Buddy Mentor of the Year for his service both to the program and his mentee. As a graduate from NC State and Winthrop University, and as an active community member, Terry serves as an amazing role model for area students. He’s pictured at left with our Executive Director, Glendora Yarbrough.

Gary Doran was chosen as our Friends of Youth Mentor of the Year, though he was unable to meet with us during the Luncheon.  Retired from Lowe’s and his work as a graphic artist, Gary’s positive influence on his mentees is immeasurable.  During his several years as a mentor, he has also proved unshakably willing to learn and grow from the individuals he meets.

 Duncan Faw was chosen as our New Century Scholar of the year, for his immense community service and outreach. Since his enrollment in the program in the 6th grade, he has given over 300 hours worth of service.  His senior project brought him full circle, where he raised roughly $2,000 towards a scholarship like his own. He is pictured with New Century Scholar coordinator Melissa Higgins.

Our Business of the Year went to Walmart, which provided not only a generous use of space for Stuff the Bus and Build a Backpack, but also a change collection, and hot dog cart during tax free weekend!  Alena Felts, Steve Penland, and Malinda Broyhill are seen accepting the award below with site coordinator Caitlin Pitkin.

Bojangles served as our Fundraiser Supporter of the Year, helping Communities In Schools develop a more effective system of food preparation and supply management.  Through their advice and donations, we were able to develop a more effective heating system that saved both time and energy.  The award was accepted by Dare Marley.

Rock Springs Baptist Church was selected as our Faith Supporter of the year.  Through their church family, Rock Springs has contributed not only volunteers and donations, but also invaluable amounts of prayer and support.  Pastor Brian Blankenship’s wife Alice was there to accept the award, pictured below at left with Melissa Call, our Financial Officer.

Instrumental to our Dance Program for the last several years, Mandy Marxen was honored with an award for Dance Volunteer of the Year.  She has dedicated both her talents and hours of her schedule towards instructing our dancers, beyond her hours donating innumerable contributions to CIS and the DanCIS program.

The dedication of our board members this year has proved invaluable, leaving us with no choice but to choose two Board Members of the Year.  Jared Belk and Armando Limon were the recipients. Since our accreditation in 2011 and beyond, CIS has been undergoing a myriad of changes to both our fiscal and personnel policies.  These two members have displayed an infallible resolve towards improving the way Communities In Schools works as a business and as a whole.

Armando Limon

Jared Belk

 Our Stuff the Bus Heroes were our summer interns Erica Hutchinson and Zach Triplett.  Both dedicated their Tuesdays and Thursdays to our organization all summer long, but proved invaluable during the collection and distribution of our annual school supply collection.  The two worked diligently towards both inventory management and our careful dispersal of materials.

Zack’s mother Carolyn Triplett accepts his award.

This year, our Super Hero has been Milton Harris.  Milton has gone above and beyond this year, offering up his time and energy towards the collection of donations with a smile on his face through it all.  He was a vital part of our Stuff the Bus campaign this summer, always ready to help us with our pickups and deliveries.  We would be lost around here without him, and owe him our deepest thanks!

Milton with site coordinator, Amie Rose.

 Again, CIS wishes to extend its deepest thanks to everyone who helps us make us who we are.  You are the ones who help us make the difference.  We are so very proud of all the wonderful things you’ve helped us accomplish this year, and look forward to seeing what 2013 will bring!

Communities In Schools of Wilkes County Achieves National Accreditation

Communities In Schools of Wilkes County has achieved national
accreditation, the Communities In Schools national office recently

CIS-Wilkes is the local affiliate of the nation’s leading dropout
prevention program. CIS-Wilkes met all 28 Total Quality System (TQS)
agency standards, and its school sites at North Wilkes Middle School and
C.B. Eller Elementary School met all 16 comprehensive site standards.

To meet the standards, CIS-Wilkes had to demonstrate that it delivers
programs to improve student achievement through both school-wide
services and sustained, individual interventions for students at highest
risk of dropping out. A three-person accreditation team spent two days
in Wilkes last November assessing the agency’s programs.

Meeting TQS standards ensures uniform quality and improved outcomes
for students, said CIS-Wilkes executive director Glendora Yarbrough.
Schools that faithfully implement the Communities In Schools model have
better math and reading performance, higher graduation rates and lower
dropout rates, a five-year independent evaluation showed.

Assessment tools are used to assure at-risk students get the services
they need, and an annual strategic plan helps the agency make the most
of limited resources.

Accreditation is the culmination of several years of work by the
CIS-Wilkes staff and board of directors. Agency leaders say the effort
was tough, but worth it.

“Staff confidence is at an all-time high,” Mrs. Yarbrough said.
“Their leadership and management skills have been commended by a
national team.”

“By achieving national accreditation, we’ve shown the community that
we meet rigorous standards and are true to our mission to surround
students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school
and achieve in life,” Mrs. Yarbrough said.

Communities In Schools’ mentoring and support programs have helped
boost Wilkes County’s high school graduation rate from 62% ten years ago
to 80% today.

Communities In Schools of Wilkes County is among the first CIS
affiliates to achieve national accreditation. Communities In Schools has
nearly 200 local affiliates in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Communities In Schools of Wilkes County brings caring adults into the
schools to address children’s unmet needs. CIS-Wilkes also sponsors
youth activities that give students the opportunity to learn, grow and
give back to the community. CIS-Wilkes programs include Lunch Buddies,
the Friends of Youth mentoring program, the New Century Scholars college
encouragement program and the Smart Girls and Wise Guys teen pregnancy
prevention programs.

Communities In Schools of Wilkes County is a United Way of Wilkes partner agency.

Staff and Board celebrate the good news: Communities In Schools of Wilkes County is nationally accredited!

Communities In Schools Honors Volunteers

Communities In Schools of Wilkes County honored its volunteers at an
appreciation luncheon Nov. 4, 2011 at the Stone Center in North

Wilkes Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen Laws thanked the
volunteers for their service, and said they are making a big difference
in the lives of young people. Laws said the mentoring and support
provided by CIS volunteers helped boost Wilkes County’s high school
graduation rate from 62% ten years ago to 80% today.

Thanks to the volunteers, more than 1,200 Wilkes County students get
one-on-one support and encouragement from CIS programs, CIS executive
director Glendora Yarbrough said.

CIS staffers presented awards to the year’s top volunteers:

Josephine Redmon was honored as the Friends of Youth
Program Mentor of the Year. She’s pictured at left with Friends of
Youth Program Coordinator Jettie Walker.

Mrs. Redmon is a mentor to Brianna. They enjoy going to the YMCA,
eating out together and participating in monthly Friends of Youth
activities, Mrs. Walker said.

Mrs. Redmon is retired from Carolina Glove Company. She and her
husband John live in Moravian Falls and are members of Thankful Baptist
Church. They have one son, Thomas.

Mrs. Redmon has been a mentor in the Friends of Youth program for two years.

The Friends of Youth program is a one-on-one mentoring program for
Wilkes County students in grades 4 through 8. Volunteer mentors spend
two to four hours a week with a child doing everyday activities. Monthly
activities are also planned for all youth and mentors to enjoy as a

Barbara Gregory was honored as the Lunch Buddies
Program Volunteer of the Year. She’s pictured on the right with Lunch
Buddies coordinator Amie Rose.
Barbara Gregory
“Barbara is an outstanding volunteer who attends her weekly visits
faithfully and shows great compassion and concern,” Mrs. Rose said.

Mrs. Gregory is retired from Ronda-Clingman Elementary School, where
she worked for 25 years as a teacher assistant. She and her husband
James live in Ronda and are members of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.
They have two children and four grandchildren. Mrs. Gregory has been a
Lunch Buddy for five years.

The Lunch Buddies Program pairs adult volunteers with children in
grades K through 3 at eight Wilkes County elementary schools. The
volunteers eat lunch with a child once a week, helping to build
self-esteem, confidence and positive attitudes toward school. The
program currently serves 120 students. Last year, volunteers spent more
than 2,100 hours with their lunch buddies.

Patricia Parks was honored as the Smart Girls
Program Volunteer of the Year. She’s pictured on the right with Smart
Girls coordinator Jettie Walker.
Patricia Parks
Smart Girls coordinator Jettie Walker praised Mrs. Parks for her
commitment to make a difference in the lives of middle school girls.

Mrs. Parks is retired from Tyson Foods. She is currently pursuing a
degree in Christian Education from Vintage Bible College in
Winston-Salem. She is a member of Grace Kingdom Life Ministries. Mrs.
Parks has six children, 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Parks has been a CIS volunteer since 2006. She began working with
the Smart Girls program last year.

Smart Girls is a teen pregnancy prevention curriculum facilitated by
trained adult volunteers. In their weekly meetings with middle school
students, Smart Girls instructors build self-esteem and encourage girls
to make healthy choices.

Michael Wood was honored at the Wise Guys Program Volunteer of the Year.

Mr. Wood is retired. He moved to Wilkes County from east Texas two
years ago to be closer to family. Mr. Wood has been a CIS volunteer for
two years. He has served as a tutor and a Wise Guys facilitator.
Wise Guys is a male character development curriculum facilitated by
trained adult volunteers. Wise Guys instructors encourage sound decision
making and responsible sexuality in their weekly sessions with middle
school boys.

Mr. Wood was unable to attend the award ceremony.

Darrell Groves was honored as the New Century Scholars Program Volunteer of the Year.
Darrell Groves
New Century Scholars coordinator Melissa Higgins said Mr. Groves has provided financial and hands-on support to the program.

Mr. Groves has also served as a mentor to students. “Last year,
Darrell was instrumental in helping a senior find a mentor that guided
him and helped him finish his project with flying colors,” Mrs. Higgins

“Darrell believes supporting higher education is what matters most in the life of a student,” Mrs. Higgins said.

Mr. Groves is employed by Vulcan Materials. He and his wife Wanda
live in Wilkesboro and are members of Fishing Creek Arbor Baptist
Church. They have one daughter, Samantha. He has worked with the New
Century Scholars program since 2002.

The New Century Scholars program encourages educational achievement
by guaranteeing Wilkes Community College scholarships to select Wilkes
County sixth graders. The scholarships are awarded upon graduation from
high school. Partners in the efforts are: CIS, Wilkes Community College,
Wilkes Chamber of Commerce Education Improvement Committee and local
businesses. CIS tracks the students’ progress and engages the students
in regular service learning projects throughout middle school and high
school. The program enrolls 24 sixth graders each year from across
Wilkes County.

Betsy Welborn was honored as the CIS-Wilkes Board
Member of the Year. She’s pictured at right with CIS-Wilkes Executive
Director Glendora Yarbrough.
Betsy Welborn
“We love Betsy in our office,” Mrs. Yarbrough said. “She is a marvel for CIS, and a true advocate for us.”

Mrs. Welborn has strongly supported the agency’s efforts to achieve
national accreditation. CIS-Wilkes expects to complete the accreditation
process soon.

Mrs. Welborn has served as the board’s Programs Chair. She has also taught the Smart Girls curriculum to middle school girls.

Mandy Marxen was honored for her role as a volunteer for DanCIS, the dance program of Communities In Schools.

Mrs. Marxen has served as coordinator and lead instructor for the
program for the past eight years. Thanks to her, hundreds of Wilkes
County girls have been able to discover the joy of dance, Mrs. Yarbrough

DanCIS provides free dance instruction and dance wear to girls whose
families are unable to afford traditional dance training. The program
currently has more than 50 girls enrolled. Classes meet one day a week
from October to March. With two yearly performances, the students get
opportunities to show what they have learned to their family and

Mrs. Marxen was unable to attend the award ceremony.

Zachary Triplett was honored for his service as a CIS Summer Intern. He’s pictured with the CIS staff.
Zach Triplett
“Zach was a great helper to us this summer,” CIS’s Amie Rose said.
“He was very meticulous as he helped organize donations from the Stuff
the Bus campaign. He’s one of the best students who’s ever helped us.”

Zach is currently a sophomore at West Wilkes High School.

Food Lion store 2582 in Wilkesboro was honored as
CIS Business of the Year. The store organized a drive to collect snacks
for CIS after school programs.

Dave Rhodes of Applebee’s was honored for his role providing food donations for CIS’s Merlefest booth.

Randy Brooks and Petro Kulynych
were honored for providing special support to Communities In Schools.
Neither honoree was able to attend the award ceremony. Mrs. Yarbrough
notes this was the first appreciation luncheon Mr. Kulynych had to miss
over the past ten years. She thanked him for his steadfast support of

For more than 30 years, Communities In Schools of Wilkes County has
worked to surround students with a community of support, empowering them
to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS brings caring adults into
the schools to address children’s unmet needs. CIS also sponsors youth
activities that give students the opportunity to learn, grow and give
back to the community.

Volunteers are currently needed for several CIS programs. To volunteer, please call CIS at 651-7830.

Communities In Schools of Wilkes County is a United Way of Wilkes partner agency.