West Alexander Middle School Staff Receives Training

Earlier this month, faculty and staff of West Alexander Middle School were treated to a special bullying prevention training session provided by Communities In Schools – Alexander County Branch.  Held Wednesday, March 6th, those in attendance welcomed William “Billy” Lassiter of the Department of Public Safety, Division of Juvenile Justice — who provided this professional development training.

Bullying is a severe problem in the United States.  Daily, 160,000 students miss school for fear of bullying.  Sadly, with cyber bullying ever on the rise, this decision can offer little escape to those affected – so knowledge, prevention, and action within the school setting is key.

Angie Yates, CIS Site Coordinator for WAMS; Billy Lassiter, Trainer; Dr. Chad Maynor, WAMS Principal

The training consisted of defining bullying, exploring the causes of bullying, and looking for new ways to deal with bullying — all of which go along with the core Communities In Schools basic: a safe place to learn and grow.  It is our mission to provide our students with the best opportunities and environments for success — and we thank Mr. Lassiter for his time and efforts helping us make this vision a reality.  For more information about CIS – Alexander Co. Branch, please contact Angie Yates at 828-409-0231.

New Century Scholars Activism

As our Headed to College race draws ever nearer, you may find yourself wondering about the program it benefits: The New Century Scholars. 

We know that these last-dollar guarantee scholarship recipients are required to offer ten hours of community service per year — a chance to give back in their own neighborhoods and school systems.  But what exact sorts of volunteerism do they participate in?

On Saturday, January 12th, participating students volunteered at the Wilkes County Special Olympics Basketball Tournament. This event was held from 8:00-4:00 at the North Wilkes High School and North Wilkes Middle School gyms.

During the event, New Century Scholars helped keep score of the games — but spent time cheering on participants as well!  They also worked to help distribute lunch, then participated in clean up following.

We here at Communities In Schools of Wilkes County find no shortage of things we enjoy about the activism of our Scholars. Be it the chance to interact and engage with those from all walks of life, the chance to grow and explore, or the chance to learn the value of hard work — we value it all!  However, we enjoyed a little something extra with this event.

What was it, you may ask? The smiles on the faces of the tournament participants, of course!

Headed to College Race 2013

Are you ready for the ultimate challenge? Come join us this May for the 10th annual Headed to College Race for Communities In Schools!

Featuring a 5k, 8k, 1 Mile Fun Run, and Uphill Battle, we offer a little something for everyone! Whether you’re just getting started in the realm of fitness or you’re a certified enthusiast — join us May 17th and 18th for fun, fellowship, and a good run!

Information is available at our race website. Contents and easy navigation are listed below:

Why

Click here to find out more about our New Century Scholar program, the beneficiary of funds generated in the race.

Race/Registration Info

Navigate to this page in order to find out times, starting locations, and registration information for each event.

Register Online

Sign up online and save paper — and money on the registration fee!  All the more motivation to go green, right?

Business Sponsorships

Find a current list of race sponsors — alongside level pricing  and contact information for those interested!

Amenities

From water stations to a circuit course, Communities In Schools hopes to offer it all in this unique and philanthropic endeavor!

10 Year Celebration

We’re celebrating a big birthday this year (double digits!) and decided it was time to celebrate!  Browse this page for information on what’s new, and don’t forget to join the party!

Donate

Can’t come to the race but still want to donate to the cause? Head on over this way and make a donation online!

Click here to view our brochure, and remember to share! 🙂

Find us on Pinterest!

That’s
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!

Infographics
Curious
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!

Inspiration
Not
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.

Events
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.

New Year — New Century Scholars

The start of a new year is a familiar marker of hope and new beginnings for individuals worldwide.  It’s impossible to go anywhere without talk of goals and New Year’s Resolutions – from losing weight and getting fit, to learning Spanish or continuing an education.

Along those lines, applicable students within the New Century Scholar program of Communities In Schools of Wilkes County kicked the year off right with their enrollment in the spring semester of Wilkes Community College.  Guided by program coordinator Melissa Higgins, alongside Sheneele Wagoner from WCC, the group was led through an orientation of the campus.  Therein, they were given the opportunity to familiarize themselves not only with their schedules, but also with where their classes would be held.

Higgins and Wagoner also helped the group get their student IDs, as well as their books and parking passes for the semester.

Apart from this campus tour, students were introduced individuals of SAGE (Supporting Academic Goals for Education). SAGE offers free tutoring, diverse cultural trips, and peer mentors for first year students or networking contacts for graduates. All services are free of charge, and are funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

 

Scholars were also encouraged to continue the habit of giving back that they have developed through the New Century Scholar program.  How so?  By becoming a tutor for the wonderful people at SAGE.

If you are interested in getting to know more about the New Century Scholars, please visit our programs page or contact Melissa Higgins at 336.651.7830 or by email at higginsm@wilkes.k12.nc.us

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
life.

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.

Writing for Gifts: Site Coordinator Spotlight

Meet Sam*: a sixth grader at one of our area middle schools and a student new to the Communities In School (CIS) program this year. Sam has been excited about his involvement with the program since his enrollment at the beginning of the semester, always eager to attend the weekly small group sessions offered at his school.  He has made great strides towards his behavioral and academic goals – motivated by a CIS implemented Reward Store, wherein students earn points towards a variety of small prizes based on positive actions.

Not unlike other youth his age, Sam generally cashed in his Reward Points as he earned them.  Then, late November and early December, things changed.

Students involved in the Reward Store have the option of earning 30 points upon the completion of an essay of their choice.  Topics include respect and how they show it, their career and college goals, and more.

When Sam became aware of this, his immediate thoughts went to a Fox® hat, one of the top rewards available in the store.  He worked diligently in his small group focused on essay writing, his finished product an essay on why and how he respected his adopted mother.

“I know mom was trying when she took us in,” he wrote. “I try my best to do everything I can to show her I love her.”

The first essay and a hat in hand (or on head, as the case may be) was all it took. With a little hard work and effort, Sam knew what he was going to do:  He was going to keep writing and earn a large stuffed animal for his younger brother for Christmas.

He met with the site coordinator at his school often for details and instruction, even spending some time in the library to research his next project.  The following paper would pertain to his chosen career path and how he was going to get there.  Sam selected law enforcement, and before long had completed his paper.

“I want to do good things in my life,” he noted about his motivation for the career choice. He also declared a desire to prove himself amongst his community and peers – something his hard work and dedication is already helping him achieve.

Sam was more than a bit excited when he received the large toy – seeking out teachers that had helped proofread his work to show off his prize.  The school staff helped him find a box that would both disguise and protect the trophy – which now sits awaiting Christmas morning under the tree at his house.

*Name has been changed – we didn’t want to spoil the surprise!

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 alexander.cisnwnc.org or find us on facebook at facebook.com/CISWilkesAlexander.