Who We Are
It’s relationships, not programs, that change children.
For over 40 years, the words of founder Bill Milliken still guide the Communities In Schools’ Model of Support. “It’s relationships, not programs, that change children,” he said. “A great program simply creates the environment for healthy relationships to form between adults and children. Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to-one level, and when they also have a sense of belonging to a caring community.”
More than anything else, Communities In Schools believes that to truly lift people out of poverty and to embrace the 21st century, education is a major key. We must create a culture of success and expectation that every student–no matter the personal circumstance–can and deserves the opportunity to be prepared, motivated and equipped to reach his or her greatest potential.
Why We Do What We Do
WE WANT ALL KIDS TO SUCCEED!
Poverty and its overall impact on children and communities is a major obstacle to the health of any community. Education’s promise cannot on its own lift all poor students from where they started. Education can narrow the achievement gap and it can be a positive beacon for success, but non-school factors like one’s living conditions, its impact on student health, cognitive development, familial make-up, and social-emotional growth are all critical to a child’s success.
In the U.S., 14.5 million kids under 18 live in poverty, shouldering more than they should have to. Without community support, they are more at risk for missing school, dropping out and failing to earn a high school diploma. By helping our most vulnerable students stay in school and succeed in life, we are building stronger, healthier and more economically stable communities where every person is capable of reaching his or her greatest potential.
How Poverty Affects Students
- It is likely that poor children will enter school six months behind their peers.
- Children raised in such stressful environments find it harder to pay attention and follow directions in school. As a matter of fact, in her book, Changing the Odds for Children at Risk, Susan Neuman, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, wrote: “Twice as many poor children will have short attention spans, three times as many will speak in a way that is not understandable to strangers—stuttering or stammering—and almost five times as many will be in poor health. Only a small fraction of poor preschoolers will display any signs of emerging literacy and the small motor skills necessary to begin writing.”
- Poor students lose 30 percent more days from school than their nonpoor peers.
- School performance is further affected by vision, hearing, and dental problems. Poor children have twice the normal rate of severe vision impairment, have more hearing problems than their non-poor peers, and three times as likely to have untreated cavities.
- Poor children are more likely to suffer socioemotional harm which exacerbates behavioral problems.
- Multiple stressors in the home environment can take a toll on student behavior. In fact, one in five children growing up in poverty has elevated risk for socioemotional difficulties like impulsivity, difficulty in focusing, aggressiveness, passiveness, hopelessness, and disruptive behavior in the classroom.
We all know that educational attainment is a critical component of employment and a well-educated workforce is crucial to Augusta’s business sector growth. If we work together, share our resources and provide a path to success for all kids now – the future for our community will be even brighter!
Why we care
- We know that education is key to future success
- We know that our community schools need additional resources and support
- We know children must be inspired, encouraged and prepared to become successful adults
- We can be part of the change that propels students to successful futures!
As parents and as a community we want our young people to be successful in school and to become independent, contributing members of society when they come of age. Unfortunately, too many young people, especially those from poverty backgrounds never graduate from high school and remain in the cycle of poverty with their futures diminished – this must change! Invest your time, efforts and resources to inspire and help a child succeed!
Reading is FUNdamental to learning!
No person, school or agency can address or be prepared for the vast array of the needs presented by every struggling student in the community, but there are many things that can be done that can make a huge difference in a child’s success! Literacy, mentoring, tutoring assistance, and basic needs are all things Communities In Schools does every day to help kids succeed in school.
Communities In Schools’ Reading is FUNdamental Program.
Early reading skills are critical to a child’s success in school. Students learn to read through the end of third grade, after that they must be able to read in order to learn. Too many of our kids start school behind their peers in language development and never catch up.
Reading – it’s a critical skill that can be improved considerably with attention, practice, and help from the community.
In a landmark study by Hart-Risley on language development, it was documented that children from low-income families hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers before the age of 4. Many of these children enter school considerably behind their peers in reading skills and continue to have difficulty throughout their school lives, resulting in greater incidents of absenteeism, dropping out, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy – all issues that continue to perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency.
- Reading aloud is widely recognized as the single most important activity leading to language development. Reading aloud builds word-sound awareness in children.
- Reading aloud gives children the opportunity to practice listening – a critical skill for student success.
- Reading aloud encourages children to use their imaginations.
- The more adults read aloud to children, the larger their vocabularies will grow.
- Reading helps children to learn and dream about the world around them and their place in it.
- Reading aloud introduces the language of books which is different from the language heard in daily conversations.
- Reading aloud builds motivation, curiosity, and memory.
- Reading aloud helps children develop positive associations with books and reading.
- Children who value books are more motivated to read on their own.
- Academic success is tied to a student’s ability to read and comprehend concepts.
Please send your gift to:
Communities In Schools
Augusta Richmond County
P.O. Box 1604
Augusta, GA 30903
In-Kind gifts: We always need gifts of school supplies – please contact us for a list.
We consider Volunteers to be critical partners in our success. Contact us for more information!
- Mentors (grades 2 – High School)
- Tutors (elementary – High School)
- Special Events
- Read to a Classroom
Offer to share your knowledge and experience to a group of students. Topics range from job opportunites in the community, employer expectations, soft skills, financial literacy, wellness, legal issues, safety, and more! Contact us for more information.
Communities In Schools of Augusta Richmond County is pleased to announce a partnership with Lucinda Clark, founder of the Poetry Matters Project and her team. This amazing program works with young people to help them to recognize and express their “voice and thought” through poetry, story and lyric. Dedicated artists conduct a series of intensive workshops with students teaching them how to constructively express their thoughts, passions and interests. At the conclusion of the program, students will present to fellow students, family and the community.
The Poetry Matters Project has been working with emerging voices in poetry for 18 years. Starting as a poetry contest in community schools it has grown into a multi-faceted foundation with a mission to build community connection under the guise of poetry.
In addition to the student workshops, a national poetry contest is held each year and is open to the public – youth through adult. For guidelines and entry information please visit www.Facebook.com/PoetryMattersProject or call (762)233-9815.
Thank you Panera Bread Restaurants for “rounding up” for Communities In Schools!
For the month of January every customer will be asked to round up their purchase to benefit Communities In Schools and the students we serve. So the next time you are looking to have a meal, consider Panera Bread!
We appreciate Panera Bread for their recognition and help investing in our kids! We believe that the successful education of children is key to not only breaking the cycle of generational poverty, but it is at the very heart of prosperous communities, businesses, innovation, and growth. There are no short cuts. We must create a culture of success and an expectation that every student can—no matter the personal circumstance—and deserves the opportunity to be educated, engaged, motivated, and prepared to have a viable career path upon graduation.
Communities In Schools was honored at the Augusta Junior League’s 90th Year Gala Celebration. In honor of the league’s incredible legacy of service to the community throughout the years, a special grant in the amount of $9,000 was awarded to support our efforts to meet the urgent and basic needs of students and their families that are struggling through difficult circumstances. On behalf of our board of directors and staff, thank you Augusta Junior League for your gift of compassion, your volunteers and the inspiration your members have been to our organization!
- January 21, 2019Communities In Schools of Georgia, December 2016 How important is it for a child to be in school every day? [...]
With the support of CIS, our students stay in school, graduate and go on to bright futures. Read about Alumna Naedean.January 21, 2019In the third grade my parents were going through a divorce and because of this transition, my performance in school [...]
Jay Murray, Chairman
President, Augusta Market
Communication & Community Engagement Manager
Richmond County School System
Bonita Jefferies Jenkins
Augusta Technical College
Vice President – Investments
Wells Fargo Advisors
Retired Newspaper Editor
Financial Center Manager
Fifth Third Bank
J. Joseph Adams
Mercedes Benz Augusta
Yvette Foster, Ed.S.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Richmond County School System
Director, Human Resources
VP, Consumer Banking
Georgia Power Company
Board of Advisors
Zach Kelehear, Ed.D.