Opinion

VOLUNTEER VIEW: Communities In Schools helps kids stay in school

Communities In Schools of Whatcom County was established in 2007 and had about 158 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: The mission of Communities In Schools of Whatcom County is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

What sets Communities In Schools apart from other organizations is our site coordination model. Communities In Schools places a staff member inside a partner school to work with school staff in identifying students at risk of not succeeding in school and graduating. Communities In Schools staff collaborates with school personnel to assess school and student needs, establish relationships with local business partners, social service agencies and parents and volunteer organizations to provide coordinated community resources to meet those needs. Independent research shows that the Communities In Schools model works — children served by Communities In Schools show improved attendance, behavior and academic performance — and stay in school.

Volunteer highlights: Two volunteers from the community who dedicate multiple afternoons a week, every week, to help out Squalicum students exemplify all Communities In Schools volunteers. The two started out tutoring in September and have been working with students here ever since.

One is a Western Washington University student, math whiz, and is a leader in youth support services at Christ the King Church. The other is hoping to become a teacher, one of the warmest people I’ve ever met, and also active in youth support work.

These two women are amazing role models for the students and have encouraged students to feel more confident in their academic abilities. We are so lucky to have community members who give so generously of their time and expertise!

Signature fundraiser: Race for Education 5K and Family Fun Run: 9 a.m. June 13 at Civic Field.

Wish list: School supplies; sponsors for our Race for Education; healthy food choices; find us on social media; financial assistance for field trips; tutors for after school; sponsors for our end-of-the-year orientation for incoming freshman; mentors for 2015-16.

Volunteer needs: Several of our sites need tutors for after-school centers. We also need energetic volunteers to help with our 5K Race for Education on June 13; we are hoping to add three new board members before June 30; and we need volunteer or volunteer organization to help with marketing and social media campaign.

For more information, go online to ciswhatcom.org.

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