A BIT ABOUT US
Founder Bill Milliken began CIS in New York City in the 1970’s. He came up with the idea of bringing community resources inside public schools—where they are accessible, coordinated and accountable.
Bill once 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.” Forty years into our mission of surrounding students with communities of support, Bill’s principle continues to guide our work and serves as a beacon for the next chapter in our history. In 2003, Communities In Schools of Greenbrier County (CISGC) was established using the same holistic, multidisciplinary approach to helping students overcome social, emotional, and academic challenges (follow link below to access CIS Inc.'s site).
(L-R) Founders, Neil Shorthouse & Bill Milliken, with David Lewis
WHAT WE DO
In Greenbrier County West Virginia, over 50% of school-aged students live in poverty. 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. Communities In Schools of Greenbrier County (CISGC) is a local affiliate of the nation’s leading drop-out prevention program, Communities In Schools. CISGC’s mission is “to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” Student support specialists link students and their families with the community to bring local talents and resources into the schools to create a network of support that keeps kids in school and engaged in learning. As a result, students have the opportunity and skills to focus on learning. In recent years, the education field has come to recognize the role of schools as not only an academic institution, but also important in supporting student health, safety, and well‐being by developing integrated student support initiatives. Our specialists offer specific services and supports to students and their families to build a foundation for academic success. During the 2021-2022 school year, CISGC provided free services to at-risk youth in all public schools in Greenbrier County. More than 4,600 students benefitted from school-wide programs and nearly 500 students received individualized case-management.
HOW WE DO IT
Through conversations with school leadership and review of school improvement plans, CISGC staff, school administrators, and their school support team work to align goals that best meet the needs of the students, avoiding duplication and overlap of supports. When student support specialists actually begin providing supports, they collaborate with community partners and businesses to recruit volunteers for tutoring programs, build up clothing closets, provide food and/or shelter, or connect struggling families with much-needed medical attention – just to name a few. CISGC depends on our partners to provide Greenbrier County's at-risk and disadvantaged students the services and resources they need to have a healthy and wholesome future.
CISGC'S FIVE BASICS
We believe EVERY child needs:
A ONE-ON-ONE RELATIONSHIP WITH A CARING ADULT
A SAFE PLACE TO LEARN & GROW
A HEALTHY START & A HEALTHY FUTURE
A MARKETABLE SKILL UPON GRADUATION
A CHANCE TO GIVE BACK TO PEERS & COMMUNITY
"Communities In Schools is a safe place to catch up on schoolwork"