The Special Programs Coordinator is a brand new position housed within the Innovation Team. This team made up of the Director of Innovation, Special Programs Manager, Special Programs Coordinator, and a few Site Coordinators who will research, develop, and pilot new and innovative ventures for Communities In Schools (CIS) of Mid-America. The Special Programs Coordinator’s first focus will be to build a program that follows our students beyond graduation; the Alumni Allies Program. As a social service agency, we know that the issues our students face do not just disappear once they graduate from high school. In fact, many of our students who go on to college are the first in their families to do so and require much more support during this major life transition. Creating a program that supports students through one of the most significant transitions in their lives, from high school into the workforce or secondary education, is an important step in ensuring that students can “achieve in life.” This is a critical component to fulfill the work of our mission, “Empowering students to stay in school and achieve in life.”

We are excited to have a former Site Coordinator, Jennifer Martin, leading the charge as the Special Programs Coordinator. Jennifer shares what she is most excited about in this new position, “I am most excited to create this program [Alumni Allies] and to begin working with alumni- helping them to navigate life after high school. For the last several years, I have been working with elementary students and families, and it has been wonderful. Going from the beginning of a school journey to the end is exciting for me. Being a first-generation college student and knowing the struggles that I experienced starting my college journey, I can relate to the students and the families we support. I am excited to connect our students to valuable supports and resources needed to survive this major transition.” 

As Special Programs Manager, Sophie Archuleta has been quietly developing the backbones of an alumni program for the past four years.  With funding support from the Kansas Department for Children and Families, this behind-the-scenes work finally has the proper staff and capacity it needs to make a difference in our students’ lives. We hope to create a network of support for our students as they continue their journey into adulthood. We know that some of our students are the first in their families to attend college, and we want to be able to continue to provide support for the whole family. For students going straight into the workforce, we want to provide all of the support necessary for them to become contributing members of our communities. We want all students to have safety, security, increased self-advocacy, and goals to strive for success. Our current plan is to create a stable and functional foundation for the alumni program. We are at an exciting stage right now with this program-the beginning!  Our goal is to create a program that is beneficial for all of our students, no matter what their future plans include. What an exciting time for CIS of Mid-America!