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Mentorship Matters

Suze Orman, a bestselling author and TV personality who writes about personal finance, says this about mentorship: She writes, “the key to being a good mentor is to help people become more of who they already are.” In other words, the vision of mentorship programs isn’t one of molding young people to make the same […]

The Results Are “In!”

Every year, Communities In Schools of Mid-America (CIS of Mid-America) releases its Ripple Effect Map. This map is a visual expression of the work we’re involved in at the schools we serve. The Ripple Effect Maps are available for each of the locations where we are active, offering statistics about our impact and highlighting the […]

#StaffSpotlight – Winter Moore

Today’s #StaffSpotlight highlights Student Support Coordinator and Employee of the Month for September, Winter Moore! When Winter was nominated for employee of the month, her nominator said, “The depth of knowledge Winter brings to CIS, Fort Scott Middle School, and everyone she interacts with is extraordinary. The passion she has for her work and students on an […]

#StaffSpotlight – Anna Douglas-Rose

Today’s #StaffSpotlight highlights our very own Vice President of Financial Compliance & Human Resources and Employee of the Month for August, Anna Douglas-Rose! When Anna was nominated for employee of the month, her nominator said, “Throughout the entire interviewing and new hire process, Anna has shown professionalism, positivity, and perseverance…she has been such a tremendous […]

Back to School: Ready, Set, Go!

At the annual Summer Engagement Conference held on August 4th & 5th in Lawrence, Kansas, the energy of the staff at Communities In Schools of Mid-America (CIS of Mid-America) was high. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the entire organization gathered in person for two days of workshops, community building, large group […]

Even During Summer, We’re All In for Kids

It’s a great debate: Should students continue learning through the summer or take a break? While most young people are thrilled by the end of the school year, parents can find the shift challenging, and kids with emotional or developmental issues may have added pressures throughout the summer season. Studies show that while relaxation counts, […]

What Benny Is Made Of

Benny* started kindergarten eager to learn but nervous about the big building and new faces. Like his peers, he had to navigate new rules and long structured days, but Benny faced even more challenges. He had just moved back home with his dad for the first time since he was a baby two days before […]

What Jamal Is Made Of

Jamal* is incredibly kind and humble. He started working with Communities In Schools of Mid-America in his junior year of high school, and at that time, his situation seemed hopeless. Jamal’s home life was unstable and he was in constant need of basic provisions. His mother is disabled, so money was very limited. Jamal felt […]

Celebrating What Makes Us Unique

Many people consider June to be one of the best months of the year – after all, it’s the start of summer vacation! June offers an opportunity to relax and reset in preparation for the next academic year. In many places, this month has also become an opportunity to highlight diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) […]

What Noah and Natalie are Made Of

Halfway through the school year, Noah* and Natalie* were placed with a family member due to instability in their home. While the family member was happy to take in the siblings, she was worried about providing for them since she was out of work at the time. The CIS Student Support Coordinator helped the family […]

Mental Health Awareness and More

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is a time when we can raise awareness for all those living with mental health issues. Communities In Schools of Mid-America recognizes the importance of speaking on these issues to reduce the stigma many individuals encounter. Our students and families have experienced an incredible toll over the past […]

Hello Graduate!

I am excited for you to begin this next chapter of your life. Our mission at Communities In Schools of Mid-America is “to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” We believe this mission is something our students will continue to embody, especially after high school. […]

What Kenzie Is Made Of

Returning to school after the weekend can be challenging for everyone, but for Kenzie*, it was more than just a case of “the Mondays.” She started each week in tears and struggled to enter her classroom. The Student Support Coordinator met with Kenzie’s teacher and school counselor to discuss the situation. Together they made a […]

What Connor is Made Of

Connor* had a variety of challenges to start the school year. He struggled with time management and turning in assignments, especially in math. He was also having trouble managing his behavior and interacting with his peers. Connor was referred to Communities In Schools after fighting with another student. The Student Support Coordinator (SSC) met with […]

Meet our AmeriCorps VISTA Members

The mission of the AmeriCorps VISTA program is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. For decades, AmeriCorps has worked to make service to others an indispensable part of the American experience. CIS of Mid-America is proud to partner with AmeriCorps to host multiple VISTA members each year. This […]

What Larisa is Made Of

Larisa* was referred to CIS in September. Her teacher and guidance counselor noticed significant changes in Larisa’s behavior and grades compared to previous school years. They met with Larisa several times but could not get her to open up to them. Larissa was quiet and had a hard time trusting people. The Student Support Coordinator […]

Ten Facts You Might Not Know About Black History Month

Each February, America recognizes Black History Month. Keep reading to learn ten interesting facts about this national month of recognition. Since 1976, the American president has endorsed a specific theme for that year’s Black History Month. The theme for 2022 is “Black Health and Wellness,” which explores Black scholars, medical practitioners, and other ways of […]

What Ali is Made Of

Ali* was referred to Communities In Schools of Mid-America by his teacher for academic, attendance, and behaviors. The Student Support Coordinator (SSC) met with Ali one-to-one to get to know him and assess his needs and assets. The assessment revealed several concerns, including poor sleep habits and bullying. Ali said he didn’t really care about […]

What Hannah is Made Of

Hannah* regularly eats lunch with her Student Support Coordinator and has for several school years. This year, the Student Support Coordinator noticed Hannah was coming in with more energy and even a smile on her face sometimes, which is a significant change from last year. Hannah has a history of depression and anxiety, but last […]

Recognizing National Roots Day

Hidden among the major winter holidays and one of the countless national days of recognition is National Roots Day, this year on December 23. Created decades ago to encourage the remembering, learning, and sharing of family histories, the largely overlooked day takes on a greater context for me when I think beyond treasured lore or […]

What LaShea is Made Of

Remote learning proved to be very difficult for LaShea*. He rarely logged into Zoom and did not complete many assignments. The CIS Student Support Coordinator and school staff made multiple attempts to reach LaShea’s mother, but the phone number was out of service, and emails came back undeliverable. While remote, LaShea’s attendance rate fell to […]

What Carissa and Conner are Made Of

Carissa* and Conner* had been enrolled in CIS since they started elementary school. Before the 2020-21 school year began, their family moved, and the siblings had to transfer to a new school. Thankfully, their new school was also a CIS Site, so they could continue receiving support. The Student Support Coordinator (SSC) at their previous […]

Making a Difference

National Make a Difference Day occurs on the fourth Saturday of October, encouraging people to join forces to make a difference. Created in 1992 by USA WEEKEND magazine and joined by Points of Light, the goal was to provide a collective day of service. Since its inception, Make a Difference Day has become the largest […]

What Bethany Is Made Of

COVID-19 impacted all students last year, but for Bethany*, it changed her whole world. When she began her senior year, her parent was in the hospital due to the virus. Bethany was working full-time as the only source of income for the home, so she enrolled in a virtual school. She was referred to Communities […]

What You Can Do To Help Prevent Youth Suicide

NOTE: This month’s blog is a focus on Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and discusses suicide, specifically in youth. The past 18 plus months have been a never-ending series of changes and adjustments and everyone is exhausted, including our students. As adults, we have the luxury of having more years of life experience to help us […]

What Shayla Is Made Of

Shayla* was referred to Communities In Schools when she was very young. There are a lot of challenges in the home and the family often struggles to meet even the most basic of needs. At the beginning of the school year, Shayla was withdrawn and often had meltdowns when asked to do assignments. She was […]

The Impact of Teacher Stress on Kids and Communities

Teaching is one of the most difficult careers there is, with the never-ending workload, student needs, public expectations, and low pay. Although most teachers enter the profession with a yearning to leave an impact on the next generation, sometimes, this fire may not be enough. In fact, stress was the number one reason behind teachers quitting […]

What Calvin Is Made Of

Calvin* lives in a single-parent home with his father. Calvin lives with constant doubt, worry, and continually questions his existence. These feelings were often mistaken in school for lack of motivation, disrespect, and rebellion. During his freshman year of high school, Calvin had low grades and behavioral issues. His father felt he had no answers […]

A Moment of Choice

by Rey Saldaña, President and CEO of Communities In Schools As of March 2021, more than 250,000 students in Texas were missing from school. In Florida, the number is close to 90,000. The total across the country is estimated at three million. These students have not attended school since the beginning of the pandemic, not […]

What Marcus Is Made Of

Marcus* is a phenomenal person with goals for his future, but the obstacles in his life make attaining those goals challenging. Marcus is working hard to graduate while taking care of himself and his younger siblings. He doesn’t get much sleep and is often too stressed to eat, making him feel even more run down, […]

Black History Month: Supporting Students Impacted by Incarceration

Many African American children face barriers in obtaining an education that will improve their opportunities and life outcomes. One of the main challenges they face is the carceral system: incarceration has disproportionately harmed Black students, families, and communities over time.  The United States has the largest prison population in the world – one out of five prisoners in […]

Mentoring Students During a Pandemic

During an era of social isolation and online classes, students are struggling more than ever to stay engaged with their learning. Not only have studies shown that online learning is less effective than a traditional classroom setting – low-income, Black, and Hispanic students are likely to experience the greatest learning loss from remote learning. These […]

A Podcast Partnership with Communities In Schools National

Communities In Schools (CIS) National is proud to partner with Communities In Schools of Mid-America on a special series of their podcast, Letters from the Lunchroom hosted by their Director of Communications, Victoria Partridge. During this series, we will talk to network leaders and people who have a relationship with CIS. Our collaborative podcast series […]


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 […]

Communities In Schools of Mid-America VOTES!

Our country’s youth have been a powerful voice for change this year, speaking up forcefully about racial and social injustice and the existence of systemic racism that is embedded in major institutions in our country. They also have the potential to exercise considerable influence in the election, making up more than one-third of eligible voters. […]

Communities In Schools of Mid-America Celebrates 25 Years of Helping Students Succeed

Communities In Schools of Mid-America, an affiliate of the nation’s largest organization dedicated to helping students succeed in school and achieve in life, celebrates its 25th anniversary in September 2020. What started as a single-person, non-profit agency in 1995 has grown into a more than 80-person workforce. The organization annually supports more than 35,000 students located […]

Kelly Administration Awards TANF Youth and Family Stability Grants

Kansas families will now have greater access to family support programs that provide stability during these uncertain times. Today, Governor Laura Kelly and Department for Children and Families Secretary Laura Howard awarded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Youth and Family Stability Grants to eight agencies from across the state. “COVID-19 has created a lot […]

Census 2020 Community Blog

by Kourtney Woodbury | Resource Development Director of KC, CIS of Mid-America You matter!  This sentiment has been the calling card for the recent decennial Census. You are more than a headcount. You are considered “allocated dollars” that address social needs. Your participation in the Census apportions legislators for state and federal offices. It also […]

Black History: More than just a month

Chasity Hurd | CIS of Mid-America Site Coordinator at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Those who have no record of what their forbearers have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history. Carter G. Woodson Woodson, known as the Father of Black History Month, understood these words. Woodson reminds us […]

Sincerity in Relationships

Jen Falletti | CIS of Mid-America Site Coordinator at Lakeside Elementary School in Pittsburg, KS As a Site Coordinator for Communities In Schools (CIS) of Mid-America, coming into a school as a brand new program that helps students succeed can sometimes be off putting for existing school staff. Anyone working at the school could possibly […]