The majority of students in our public schools today live in poverty. Some are coming to school hungry, homeless, without proper clothing and lacking medical attention.

Communities in Schools Galveston County surrounds them with a community of support, addresses these challenges locally and changes the picture of education in Galveston County. When it comes to unlocking each and every child’s full potential, CISG will never give up.

Imagine wanting to go to school, but having no clothes or shoes to wear. Wanting to learn, but being too hungry to think. Wanting to graduate, but having to drop out because you need to get a job to help your family. This is the harsh reality for millions of kids living in the United States. With one out of five students living in poverty, making economic hardship the rule rather than the exception, teachers face an even more enormous challenge trying to help students overcome nonacademic barriers to learning.

It may sound like an overwhelming issue, but the solution is simple. Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to-one level. That is exactly what CIS provides. CIS is the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life — doing whatever it takes. By harnessing the available resources in the community and then matching their services to each student’s needs, CIS is breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering students to create better lives.

Our 10 most common barriers to learning are:

• They’re hungry.

• They’re homeless.

• They feel like they don’t fit in.

• They can’t see the blackboard.

• They can’t get there.

• They’re in poor health.

• They need school supplies.

• They need a caring adult in their lives.

• They don’t have proper shoes or clothes.

• They need to support their family.

CISG brings our unique model to schools by placing a site coordinator on each campus and partnering with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers to provide students with exactly what they need. Whether it is food, school supplies, health care, counseling, academic assistance or simply a positive role model, CIS is there to help. Our model is successful because of one simple tenet: CIS works with local communities to support local kids with local solutions.

Living in poverty typically means struggling to obtain the most basic necessities — food, shelter and clothing. CIS relieves those burdens so students can focus on academic goals. We serve more than 1,000 students every year. Helping students identify and commit to academic, attendance and behavioral goals is one key to our success. In Galveston County, among students receiving intensive services, 75 percent met attendance goals; 89 percent, academic goals; and 94 percent, behavioral goals for last school year. Most importantly, 99 percent of potential drop outs stayed in school, 91 percent of our seniors graduated and 97 percent of our K-11 students were promoted. CISG is the glue that pulls all the pieces together, putting students at the center.

CIS is helping to build a stronger community, where all people are capable of reaching their greatest potential. If you’re interested in investing in our children, call 409-539-9055.

Connie Hebert is the executive director of Communities in Schools Galveston County.

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(1) comment

JD Arnold

Really, "The majority of students in our schools live in poverty". As an involved grandparent with our local school I do not believe this statement. Some yes, but clearly not the majority. I believe your group has the best of intentions but misstatements such as this is a turn off to potential donors.

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