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Communities in Schools of Central Ohio

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy

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

Results: Our Results in 2009-2010: •50 % of schools CIS served improved their attendance rates or maintained state standard attendance (All elementary schools exceeded the 93% standard) •88% of targeted students decreased their out of school suspensions or had no out of school suspensions •88% of targeted students decreased their behavioral incidents •53% of targeted students decreased their unexcused absences or had no unexcused absences •88% of students reported that they feel better about themselves and their future after receiving services from CIS Accomplishments for the 2009-2010 school year: •CIS staff brokered over $450,000 in donations to schools served including 375 backpacks, an ongoing donation of bread from Panera, books and other educational material from Highlights, gym equipment for a high school, holiday help, etc •CIS provided direct service to 1,416 students and their families. These services include: short term counseling, group interventions, referrals to community resources, crisis intervention, mentoring etc •CIS provided services to schools which serve 8,722 students. Whole school services include: speakers for assemblies, facilitating community resources fairs, incentives, etc •CIS worked with 167 community organizations and businesses to link services directly into the schools •CIS staff provided over 350 home visits •CIS staff provided 475,000 direct service hours to students and their families •100% of principals of the schools served requested that the SRC continue to provide services for the 2010-2011 school year •CIS provided 920 students with afterschool activities and/or summer activities •CIS engaged 875 parents in activities at their child’s school •CIS provided 122 minority males with leadership activities •CIS provided 367 families (899 children) with homelessness prevention services.

Target demographics: CIS staff work with students (K-12) and families in the Columbus and Whitehall CIty School districts, plus the Catholic Diocese, to increase the graduation rate. We are in schools that are low income and have academic challenges. A picture of the schools Communities In Schools of Central Ohio serves: •12 % are in academic emergency •47 % are in academic watch •29% are in continuous improvement •12% are effective •An average of 87.3 % of students receive free and reduced lunch •An average of 17 % of students are Limited English proficient •An average of 15.3% of students have learning disabilities •An average 69% graduation rate

Direct beneficiaries per year: Direct services to 1,416 students and their families

Geographic areas served: Columbus and Whitehall City Schools, plus Columbus Catholic schools

Programs: E.L.I.T.E. (Exceptional Leaders Inspired Through Excellence) - leadership program for minority youth in grades 4-6. After-school programs in Columbus, Whitehall and the Catholic Diocese -- elementary, middle and high school. Stable Families Program -- helps families stay stable in their housing so kids do not have to move from their schools. School Resource Coordinators -- staff assigned to 2 schools each to connect students and families to social services.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

If you are looking for a charity to support, this is it. The facts are fairly simple and clear: improved academic success leads to higher graduation rates, which creates opportunity to succeed in life. CIS gets to kids before poverty, homelessness, violence, and substance abuse become barriers to learning. How? By creating RELATIONSHIPS rather than programs to reach kids. The organization works directly with school administrators, parents, and community leaders to identify children and families that may have needs beyond the scope of a normal educational experience. CIS then brings to bear existing community resources to meet those needs. These services include tutoring, mentoring, after-school programs, food, housing, clothing, leadership training, gang intervention and prevention, physical and mental health education, and substance abuse intervention, among others. CIS has a proven, quantitative track record of keeping kids in school.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Communities in Schools of Central Ohio has a proven record of helping hundreds of children stay in school and graduate each year. The CIS staff works closely with teachers, community groups and parents to ensure each child is ready to succeed. Poverty creates so many issues that have to be resolved before a child can learn. CIS helps fill the gaps, one child at a time.

I am proud to serve on the CIS board and support the CIS team in any way possible. They truly make a difference in the lives of our children.

Karen Lurvey

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am honored to serve on this Board and being apart of a team that helps surround students with community support and empower them to stay in school. As a graduate of Columbus Public Schools, I enjoy giving back to the school system that help mold me into the professional I am today.


Rating: 5

I taught the students in the CIS after school program Zumba moves. The children really seemed to enjoy the workout and the music. The staff was friendly and participated alongside the children in the Zumba experience. I appreciate how organized and welcoming the coordinator was for this activity. The children were well-behaved and engaged. This is certainly a reflection of the program leadership.

Vinnie B.


Rating: 4

I was looking for a way to help families in need, and particularly those with children. I also wanted to do it locally (Columbus, OH area). I found Communities In Schools through the local newspaper.

I have been a donor for three years now, and it has been rewarding. I don't meet the families that are helped, and they don't know who I am, but I do usually receive a 'thank you' letter in which I can tell if I made a difference to the family or not -- and that can make the experience entirely worth while!


Rating: 4

I am the coordinator at Huntington Bank for the E.L.I.T.E. (Exceptional Leaders Inspired Through Excellence) program w/ CIS. This is my third year participating in the mentor program and CIS has done an exceptional job in developing the mentor program.
I look forward to my visits at Cassady Elementary to discuss and share the developmental assets that we encourage the young men to acknowledge and utilize as they learn to identify and develop their own character. CIS provided the mentors w/ the necessary training and tools to understand the basic background of the students to successfully engage w/ the young men. CIS has devoted the efforts and time in building the foundation to encourage mentors to be positive representatives as we build an environment that will promote an open dialogue and a trust w/ the young men.
I speak well and often of my experience w/ the E.L.I.T.E program as I seek to recruit others to join or at least be informed of the prgram. The results of the program are measured by the feedback received from the parents and teachers of Cassady Elementary as they notice a difference in the behavior of those students who are participants. We, mentors notice the difference in the dialogue, the questions and the conversations as we attend each week. The mentees thinking processes are elavated. The ELITE prgram teaches and encourages our youth to take pride and respect w/in themselves which, translates to a better mentality, improved decision making and interaction w/ others.
As they learn to care more for themselves, the more they will learn to care about others. The more they learn to respect themselves, the less they will want to disrepect others. This is the foundation on which CIS has built the ELITE program.
The road map is clear and the directions are defined-Know who you are, self-identity; Know where you want to be, have a plan; and learn how to avoid or overcome all distractions, utilize your assets.
The eight developmental assets chosen for the ELITE are: Caring, Integrity, Honesty, Responsibility, Planning & Decision Making, Cultural Competence, Resistance Skills and Nonviolent Conflict Resolution.
We encourage, enlighten and empower the students to understand that a life w/ boundaries is a life w/ unlimited potential.
I thank CIS for the opportunity to be a part of a powerful program that reaches out to embrace and educate our young men. The ELITE program allows these young ones to see that they do have options, they do have choices and that their current situations or circumstances are not the end but just an obstacle that they can overcome. The ELITE program deals with life and most importantly, life choices and the key message is your destination is not defined by where you come from, your destination is defined by the decisions you make along the way.
All forward motion is met w/ resistance, what happens next defines your character. The ELITE are recognized.

Alex W.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have known Communities in Schools since 2006. i have worked in nonprofits quite a bit over the years and understand the challenges of running a small organization that relies on increasingly limited funding and private donations. What Communities in Schools does well is harness its talent and maximize the use of existing resources to help meet the needs of the students and families it serves. Through Communities in Schools, I've seen how their staff responds when a seventh grader walks into school without wearing any shoes, or when the family receives an eviction notice. The staff of Communities in Schools have expertise when it comes to linking available community resources to schools who need that support in order to help students continue their educational development and ultimately, graduate.