Standing a Chance

Accomplishment is a feeling like no other, whether it’s reaching the finish line or passing a math midterm.

But what if you were never given the chance to achieve? Thousands of students in Tarrant County may never have the opportunity to feel that sense of accomplishment.
Thanks to programs like Communities In Schools, more students and young adults are turning their hopelessness into hope.
Young people who leave school without a diploma are statistically less likely to find jobs, and many of them sadly will live their lives in poverty. Dropouts are more likely to be involved in crime, serve prison time and receive public assistance. Alcoholism, drug abuse and homelessness are also more likely.
Graduating high school has an enormous impact on a student and the potential to make or break an individual’s future. Unfortunately, an average of 10,000 students per year leave school without graduating in Tarrant County alone. When they start their own families, they are less likely than other parents to expect their children to graduate. And so the cycle repeats.
Communities In Schools is a proven national program that has been shown to both reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates.
In 2011, Communities In Schools of Greater Tarrant County served more than 22,000 elementary, middle and high school students. Ninety-nine percent of them stayed in school, and most of the high school seniors graduated. 
CIS Tarrant County was founded 20 years ago with the dream of being able to give students the chance to graduate from high school and achieve in their lives.
In two decades, the number of students who stayed in school after working with CIS social workers has never fallen below 97 percent.
A dedicated social worker is placed inside each of the schools to interact and serve the students who are identified as needing assistance beyond the scope of services their school can provide.
“Our social workers are also miracle workers. They build relationships and trust with students and parents,” said CEO and President Mike Steele. “It is the trust that opens the doors to real solutions for families and makes student success possible.”
It is because of the generous support that CIS receives that it is able to accomplish its mission of touching the lives of students. Steele said that without the help of CIS’ 80 partner organizations, the workers would not be able to do their jobs.
For example, CIS, Cooks Children’s Medical Center and 107 volunteer dentists team up to give students the opportunity to have a healthy smile through the Save a Smile project. Each year, the volunteer dentists are placed in 16 Tarrant County elementary schools to give children free oral screenings.
CIS makes it fun and easy for anyone to support the program by putting on charitable events. For more information about Communities In Schools, its events or how to get involved, visit the CIS Web site at cistarrant.org.