Communities In Schools
Communities in Schools (CIS) directly serves over 1000 students in Wilkes County and indirectly serves over 3000. The monies they receive from working two areas at MerleFest help fund the many programs they provide. Among those programs are Friends of Youth one-on-one mentoring; Lunch Buddies; New Century Scholarships; dance lessons; after school clubs for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders; peer helpers; and peer mediators.
During MerleFest, CIS volunteers man the Little Pickers Face Painting area as well as the entire Little Pickers area each afternoon. All monies received from helping staff the Little Pickers area goes toward the new Century Scholars program. CIS volunteers also run a food booth selling strawberry shortcake, pinto beans, cornbread, veggie pitas, chicken pitas, and baked potatoes. Food booth earnings fund the general budget that supports all programs except the New Century Scholars.
The New Century Scholar program provides two scholarships that would not be offered otherwise. Glendora Chipman, CIS Executive Director, explains, "The students are tracked beginning in the sixth grade until they graduate with a two-year degree from Wilkes Community College." This supportive program helps fulfill the CIS mission to "help kids stay in school and prepare for life."
Ms. Chipman and New Century Scholar Coordinator, Melissa Higgins, believe that their involvement at MerleFest also helps get the word out about the organization's goals and needs. "We have a wonderful opportunity to brag on CIS when folks ask what our organization is about. Several make commitments to volunteer as mentors or in other capacities with our agency!"
When the students of Wilkes County benefit from an organization such as Communities in Schools, we all benefit. Thank you, CIS, for your efforts at MerleFest and as you support our students all year.