Students distinguished for academic improvements, impacting their communities

Hershell Edward Holliday’s extreme lack of focus, self-discipline and motivation to boost his grades and low CRCT scores in the eighth grade almost blocked his promotion to the ninth grade following the 2011-2012 school year.

Although Holliday was allowed to advance to the ninth grade at Westlake High School for 2012-2013, he struggled in several of his core classes. He failed six classes and made C’s in the others during his ninth grade year.

Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta’s Site Coordinator Demona Warren developed a plan for the current academic year to help Holliday avoid the danger of repeating ninth grade a third time. He successfully completed online courses over the summer, and he went from failing three classes first semester last year, to passing all of his classes first semester this year.

Due to his hard work and CIS of Atlanta’s support, Holliday received a mid-year promotion and is now classified as a 10th grader. Next year, he will be classified as a fully-accredited 11th grader on track to graduate with his class of 2016.

Holliday is one of several students CIS of Atlanta builds relationships with to increase the number of students who are promoted on time or graduate.

Students within the City of Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb County partner schools will receive special recognition for improving their academics and impacting their communities during the 10th Annual Choose Success Awards Dinner Gala. Event emcee Monica Pearson of 104.1 FM will lead the ceremony at the Carlos Community Center in Atlanta from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 1. Registration, entertainment and hors d’oeuvres will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Sponsored by WSB-TV, Coca Cola and AT&T, the gala will also honor the contributions of Anne Cox Chambers of Cox Enterprises with a special award presentation.

The Choose Success Program allows students who face various social and economic challenges to be of service to others in need. Young people are able to see that although they face challenges, they are assets to their communities. CIS believes that every child should have opportunities to give back to their peers and their communities.

VIDEO: See what Hershell's mother Wanda has to say about the impact CIS of Atlanta has made in her son's life.



CIS National's brand awareness campaign is seen locally

Communities In Schools National has launched a major public relations and brand awareness campaign called Change the Picture. The campaign, viewed at www.communitiesinschools.org, features a sample video that will soon be seen, heard and read on broadcast, radio and print media outlets.

The digital mall posters are already visible at several mall locations in the Atlanta area, including Arbor Place Mall, Cumberland Mall, Lenox Square, Mall of Georgia, North Point Mall, Northlake Mall, Perimeter Mall, and Southlake Mall.

Below is a snapshot of the digital mall poster at Southlake Mall taken by Clarkston High School Site Coordinator Calleb Obumba.

Westlake mother daughter tea creates positive fellowship among women

The women and youth of Westlake High School enjoyed their first annual mother daughter tea and fashion show on Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Organized by Communities In Schools of Atlanta Site Coordinator Demona Warren and PTSA, the event was a social gathering that encouraged positive fellowship between mothers and daughters and uplifted real-life experiences displayed through a celebration of femininity.

The event showcased a fashion show, inspirational dance, oral expressions and musical performances arranged by students. Guests also won door prizes, and vendors provided food, gifts and crafts for the women.

Kicks 101.5FM DJ Jenny Hobby Rivera and entertainer Fly Musiq were special guests of honor.

Seaborn Lee Elementary School students receive new books through RIF

Seaborn Lee Elementary School students received new books through a RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) event sponsored by Communities In Schools of Atlanta on Thursday, April 17.

The event helped 500 students gear up for the CRCT exams, as well as making them more excited about reading.

Students chose their own books and were enthusiastic about learning. The RIF event was hugely successful and students are expecting their third RIF event in mid-May.

Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School students learn to cope with death, loss

Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School students in grades three through five learned different ways of coping with issues pertaining to grief and loss through CIS of Atlanta’s partnership with Kate’s Club

Kate’s Club, a social services group, provides demonstrations that help children and teens deal with life after the death of a parent, sibling or loved one.

H.E. Holmes Elementary was the first Fulton County school that had the opportunity to work with Kate’s Club and take part in the educational presentations.

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H.E. Holmes Elementary School students get inspired to read

Communities In Schools of Atlanta partnered with KPMG and Fulton County Chairman John Eaves to provide every Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School student with free books during a literacy event Friday, April 18.

Volunteers donated their time to read to nearly 1,000 students. Cat in the Hat also made a special appearance.

Check out the photo gallery from the day's event:

Kroger shoppers can support CIS of Atlanta’s students by shopping for everyday items

Kroger shoppers can now simply swipe their Plus card to support the mission of Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta.

Kroger members must register their Plus card online at www.krogercommunityrewards.com, select the organization from the list and click confirm in order to provide fundraising support to CIS of Atlanta.

If a shopper does not have a Kroger Plus card, visit the customer service desk at any Kroger. To get your Kroger Plus card number, call 1-800-576-4377 and select option 4. Members must swipe their registered Kroger Plus card or use the phone number that is related to their registered Kroger Plus card when shopping for each purchase to count toward the fundraiser.

The Kroger Community Rewards Program is committed to helping communities grow and prosper every year by giving millions of dollars to schools, churches and nonprofit organizations.

CIS and McNair MS featured on Fox5 News

Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta was featured on the April 4th edition of Fox5 News at 5 p.m. for providing 300 bags of healthy snacks to students as they prepared to be away from school for Spring Break. Included in the video is McNair Middle School Principal Ronald Mitchell helping to distribute the bags to students and parents. For too many students in metro Atlanta, the meals they receive at school through the free/reduced price program are their only reliable daily sources of nutrition.



In addition to DeKalb County's McNair Middle School, thousands of bags were given away at several other DeKalb County schools, including Cedar Grove High School, Clarkston High School, McNair High School, Stone Mountain High School and Towers High School. Bags were also distributed at Fulton County's Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School (East Point). The bags of food were donated by Street Grace and three Atlanta area churches (Northbrook, Brookhaven Christian Church and Peachtree Presbyterian Church). For more information about the donation, please view our previous artilce.

CIS of Atlanta students get a taste of college life

Stone Mountain High School students participated in the Atlanta University Center College Tour to visit the campuses of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College on Saturday, March 22.

The 108 high school students heard from a student panel, including a Stone Mountain High alumnus, about college life and were encouraged to pursue post-secondary education.

The field trip was facilitated through the collaboration of Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta school Site Coordinator Terrell Monroe and CIS of Georgia.

Check out students on the tour in the photo gallery:

A CIS partner provides stress-relieving massages for Stone Mountain HS staff

Stone Mountain High School faculty and staff received neck and shoulder massages from Rainbow City Chiropractic as part of teacher appreciation month last week. The free massages were set up by Terrell Monroe, CIS site coordinator at Stone Mountain High School.

Staff members were able to have relaxing moment from the day's hectic schedule and receive health-related advice from Dr. Arthur Matthews. In addition to the obvious benefits for faculty and staff members, students ultimately benefit as well from having teachers who are healthy and relaxed.

Rainbow City Chiropractic's community service event is a program that provides free massages and other health and fitness related consultations for schools and offices throughout the metro-Atlanta area. Matthews also treats patients who suffer from extremity problems such as carpel tunnel and shoulder/knees issues.

Shown below are photos taken at the event.

Stone Mountain High School student progresses to the finals in Atlanta Hawks’ poetry slam contest

Stone Mountain High School 10th-grade student Davonne Nelson is named as a top 15 finalist in the Atlanta Hawks Poetry Slam Contest.

Nelson is in the running to take home the top honor and win various prizes, including a laptop computer, iPad, tablet notebook, autographed Hawks merchandise and much more.

The theme for this year’s contest is “Non-Discrimination, Acceptance and Respect for Others: Why It Matters to You.” All student finalists are encouraged to commit their poems to memory.

A Poetry Slam workshop, scheduled Monday, April 14 at Philips Arena, will feature a local poet and the National Center for Civil & Human Rights. Nelson and fellow high school poets will perform their poems during the Poetry Slam Finals, slated Tuesday, April 22 at Hard Rock Café, located at 215 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, Ga. 30303.

Other Stone Mountain High students that participated in the contest were Shereece Lawrence, Thomas Palmer and Randy Lewis.

Stone Mountain High School site coordinator explores social issues at M.A.L.E.S conference

Stone Mountain High School Site Coordinator Terrell Monroe attended the 2014 M.A.L.E.S. conference, hosted by the DeKalb County District, on Saturday, March 2014 at Martin Luther King High School. The conference was open to males of all ages and focused on encouraging higher levels of academic and career readiness among male students.

M.A.L.E.S (Motivated, Achievers, Leading & Empowering Successfully) consists of various lecture panels that explore social issues pertaining to black masculinity.Saturday's discussions focused on a wide array of topics, including spiritual growth and self-awareness, anger management, single parenthood and self-defense. A few highlighted sessions also focused on strategies that black men could utilize in coping with the demands and stereotypes as perpetuated from the media. These dialogues stressed education and sexuality, the role of juveniles within the judicial system, hip-hop culture and its influence on adolescents, and the biases and social expectations among black men.

CIS of Atlanta helps keep students fed over spring break

Street Grace coordinated with Metro Atlanta churches, organizations, businesses and community volunteers to contribute 1,000 bags of food items to Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta at Brookhaven Christian Church Saturday, March 29.

Of the 10,000 "blessing bags" Street Grace provided, each bag consisted of breakfast, lunch and dinner items for two days, including oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, applesauce, granola bars, water and other nonperishable food items. One thousand students within Fulton and DeKalb county public school systems will be recipients of the donated bags.

“This donation provides love packages to students to let them know there are people that are concerned about them even when they’re not in school. It also is an incentive to stay encouraged, stay focused and get ready to come back after spring break to take the End-of-Course Tests and CRCT,” said Angela Williams, site coordinator at Cedar Grove High School. “More than anything, we realize there are a lot of people out there who are struggling; we don’t know how much we touch them until you give them a bag. It means a lot; it’s giving them a hug.”

CIS of Atlanta site coordinators will distribute the bags Friday, April 4 to students in need, including the following DeKalb County schools: Cedar Grove High School, Clarkston High School, McNair High School, McNair Middle School, Stone Mountain High School and Towers High School. Food items will also be distributed at Fulton County's Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School (East Point).

UPDATE: Click here for Fox5 News coverage of the food distribution at McNair Middle School.


“It was inter-generational with young people to seniors. It was an awesome experience and I can’t express how touched I was and thankful,” Williams said. “I want to thank Street Grace for taking care of our babies.”

CIS in turn donated 30 bags to the after school program at The Kindezi School, an Atlanta public charter school.

Street Grace is a faith-based organization leading churches, community organizations and individual volunteers on a comprehensive path to end domestic minor sex trafficking in Metro Atlanta and throughout the United States.

Check out photos from Saturday's donation drive below:

Towers High School RIF Event

Tower’s High School students engage in an interactive presentation given by Colin Dube of Auburn Avenue Research Library about the correlation between education and economic prosperity. The lecture focused on comparing 18th and 19th century slave narratives to letters written by hip-hop artist “Big Meech” in order to demonstrate the connections between a lack of education, oppression and financial instability.

As part of the event, CIS Site Coordinator Derec Oby supplied each student with a “starter library” of books that were provided through CIS of Atlanta’s partnership with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s. Below are photos taken at the event.

H.E. Holmes Elementary School gets on the PATH to success

CIS of Atlanta, H.E. Holmes Elementary School and Caron have formed a partnership this semester to provide 11 third-grade students a free life skills development program for eight weeks. PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) was written to help grade-school children develop better thinking skills, more mature and responsible ways of behaving, and improved academic performance.

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