On Monday, as the Nation observed President’s Day, Communities In Schools of Georgia (CISGA) – the state’s premiere model for dropout prevention and wrap-around student supports – honored local Champions who have risen above the ordinary to do the extraordinary.
Among those recognized during the Champions Awards Ceremony at the Georgia Aquarium were Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal for a lifetime of service and dedication to the children of Georgia as a passionate advocate for literacy; the Yaarab Shriners for their commitment to children’s literacy through a partnership with CISGA and the Red Fez Reading Club; and CIS-served student champions who have shown determination, discipline and commitment to never give in to the obstacles they face until victory is achieved in school and in life. Among those students was Amerion Elder of Long Cane Middle School. The 2018 student champions represented six CIS affiliates across Georgia including Atlanta, Glascock County, Henry County, Marietta/Cobb County, Savannah and Troup County.
“We are proud to recognize these student Champions who have worked courageously to face their obstacles head on, and have defeated or surpassed those barriers,” said Carol Lewis, CISGA President and CEO.
As a former teacher of 15 years, First Lady Sandra Deal believes that reading is the key for any child to achieve future success. She has read to students in all of Georgia’s 159 counties and 181 school districts, including 830 schools and Pre-K programs during her time as Georgia’s First Lady.
Last year, the Shriners teamed with Communities In Schools of Georgia to launch the Red Fez Reading Club, which combines the best of wonderment and imagination by encouraging early reading skills with trips to the annual Shrine Circus. Last year, over 700 CIS students earned their first-ever trip to the circus by reading books through the Red Fez Reading Club.
Communities In Schools of Georgia also recognized Kara Thompson, CISGA Site Coordinator in Henry County, who displayed the heart of a champion in her quest to see that one of her students overcame homelessness and other barriers to succeed in school. Site coordinators work inside the schools, and build oneon- one relationships with the students they work with.
“As an advocate for children in Georgia, and an organization that is committed to providing critical basic and academic needs for the students in Georgia’s schools, Communities In Schools of Georgia is proud to recognize our Champions for Children,” said Paula Goodman Vice President of Training for Best Buy Stores, and Chairman of the CISGA Board of Directors. A highlight of the event was the address by keynote speaker Rodney Bullard, Vice President of Community Affairs at Chick Fil-A and Executive Director of the Chick Fil-A Foundation. Bullard has just written a book entitled ‘Heroes Wanted.’ In his address, he spoke on calling, commitment, compassion, connection, conviction, community, courage, charity, and confidence, and stressed that we all have the opportunity to serve for the betterment of others. He also praised Communities In Schools for the work they are doing.
About Communities In Schools of Georgia The mission of Communities In Schools of Georgia is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Working closely with school districts, public and private philanthropy and partner organizations, CIS of Georgia connects students and their families to basic and critical educational and communitybased supports, tailored to individual needs. To learn more, visit www.cisga.org.