Schools are closed, but Communities In Schools of the Midlands (CISM) is still open amid the highs and lows of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other non-profits across Columbia, SC, CISM has made swift transitions to continue their charitable efforts to meet the ongoing needs of the community. From virtual meetings and conference calls, to dropping off care packages and retrieving homework assignments from doorsteps, CISM has been going #InSchoolsandBeyond since school closings in March and increasing their relationships with community organizations to reach more vulnerable populations of children in Richland and Lexington Counties.
The organization’s national office, Communities In Schools, National, has gone full speed to ensure that 131 affiliate sites across the US have the tools they need to advocate for families and empower all students to stay in school and on a path to graduation. Communities In Schools of the Midlands is 1 of 3 affiliate sites in South Carolina working directly in schools to build relationships that empower students to stay in school and succeed in life. CIS National President and CEO Rey Saldaña quoted in a recent article asking local nonprofits, faith-based organizations and business leaders to partner with CIS affiliates in their communities to prevent the disruption of essential supports and services and add additional capacity to meet the growing needs of students.
CEO Tanika Epps has been in communications with school districts and the largest education investor of the organization, United Way of the Midlands to share the pure heart and soul of Site Coordinators and the significant effects on hundreds of students whose families already confront economic and social inequities. Ms. Epps shared a testimony in an article pushed by Education Drive on the affiliate’s response to COVID-19 and a family displayed due to loss wages.
From March – May, the organization has increased their capacity to meet growing needs of over 300 students and families through collaborative partnerships with the following community organizations and businesses:
- United Way of the Midlands COVID-19 Relief Fund
- Salvation Army
- Resilient Richland
- First Choice By Select Health of South Carolina
- Power in Changing Diaper Bank
- Midlands Fatherhood Coalition
- Delta Dental
- Lexington United Methodist Church
- Crossroads Words Outreach Center
- First Presbyterian Church
- Lexington School District Two
- Richland School District One
- Lipscomb Family Foundation
To donate to the Communities In Schools of the Midlands Emergency Fund visit www.cism.org/donate
About Communities in Schools of the Midlands
Communities In Schools of the Midlands is a part of the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization, dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help students succeed in school and achieve in life. The program provides supports to seven schools within Lexington and Richland Counties and the South Carolina Juvenile Justice Department serving nearly 3,000 young people and families each year. Based directly inside of schools throughout the Midlands, Communities In Schools of the Midlands connects students and their families to basic and critical educational and community-based resources, tailored to each student’s specific needs. Learn more about Communities In Schools of the Midlands at www.cism.org.