Preparing Graduates for a Brighter Future
By Frank Brown, Esq
It’s no secret the past couple of months have been challenging for students, parents, and educators. Even so, at CIS of Atlanta, there are stories of hope amidst the chaos.
Our site coordinators have been diligent in ensuring children have access to online learning tools and other resources to finish the year strong. From delivering fresh groceries to bridging the gap for rent payments, the CIS of Atlanta team continues to go the distance to provide for the basic needs of the students we serve.
We recognize graduating from high school as low-income minority students with diplomas will not be enough to ensure they are full participants in the American dream like you and I. Therefore, the standard for CIS of Atlanta’s real impact has changed at this time in our almost 50-year history. It’s imperative that our students graduate from high school with a clear plan for the future. College, a technical or vocational school, the military, or entrepreneurship are the paths we help them choose.
What makes our approach unique is we provide 360-degree student support. Adrianna, a student in Clayton County Public Schools, was referred to us last year. A young mother, she struggled to balance between work and completing her high school diploma. Oftentimes, putting food on the table left little time for studying.
CIS of Atlanta Site Coordinator Renika Robinson connected Adrianna to financial resources for daycare assistance. No longer having to choose between the needs of today and the desire for a better tomorrow, Adrianna just earned her high school diploma. We are proud to announce she will attend Georgia State University this fall. Our dropout prevention program in Clayton County schools made the difference for Adrianna.
This is how we break the cycle of poverty and address metro Atlanta’s crippling income inequality.
I’ve written before of the impact guardians had throughout my educational journey, including undergraduate and in law school. Their support and guidance undoubtedly made the difference in my higher education success and in helping me identify a career path.
That’s why our CIS of Atlanta students know that our doors don’t close once they receive a college acceptance letter.
Student-athlete Christian is a proud member of the University of Missouri’s class of 2020. A first-generation college student, Christian received financial and emotional support from the CIS of Atlanta family throughout his four-year degree. It gets even better. Christian has been accepted into graduate school at Oklahoma State University where he will pursue a Master’s of Business Administration while completing his final season of eligibility in football.
Again, we are witnessing generational transformation take place in front of our eyes. Adrianna and Christian have a community of support that calls them to be the difference for those of shared backgrounds and experiences.
So many have supported CIS of Atlanta’s mission as we work tirelessly to provide education and wraparound services for our students and their families, particularly in light of a global pandemic and unprecedented unemployment filings. Last month, Black Entertainment Television, the NAACP, and the United Way hosted a benefit concert to raise funds for nonprofit organizations – including CIS of Atlanta – serving minority communities. Mercedes-Benz USA provided us three Sprinter vans so we could more smoothly deliver clothes, groceries, and other essentials to students and families.
CIS of Atlanta is dedicated to surrounding children with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Our student support services will continue through the summer, especially as we help boost morale for those who were anticipating internships, early admission into universities, and much-needed summer jobs.
If you are a metro Atlanta business in need of young talent this summer, or if you have another way you’d like to help our mission, I urge you to contact us at [email protected]