Across the country, 14.5 million kids under 18 live in poverty. These are disproportionately children of color who already struggle with issues of access and equity. Without community support, they are more at risk for missing school, dropping out and failing to earn a high school diploma. By helping our most vulnerable students stay in school and succeed in life, we are building stronger, healthier and more economically stable communities where every person is capable of reaching his or her greatest potential.
It's relationships, not programs, that change children.
— Bill Milliken
Working directly in 2,300 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia, Communities In Schools builds relationships that empower students to stay in school and succeed in life.
Our school-based staff partner with teachers to identify challenges students face in class or at home and coordinate with community partners to bring outside resources inside schools. From immediate needs like food or clothing to more complex ones like counseling or emotional support, we do whatever it takes to help students succeed.
Founder Bill Milliken began CIS in New York City in the 1970’s. He came up with the idea of bringing community resources inside public schools-where they are accessible, coordinated and accountable. “It’s relationships, not programs, that change children,” Bill once said. “A great program simply creates the environment for healthy relationships to form between adults and children. Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to-one level, and when they also have a sense of belonging to a caring community.”
Forty years into our mission of surrounding students with communities of support, Bill’s principle continues to guide our work and serves as a beacon for the next chapter in our history.