Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reaching for the Stars

Our guest blogger for the day is Cassandra Deguzman, a new marketing intern at Communities in Schools of Whatcom County. Cassandra is a senior at Western Washington University graduating in August, majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and minoring in Economics. Today, she talks about her role here at CIS and the big goals she is working on reaching.

After months of desperately searching for an internship, I stumbled upon an opening for a marketing internship at Communities in Schools of Whatcom County. As I looked into the mission, values, and impact of the organization and its programs, I was drawn into everything CIS stood for.

I grew up in Whatcom County my whole life and I had never been fully aware of how substantial the drop-out rates are in the very place I grew up. I realized many people in the county were also uninformed, so it is my role in the organization, to inform. 

Throughout my internship at CIS, my focus has been to generate awareness by utilizing social media outlets. Through the use of Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and the website, I promote the work that we do here. I let people know about upcoming events, programs that are in place, success of the students in our programs, and much more. 

Maintaining a strong, visible online presence is very important for growing organizations, such as ours, in growing awareness. The work that CIS does is incredibly important and it’s my personal mission to make sure everyone knows who we are, what we do, and what we believe in!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Improv for Education: Behind the scenes

Our guest blogger for the day is Remara Koppel, the site coordinator at Sehome High School.
Improv For Education is this Saturday and I’m so excited! The kids have been practicing for months and they are all eager to perform live. I’ve had such a wonderful time going to Options High every Thursday and watch them practice. I feel so fortunate that I get to be a part of their practices every week! They have me chuckling so often that by the next day it feels like I did 100 sit-ups!
I spoke with Leslie earlier this week and she told me that 5 of the Improvisers waited until 4:00 for her to finish a meeting to have an extra Improv practice. I love hearing that these students are devoted to Improv and love the time they have together. On Wednesday, I dropped by Leslie’s French class to pick up some last minute things for the Fundraiser and loved what I saw; there were about 8 tables set up around the room and it didn’t take long to notice that the kids from Improv were sitting together. Once Leslie had given instruction and let the kids work on their own, one of the boys sitting on the other side of the room got up and moved to the table with his improv pals. At the small school of Options High, friendships that would not have been have been formed on the common ground of Improv.
These kids have grown so much through Improv, it’s obvious to me and it’s obvious to the teachers. Many students started off the school year shy and soft spoken and now are jumping to participate and be called on by teachers! Leslie has mentioned that fellow teachers have told her first hand about how much more lively they are in their classes now. Though I’m very thrilled about Improv For Education, I must say that I’ll be a little disappointed when Improv is over for the year. I’ve started to like being around these kids. I’ve become invested; they are such a quirky group of teens, I’m going to really miss them.

Buy tickets now @ to see the awesome show that these kids have been working so hard for!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Every child needs: a one on one relationship with a caring adult

Communities in Schools developed guiding principles called the Five Basics. These are values that guide our approach to providing relationship-based support.  

Today, we live in a society where having the traditional nuclear family is far less common than as previous generations. It’s in the change to an alternative family structure that the existence of strong relationships and support are getting lost.  Today, we live in a country where a third of teens, which represents a whopping 8+ million, and a fifth of younger children, about 5 million, lack high-quality relationships with their parents.

In response to these facts, CIS recognized a need in these children’s lives to have a high-quality relationship- be that with a role model, mentor, or simply a caring adult. Programs don’t change kids, relationships do.

It is found that these high quality relationships are necessary for succeeding in schools and preparing for life.

Take a look at this video to get a better understanding of how being a mentor can instill positive changes in a child’s life. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mentoring Update

The mentoring program has been going strong for its second year with more than twice the number of students involved! In addition to the Community Volunteer Mentoring program last year, we’ve added another component to our program; peer mentoring! A handful of Seniors and Juniors have volunteered their time afterschool to help out some of the Freshman students with homework and studying. Many of the students mentoring relationships have developed into friendships which in turn has bridged some gaps between the upper and lower classman at Sehome High School giving everyone a greater sense of community and school spirit. One of the goals of the mentoring program is to ease the transition process into high school. We are happy to see that through these built relationships and bridged gaps, the hardships involved in the transition process are reduced.

Mentoring is just one of a number of ways members of the community can be involved in the future of young people and the community, as well as changing a young life for the better. Often times, all it takes is one hour a week to make an impact on a student's life. 

Here at Communities in Schools, we want to share the student’s achievements with you. This marks the start of ‘Student’s Story of the Week’, where we will be posting a new story each week about the success of students through the mentoring program, and the outstanding impact a mentor can have on a student’s life. You can check out these stories weekly on our website!

For more information on how to be a part of the solution, click here or e-mail us @ 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Here's a sneak peek for you!

Communities In Schools believes that receiving a high school diploma is critical for all kids. Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Improv For Education is an after school enrichment program designed to help students graduate high school-And it’s working! 

Watch this video to get a better understanding of a few of the things that we do! If you want to join us in watching what the students have in store for us on Friday, April 16 click here!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Third Annual Improv for Education


Join us for Whatcom County High School Students and Communities In Schools third annual Improv for Education!

The event will feature delicious appetizers provided by the Bellingham County Club, a silent auction, and a live performance by students. 

Funds raised support programming in Bellingham and Nooksack Schools. Communities In Schools connects kids and families with the resources need the help kids graduate high school. One in three kids is at high risk to dropout. Communities In Schools helps students as they work to graduate high school.

 Click here to register online for a night filled with great food and side-splitting comedy!