The Big Give Results and South High School

 Dear Friends,

On October 10th and 11th, Communities In Schools participated in The Columbus Foundation’s Big Give. It was a wonderful opportunity to join our amazing community in this giving event. Thank you everyone for your generous donations and continued support of CIS!
Spotlight Series: South High School’s MENTORING Successes!
South High School is the school to watch with regard to Mentoring!

Extensive amounts of mentoring are happening at South High School thanks to second year CIS Site Coordinator, Tomeka Whitehead! Her legwork last year and over the summer has really paid off in numerous new opportunities and partnerships for the students at South High School.

Tomeka commented that “It is very exciting because, last year, we buckled down on the basics like attendance and uniforms, and now this year we are able to celebrate those individual successes and expand support for students beyond their basic needs toward career driven plans.”

More than half of South’s student population benefits from Report Card Conferences, in which volunteers from the community sit down with students and discuss their report cards. According to Tomeka, “This gives students so much confidence that their lives are important and that their academic goals matter.”

South has joined forces with Starfish Alliance, an organization that was born in 2002 with the mission to improve the odds of young people whose lives have been touched by the foster care system. Knowing that they were charged “to save as many as they could”, they have recently opened their arms to wrap supportive services around several additional clusters of kids – those in low-income families, survivors of trauma, justice-involved, and opportunity youth. Their extensive, personalized mentor program is being fully embraced at South High School!

This school year, South also partnered with Charles Martin and Clarence Jackson who run a powerful African American Male initiative called My Brother’s Keeper (MBK). This mentoring program is designed to address opportunity gaps for boys and men of color in our community. In November 2015, Columbus City Schools (CCS) was selected as one of 10 school districts across the country to participate in the roll out of the MBK School Success Mentor Initiative to address and eliminate chronic absenteeism for 6th and 9th grade students. This program is already helping young men at South High School in big ways.

Tomeka also helped roll out a Columbus City Schools district mentoring program at South called Project Mentor. In this bi-weekly mentoring program, community members are paired up with students in a 2:1 ratio to build relationships, discuss career goals, and affect change in student’s lives.

In addition to all of the organized mentor programs Tomeka has partnered with at South, Tomeka herself has had major success with her own one-on-one regular coaching and mentoring of students. Two of her students, Jackson and Marissa (above), have benefitted greatly from her mentoring and have gotten themselves out of very difficult life paths into leadership positions within their JROTC program! The students are winning all sorts of awards and are excelling in life thanks to their relationship with Tomeka!!!

We are very excited about the mentoring programs that have been initiated and are in place at South High School and look forward to measuring their success! Thank you so much for your continued support!

Amy Gordon, LSW

Executive Director

Communities In Schools of Central Ohio