Tuesdays are kind of a big deal for Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. As a #GivingTuesdayCLT participant since year one, CIS has added valuable volunteers to its Success Coach and Social Capital Bridging programs, among others. The organization has also gained community awareness by using the #GivingTuesdayCLT toolkit that SHARE Charlotte offers to all participating nonprofits.
On this particular Tuesday, June 11, CIS joins the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community in celebrating hundreds of high school graduates, who will don caps, gowns and grins as CMS graduation week kicks into high gear.
And next Tuesday, June 18, you get to support CIS in its mission to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.
The event is called Dine Out For Kids ®, and it's going on throughout the Charlotte area, from breakfast through dinner. All you have to do is eat a meal (let's dream big and eat all three meals) at a participating restaurant. No coupons, no flyers, no secret password. Just eat, enjoy, and know that you're supporting the nation's leading organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and on a path to a bright future.
You know what you need to do on June 18. Here's why you should do it.
As an affiliate of the national Communities In Schools network, CIS of Charlotte-Mecklenburg serves more than 7,000 students in 47 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools who have great potential but limited resources.
CIS takes a holistic approach to increasing graduation rates, connecting students and their families to the relationships and resources they need for success in school and in life.
The organization isn't "rescuing" kids—it's celebrating their strengths and potential, and ensuring that they feel supported, valued and have what they need to be successful inside and outside the classroom.
Ornella is one of nearly 600 CIS Charlotte-Mecklenburg seniors graduating this week. As the first African-American female to obtain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the JROTC at Myers Park High School, Ornella "loves being a role model for girls and other minority students." She also loves the color yellow, "because it is very vibrant, like my personality."
"My mother left a war-zoned country to come here and make a better life for me and my brother," says Ornella. "I have watched her sacrifice and struggle a lot, but she has constantly pushed responsibility, confidence, and love on me."
CIS site coordinator Stacey Weinstein has been another source of support since Ornella's freshman year at Myers Park. "She instilled hope in me, and has helped me grow into a woman with a mindset that is confident with what I want to do with my life."
Timothy is another senior graduating this week. He participated in the rigorous International Baccalaureate program at East Meck—and earned a 4.0 GPA. He also starred in his school's production of Anything Goes, participates in track and field, and works after school as an area manager in food and beverage at Carowinds.
This well-rounded student credits CIS Site Coordinator Nichelle Wilson with being a support figure and helping him develop coping skills. "She helped me find the strength within myself to keep going during the hardest times," says Timothy.
Ornella and Timothy are two of the hundreds of CIS seniors who are spreading their wings this week and setting out to share their many gifts with the community. When you Dine Out For Kids® on Tuesday, June 18, you're helping to fuel the potential for the next generation of CIS graduates. And that's something worth celebrating, any day of the week.
Show us where you choose to Dine Out For Kids®: Post your photos on social media with #FuelingKidsPotential and #DineOutForKids2019!Grace Kennedy is a Huntersville-based writer specializing in storytelling for nonprofits. Learn more at gracekennedy.net.