By Dave O’Keeffe, Executive Director, Communities in Schools Lakewood
Sometimes all it takes is a caring adult to turn things around. Communities In Schools of Lakewood (CISL) received a mentor referral for a Spanish-speaking student who was failing all her classes. CISL matched the student with Kathleen Lamb, a bilingual soldier. They spent several weeks getting to know each other and strategizing for better grades. The meetings paid off. “I have no more ‘F’s,” the student said. “She’s a best friend … it’s not like a teacher in the classroom telling you what to do.” Kathleen explained that “Mentoring helped me to become a better listener. It’s a great bond and friendship. You feel better that the students are changing their study habits for good.” The student’s commitment to finishing her schoolwork enabled her to raise her grade point average and play on the school’s soccer team.
Each year over 300 children are referred by teachers and school counselors into CISL programs so that they can receive free tutoring and mentoring support. In addition, Readiness to Learn (RTL) Coordinator, Diane Formoso, assembles and gives out hundreds of “Growing Up Is Fun” resource bags to parents of preschoolers so that they can get their child ready for Kindergarten.
CISL programs are aimed at making sure every child comes to school ready to learn, and graduates from high school ready to achieve their dreams. We have Site Coordinators, After-school, Mentor and RTL programs at Lochburn Middle School, and Tyee Park, Tillicum, Oakwood and Southgate Elementary schools.
We believe (and research shows) that ALL children are capable of success in school, without exception, if they receive these five “promises”: 1) Caring adults; 2) Safe places to learn and grow during non-school hours; 3) A healthy start; 4) Marketable skills through effective education; and 5) A chance to give back through community service. CISL delivers on all of these promises.
Our Fall Campaign goal is $20,000 and 20 new mentors. Donations can be mailed to CISL at 6402 100th St. SW, Lakewood, 98499. Contact the office at 589-7489 to make a credit card donation, arrange a payment plan or volunteer. Details about our programs and mentor
applications can be found on our Website. Thank you for helping CISL to help more children and youth achieve their dreams.