Communities In Schools to Receive Award from the Texas Veterans Commission

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Communities In Schools of Greater Central Texas is being honored by the Texas Veterans Commission with a Community Partnership Award for Distinguished Service to Texas Veterans. This award signifies exceptional administration of the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance Grant and distinguished services to Texas Veterans and their families.

The award will be presented to Communities In Schools at a reception beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at the Parish Center of St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church located at 2412 Stillhouse Lake Road in Harker Heights.

As the only non-profit organization permanently housed on school campuses, the professional staff of Communities In Schools (CIS) are caring adults who make problems manageable and solutions possible. Referred to by the Command at Fort Hood as their “forward scout”, CIS identifies issues being faced by our military youth and their families and provides the assistance needed or the resources necessary to make their challenges bearable. With the War on Terror entering its twelfth year, CIS has witnessed a great deal of trauma endured by the children and families of our veterans. Fort Hood troops have participated in as many as four to five, and in some cases, even more deployments to the war zone. These numerous and exhausting deployment cycles have created an enormous amount of fear, anxiety and hardship for the children and families left behind.

The majority of CIS staff assigned to assist these military families are either prior service members or spouses of service members. This scenario has proven ideal in that it allows for a better understanding of what these families are enduring. On campus, the CIS staff provides academic enhancement such as tutoring and homework groups; supportive guidance and counseling such as deployment lunch groups to let these youth know they are not alone in this critical period in their lives; parental and family involvement in the students’ educational experience; and if necessary, basic needs support; e.g., food, clothing, school supplies, eye glasses and other medical needs, etc. The CIS staff also works as a team to bring activities and services to the veterans and family members affiliated with the children served. These services focus on issues surrounding finances, dealing with deployment and separation, career counseling, and any other topics the veterans indicate they find useful.

The Communities In Schools outreach to Fort Hood students and families was tremendous this past year. Over 1,771 military dependent children were individually case managed through a total of 57,329 services reflecting 85,910 hours. In addition, 582 home visits were conducted by CIS staff to these households. Student outcomes were highly successful:

  • 93% improved in academics
  • 95% improved in attendance
  • 97% improved in behavior
  • 100% stayed in school
  • 91% were promoted

Not surprisingly, the Texas Veterans Commission’s Fund for Veterans’ Assistance Grant is critical to veterans and their dependents. This financial support allows Communities In Schools to pay the salaries of professional staff to be there for these children each day as well as a vital point of contact for their military parents.

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Lisa Griffin

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