CIS Charlotte

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Communities In Schools 
2018-19 Social Capital Recap

Hello Social Capital Investors,
Bridging across difference, economic mobility for youth, trust and reciprocity are hallmarks that represent our lens on social capital. A year ago, community members gathered for All In For Social Capital at the Fillmore where we collectively committed to develop and implement many more impactful social capital opportunities for our Communities In Schools students.  The 2018-2019 school year was full of transformative experiences for our students, volunteers and partners. Over 200 community members and 278 CIS students benefited by engaging in over 700 different types of social capital exchanges.
With intention, we built innovative strategies that contributed to meaningful exchanges. Critical to the process was the formation of our Youth Advisory Board of 24 students from 12 high schools that provided vital insights. Seeing students' personal ambitions for success combined with a passion to make a lasting impact on their community inspired us. In describing social capital, a junior from Vance High School indicated that social capital was a "symbiotic relationship". Social capital, in its essence, can be a mechanism to build bridges across difference, create value, and offer gains for each contributor. Our challenge is to incorporate this philosophy in our work and across the community.

Read further for more about equipping community members and students, job shadows, professional panels, informational interviews, Opportunity Insights and Social Capital research.

Job Shadow Creation Workshop
In the fall, business leaders attended sessions that enhanced their understanding of how to challenge the growth of our students while expanding their possibilities and expressing care. All are attributes of the Developmental Relationship Framework, a foundational practice for CIS. Community members used these guiding principles to design customized job shadows for our students, which we branded in youth voice as being LIT. Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, 65 students participated in job shadows in the community with businesses such as Albemarle Corporation,  Bank of America, EY, Ingersoll Rand, LPL Financial, Red Ventures,Wells Fargo. Students participated in meaningful exchanges at each of these job shadows that included engaging in intentional conversations around international career options, developing LinkedIn profiles, assessing and evaluating grant proposals, and designing and presenting sales pitches for new consumer products.

CREW Charlotte and St. Gabriel's Catholic Church - Informational Interviews
What shapes us and what makes us became a theme at East Mecklenburg High School. Partnering with CREW Charlotte, we hosted a kickoff event titled "How It Was Built". Our objective was to share the professions of the members of CREW Charlotte (Charlotte Commercial Real Estate Women) with female high school students. Industries represented included: Law, Financial Services, Business, Architecture, Construction, Engineering, and Sales. The event highlighted East Meck's new culinary arts building by including the architects, financers, project managers and planners that were involved in the construction process in the program. Over 50 students engaged in a morning of exposure, discovery, and inspiration. The partnership with CREW Charlotte and East Meck will continue into the 2019-2020 school year as they customize their approach to match the needs of students.  
At iMeck Academy, one of our dedicated faith-based partners, St. Gabriel's Catholic Church, spent the 2017-2018 school year in service to iMeck Academy. Their primary focus was on school morale and supporting the most important asset in the classroom, the teacher. In 2018-2019, they wanted to broaden their focus and add value directly to the students. With great interest, but uncertain of how to engage, they sought counsel from the CIS Social Capital Team. We determined a course of action and advised that the most appropriate measure would be to take it to the experts: our students. We formed a focus group at iMeck that created connecting points between students and volunteers and facilitated sessions alongside CIS Site Coordinator, Robert Brown. Students shared their desires for personal growth and discussed their career aspirations. They also discussed tough topics with community members around race, economic mobility, and barriers that they recognize as obstacles to their success. St. Gabriel's volunteers learned much from the conversation and asked students how to best engage across difference.


Opportunity Insights and Social Capital Research

Over the last year Communities In Schools has deepened our work related to social capital as we have partnered closely with national leaders (including Opportunity Insights and Brookings Institute), Leading on Opportunity, and other local organizations committed to enhancing Charlotte's Social Capital. Together, we are focused on the following: 1) defining social capital as networks that increase child stability and promote economic mobility; 2) identifying practices that increase youth access to social capital; 3) measuring social capital and its impact on economic mobility. CIS is excited to be part of these conversations and action that have both local and national implications for the wellbeing of all children.

Access Granted - College and Career Access
In February, CIS hosted our Access Granted (College Essay/Scholarship Day) event at UNCC Center City. High school seniors overcame the cold and rainy morning to make strides toward their future. They heard from community leaders about college scholarships available and tips for searching and applying for them. The students then teamed up with mentors to review their draft essays and/or create essays specific to certain scholarships. A senior at Independence High School, received a $10,000 scholarship as a result of her work with her mentor to create a powerful, well-written essay and will be attending UNC Greensboro in the fall. 

Lean Forward- Expand Career Skills and Horizons
On April 12, in partnership with our corporate sponsor, Accenture, we hosted "Lean Forward" at the Charlotte Convention Center.  This event was a culmination of our efforts to provide our Social Capital Cohort of CIS high school students with valuable career readiness skills and exposure to professional expertise in their fields of interests. On this day, 160 students from six high schools collaborated with 91 volunteers from 35 companies and organizations across eight different professions- Arts & Entertainment, Legal, Marketing, Finance, Education, Healthcare, Government, and Technology. In response to our students' expressed industry interests, we designed a day that would honor their brilliance while giving them the opportunity to exchange social capital with community members. Social Capital Team Lead George Metz set the tone, kicking off the day with a call and response, challenging students to Lean Forward.  He exhorted them, saying that "Charlotte may be 50 out of 50 in Economic Mobility, but you are one of a kind and your intellectual capital will cause people to...Lean Forward!"

Event Highlights
  • Students submitted resumes and received feedback from professionals.
  • They participated in strategy sessions that challenged them to develop solutions to real - life issues within their industry of interest.
  • Industry professionals conducted mock interviews, giving students an opportunity to receive instant feedback and enhance their ability to tell their story.
  • Subject matter experts comprised the panels in each industry room for Informational Interviews, giving their insights and sharing a valuable perspective that expanded our kids' possibilities.
  • These interactions created rich dialogue among students and community members and truly established bridges across difference.
  • Guest Speaker, Laura Khaleel, provided the students with valuable insight on what makes a great interview and Keynote Carlos Davis emphasized to students that true networking is about serving others.
We value the community's investment in our students this year.  You play an integral role in our social capital platform to reach and impact students throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. Please reach out to us with your ideas. We believe the tremendous success of the past year is just the first of many steps towards generational progress.

Thanks for an amazing inaugural year,
The CIS Social Capital and Community Engagement Team

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