Dear Friends,
Lessons Learned

It's been a year since COVID shut the world down and we never stopped, we won’t stop! Communities In Schools of Spokane County watched in dismay as schools closed last March. We knew how this would affect students and families. However, we also knew that we had to rethink our work and continue providing services to our students and their families while observing the CDC guidelines. 

The first thing we needed were masks, and when we couldn’t find them in stores we found a woman in Spokane Valley that was willing to make them for us. I was using one that I made from a shop towel and duct tape.

Next, we needed food, 2nd Harvest had food to give out to the community but no people to distribute it. We had people and distributed food weekly to 600-800 families a week at 3 different sites in Spokane County, Shadle High School, Sunset Elementary and North Central High School, for an entire year. The Zone Project had contacts in the food industry to get large quantities of food but no storage. We were able to use our site at Shaw Middle School to store food for all of our 14 sites.

We did hundreds of home visits to check in on our students, bringing them food, hygiene and cleaning supplies and helping them with technology when school started online. We created virtual meeting spaces where students could chat and play games together. We worked with Priority Spokane and created online tutoring for kids to help them with their homework.

We worked with Toothsavers to get them back into schools to keep providing sealants on kids teeth. We purchased hygiene and cleaning supplies with funds given to us from Innovia and other donors that trusted us to get these needed items out into the community because they knew we would do it. We shifted our annual Tools2Schools school supply drive and used the monies raised to buy noise cancelling headphones, earbuds, books and other items to help kids while learning remotely.

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to provide our students that live in low income neighborhoods with equitable access to the internet. We are close to getting a wireless internet pilot program launched in Medical Lake through Lokket.

On top of all of that Providence gave us money to provide our staff with trauma informed training to meet the growing mental health needs of our students when they returned to school. We received a grant from Morning Star Foundation to provide our staff with Motivational Interviewing Training which is a communication technique to help our students align their behaviors with their values. 

Our supporters supported us, we worked our staff hard throughout the shutdown. Some of them got the 'VID and are fully recovered. We never stopped and we won’t stop, thanks to our Board, our partners and everyone who said “keep going”. The lesson, #Allinforkids means something to us and going forward, we will work to make children a priority in Spokane County.



Sincerely,

Chuck Teegarden
Executive Director
CIS Superstars


The Morning Star Foundation’s vision is to help every kid develop the self-confidence they need to succeed. They fund children’s charities that provide disadvantaged kids with a safe place to call home, a family that loves them, a feeling of community, and opportunities to learn, build self-esteem and have fun.


Communities In Schools of Spokane County fits into their mission because we support students so that when they come to school, they come prepared to learn. Through the generosity of Morning Star Foundation we are able to train our staff in trauma informed Motivational Interviewing.

This is important to our site coordinators because it gives them the tools to work with their students that are facing trauma by reducing and minimizing resistance, resolving ambivalence and eliciting “change” talk that moves them towards their goals and real behavior change. Research has shown that Motivational Interviewing is most successful with at-risk populations, the students are able to align their behavior with their personal values and make lasting change. 

We had a few extra spots open in our training and invited other non-profits that work with vulnerable populations to join us and learn how to use Motivational Interviewing in their organizations as well. We are thankful for the grant we received and look forward to affecting positive change in the lives of the students we serve.
CIS Success Story
Our PrimeTime Programs have launched in a handful of our schools. Many people have asked how our virtual programing is going.

Our PrimeTime Programs have launched in a handful of our schools. Many people have asked how our virtual programing is going. An email shared by our Medical Lake Middle School Site Coordinator, Chelsie Price Hawley says it all.

I just wanted to take a moment to shout out our AWESOME mentor, Nancy. She's done a great job connecting with students, despite some technical difficulties we've experienced with virtual mentoring. The students always look forward to their mentoring sessions with Nancy. Here is an email I received from one of our students after the mentoring session today:
 
"It was a fun day today Ms. Chelsie! I needed to see somebody today! 😊"
 
Just a pleasant reminder of the importance of building relationships and connecting with our students, especially the ones who are not returning to building. They are lonely, but mentoring allows them time to interact with their peers and our wonderful mentor! 
We are currently looking for volunteers to serve in our virtual and in person sessions.

For more information please
contact Kelley Hinrichs, Director of Volunteer Services, for more information. kelley@cisspokane.org
Community Partners


Gesa Credit Union is All In For Kids!



Since last fall Gesa has been eager to support our schools by purchasing school supplies for our site at Lumen High School and just last week they purchased a beautifully diverse assortment of books for our site at Opportunity Elementary School for Read Across America Day.

Their passion to support the communities they are in is evident in their giving to local non-proifts. We are thankful to be a part of the Gesa Credit Union family and look forward to continually partnering with them to support students!

"As a member-owned not-for-profit financial cooperative, serving and supporting our communities has always been at the heart of our mission. We love working with Communities in Schools because of our shared commitment to helping students succeed. We’re grateful for the ways that they address inequities and empower young people, and we’re honored to be one of their partners.” –Angie Brotherton, AVP – Community Relations, Sponsorships & Education



Thank you Gesa Credit Union!
Meet and Greet
Rehn Reiley
Rogers High School
Site Coordinator

Rehn has been with CIS at Rogers High School since Fall of 2018. Rehn started as an Americorps and then became a site coordinator.

Outside of work he can be found in the backcountry, mountain biking, rock climbing and enjoying a plethora of other outdoor activities. 
 
Rehn sees himself as adventurous and consistent. In fact, when we asked Rehn if he could learn anything he answered Base Jumping.
One of the things Rehn has learned working with students is that life is not as good as it seems, and life is not as bad as it seems. What Rehn enjoys most about working with kids is seeing them succeed.

Rehn advocates for children to teach them that "they don't have to be repeat."
Upcoming Events
3rd Annual Blue Jean Ball

Saturday May1st, 2021
Break out your boots for the
3rd Annual Blue Jean Ball! 

Tickets for this years virtual and in-person event can be purchased at spokane.ciswa.org

Sponsorships are available. Contact Debra Raub at debra@cisspokane.org.



Volunteer Opportunities

We are looking for volunteers!

We are in need of support from community members like you. Please see the volunteer opportunities listed below. Please contact our Volunteer Director, Kelley Hinrichs kelley@cisspokane.org for more information.

Food Distribution Volunteers – Deliver Food Kits and/or Bite2Go bags one day each week. Delivery routes are needed in the Shaw and Garry Middle School neighborhoods. Time commitment is once a week from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.

PrimeTime Mentoring – Serve as a Virtual Mentor through our PrimeTime Mentoring Program. Do you have 30 minutes once a week? We have students waiting to be matched with you.

PrimeTime Tutoring - Serve as a Virtual Tutor for students needing educational support. Weekly sessions are 45 minutes in length. We will work to match you with your preferred student age/school subject.