Volume 1. Issue 10.
December 2019
A Year of Positive Growth and Change
by Adam Powell, President & CEO of CISDR
As another year comes to a close, we would like to thank you for being a part of the Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region (CISDR) community. It has been a year of positive growth and change at CISDR, and since September, I have been elated and honored to occupy the role of President & CEO. As a man who should have been a CIS student myself, having the opportunity to lead this organization has been incredibly humbling, and in many ways demonstrates the immense power that I believe our students possess.
Giovanni (see below) is just one example of the many students who have succeeded with our support. He came to Communities In Schools in the 4th grade with grades around 60-70%. With encouragement from his CIS Site Coordinator, Giovanni was able to improve his math and English scores, eventually getting elected as Student Council treasurer. Three years later, Giovanni is starting high school with a plan to go to Baylor University, his Site Coordinator’s alma mater.
There are thousands of Dallas area students just like Giovanni, who are ready to move forward with palpable passion and unwavering commitment. However, we need your support to help take them to new heights. 33% of our funding comes from donors like you! Invest in the future of the community with a direct donation to CISDR. You can set up a monthly recurring payment, or make a one-time contribution, at any time by going to cisdallas.org/donate, or by calling us at 214-827-0955 ext. 267.

We have a busy but exciting new chapter ahead for our organization, a chapter in which we will empower more kids like Giovanni to stay in school and achieve in life. You are part of our community of support, and we hope that you will think of us in your end of year giving. Thank you again, and have a great holiday season and a safe and Happy New Year!
Giovanni Succeeds in School
At the end of his 4th grade year, a shy boy named Giovanni signed up to attend our Capital One MathCorps summer camp. Giovanni never missed a day, and over the course of the three week camp, he started to open up with teachers and peers alike. With grades around 60–70%, Giovanni was in a position to tremendously benefit from CIS services, so Site Coordinator Maddie Worley talked to his mother and enrolled him in the program that fall.
Giovanni was excited to be a part of anything CIS had going on. He came to Homework Club every day, and with his grades improving, Giovanni started to come out of his shell and become a leader within his class. Ms. Worley encouraged him to run for Student Council, so that he could learn more about how to be a leader in his school and community. As a non-native English speaker, Giovanni struggled with writing essays and giving speeches. Despite being too nervous to speak at first, he eventually got elected as Student Council treasurer.

The following year, Giovanni went off to middle school. His new campus didn't have a CIS presence, but both Giovanni and his mother continued to check in from time to time. His mother was thankful for the guidance and motivation that CIS had given him, and when his grades started slipping and she asked him "do we need to go speak to Ms. Worley about why you are not doing your best?"

Ms. Worley connected Giovanni with some resources at his middle school, and when he showed an interest in theater, she encouraged him to sign up. He was still nervous about speaking in front of a lot of people as well as the English reading he would need for the plays. Two years later, he once again came back to say that he had gone to a science camp and completed a project that was so good that he got to present it to his class. He was so excited to share that he wasn't nervous at all about public speaking.
After a lot of hard work, Giovanni got accepted into the Adamson High School Collegiate Academy. Despite not having CIS in his middle school, Giovanni was still able to apply the skills he learned from CIS to guide his path and motivate him to achieve the best. As he enters high school, Giovanni is planning to go to Baylor University, just like his CIS Site Coordinator. With everything he’s learned, Giovanni can reach that goal and so much more!
CISDR Helps Students Succeed
In the 2018-19 school year, more than 50,000 students in nine area school districts had access to CISDR help on their campus every day (supplies, food, clothing, etc.) 7,530 K–12 students benefited from individualized CISDR support (tutoring, counseling, home visits, parent intervention, etc.) Of these students:

  • 85% improved in academics, behavior and/or attendance
  • 98% were promoted to the next grade
  • 98% of eligible seniors graduated
  • 99% stayed in school
"Doorknob Revelations" and Holiday Stress
While December might seem like "the most wonderful time of the year" to many, it can also be a trying time for those dealing with mental health distress. Here are a couple of things to watch out for in a student, friend, acquaintance, or loved one:

  • Doorknob revelations: when someone waits until the last minute (or close to the last minute) to reveal some problematic issue that they may be facing which could be serious.
  • Someone who has been despondent or depressed who is suddenly in a good mood. It could be substance use to feel better, or it could be that they have made the decision to end their life by suicide.
  • Strange behavior such as giving away personal objects or talking about not being around anymore. This could be a plan for suicide.
  • Someone who is relatively outgoing suddenly becoming withdrawn.
  • Suddenly seeming unfocused and distracted, perhaps preoccupied with a single matter (for example, being fearful of going home over the holiday break because certain family members will be present and that causes anxiety.)
  • Suddenly becoming clingy towards you, not wanting to be away from you.
  • Expressing irrational fears which do not seem based on realistic circumstances.
  • Rapid weight gain or loss: this could be either emotional or drug induced.
  • Change in personal hygiene, especially going from adequate hygiene to a noticeable decline in hygiene (smelly clothes, disheveled look, lack of interest in hygiene matters, etc.)
  • Sudden loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.

How You Can Support
If you notice something amiss, remember the ALGEE action plan:

  • A: Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • L: Listen non-judgmentally
  • G: Give Reassurance and Information
  • E: Encourage Appropriate Professional Help
  • E: Encourage Self Help and other Support Strategies

To learn more about the the signs of mental or behavioral crisis, enroll in a Mental Health First Aid session, so you can "say something" when you "see something". Upcoming sessions are on January 3 and February 21. Registration is $40, or $20 for educators. Go to cisdallas.org/mhfa to register today!
Last Minute Shopping? Use Amazon Smile
As you finish up your holiday shopping this year, you can give back to CISDR with just a simple click. Amazon Smile is a philanthropic program that donates 0.5% of your Amazon purchases back to your charity of choice. Use the link below to designate us as your preferred nonprofit, and then continue your shopping as usual to give a bit back to Communities In Schools!

Upcoming CISDR Trainings & Events
December 2019
  • Tuesday, December 31: Last day to donate for 2019!

January 2020
  • Friday, January 3: Youth Mental Health First Aid

February 2020
  • Friday, February 21: Youth Mental Health First Aid
Stay Connected to Our Community!
Thank you for taking the time to catch up with CISDR. Please visit cisdallas.org to learn more about us, and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Our Mission
The mission of Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.