Across North Carolina, students are dropping out of school at an alarming rate. It's a problem many of our local counties face. One local organization is doing what it can to get students on the right track, at an early age. "You have to catch them early, you have to get involved early," said Communities in Schools executive director Cynthia Tart. That is the single mission behind the Communities in Schools organization -- keeping young people on the right track at an early age. Communities in Schools or CIS, is the link between educators and the community. In Brunswick County, CIS helps fund programs like after school tutoring and counseling. "We work very hard to get the community involved in the schools. The teachers are working very diligently and working as hard as they can to educate the students, and we are working as hard as we can to get the community resources in the schools," said Tart. Before Communities in Schools was established in 1995, Brunswick County schools had no after school care programs in place. Now, 11 school sites provide assistance to at-risk students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Last year, more than 700 Brunswick County students enrolled in after school programs. Supply Elementary principal, Dwight Willis said CIS is making a positive impact on his students. "CIS fills those gaps for us and helps us help our children," said Willis. "To have that extra help and to have that extra training and someone concentrating on a specific area with students really makes a difference." CIS provides many other services, like donating refurbished computers for students to take home to better prepare them for the classroom. "They do so many things. When we don't have any other resources and we need something in our school we can typically call somebody at CIS and if they don't have those resources, they are going to find them for us, and it's pretty incredible for a school to have that kind of resource," said Willis. Communities in Schools depends on federal funding, and donations. If you would like to become a community partner, visit CIS's website.
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