Camp Challenge brought back so many memories of my own experience at summer camp during middle school: the awkward first day when everyone meets, the apprehensiveness in trying something new, and then not wanting to leave your new best friends by the end of the week. What I don’t remember from my summer camp experience is all the educational material cleverly disguised as fun. Despite the blistering 100 degree weather, I didn’t hear a single student utter a complaint. This was truly a well-rounded experience for the students who decided to brave the outdoors for a week without cell phones and minimal air conditioning.
Through the NC Bankers Association, Communities In Schools of North Carolina was able to send almost 200 students from across the state for a one-week experience at the 4-H Sertoma Educational Center in Stokes County that would allow them to broaden their horizons, meet new people and establish tools and skills that may not receive in school, all for free! Each day brought a new experience and, without a schedule in hand, students approached one session just as eagerly as the next. From the typical arts & crafts, team building and swimming, to the not so ordinary public speaking, horseback riding and financial literacy, these students got it all during the week and couldn’t wait to come back next summer.
My personal favorite was the healthy living session. Did you know that a bag of skittles was 830 calories? With a suggested intake of 2,000 calories per day, that’s a meal. And the next time these students are headed to the McDonald’s drive-thru, they’ll think twice about ordering the double pounder with cheese, medium fries, large coke and a sundae. That’s about 1,850 calories. When they made their own meal, students choose salad with grilled chicken and an ice cream cone or hamburger with water, so that they can still indulge but maintain a healthy diet. Moderation is key.
For many of these students, this was the highlight of their summer. And a week without their cell phone proved to be not so bad after all.
Since January, Communities In Schools of North Carolina has produced the “Overcoming Obstacles” series that highlights affiliates, programs, volunteers, staff members and students associated with CISNC.
I invite you to watch the latest video on Camp Challenge in Stokes County where 162 middle-schoolers learned life and financial skills all while having fun in the sun!
Also, check out our past Overcoming Obstacles videos on YouTube. They’re inspiring and truly speak to the impact of CISNC.
I visited Camp Challenge last week so more to come on my amazing time there.
Who says summer vacation is for resting? Communities In Schools has so much going on, including an exciting partnership whose spokesperson is a Grammy-award winner and philanthropist!
The national office recently launched a campaign with P&G myGive with spokesperson John Legend! For every view of this video, P&G will donate 25 cents to Communities In Schools up to $10,000. Watch and share with your friends! Also, P&G myGIVE is donating $500,000 in products and an uncapped donation when you redeem July 31 P&GbrandSAVER coupons! For each coupon you redeem, a 2 cent donation will be made to Communities In Schools to help keep kids in school. #GiveEducation
At our state office, Communities In Schools of North Carolina has partnered with Walmart to present the ”Build A Backpack” back-to-school supply drive, the largest supply drive ever conducted by Walmart in the state. The campaign will run until Sunday, August 21 and includes all 138 Walmart stores in North Carolina.
CISNC has identified 77 of North Carolina’s 100 counties that will benefit from the “Build A Backpack” drive. To expand the campaign’s reach across the state, we are also partnering with other nonprofit organizations that are assisting us in counties where there are Walmart stores, but not a local Communities In Schools affiliate.
The cost of school supplies can really add up fast if you have children in middle school or high school, TI-89 calculators anyone? “Build A Backpack” helps ease these costs to our students, 97 percent of which are considered economically disadvantaged. It’s such an easy way to ensure that students are returning to school prepared and ready to learn.
So, how does it work?
You can participate in “Build A Backpack” in one of two fantastic ways:
Option one: Designated collection bins will be available in Walmart stores to collect donated school supply items, which will be distributed to students across North Carolina.
Option two: Don’t live in North Carolina, or don’t have time to go to Walmart but still want to make a difference? Good news! You can participate in this drive from the comfort of home! Visit Communities In Schools of North Carolina’s Facebook Causes Page to donate online toward “Build A Backpack.” Money collected will be distributed to the Communities In Schools affiliate or partner organization in each county to purchase needed school supplies.
Thanks for helping us ensure that students have the resources they need to be successful in school!
Durham Performance Learning Center
My name is Jasmine and I serve as the communications intern at the Communities In Schools of North Carolina state office in Raleigh, NC. My responsibilities this summer include writing press releases, managing our Twitter account (@CISNC), revising content for our marketing brochure and developing content for a four-page insert in the three major business journals in the state. I want to thank the Show Me Campaign for allowing me to showcase two of my passions: writing and education.
One of our initiatives is Performance Learning Centers (PLCs), which are Communities In Schools’ answer to addressing the unique challenges faced by students who are not successful in traditional high schools. PLCs combine an intense academic program with a strong personal support system for many students who are on the verge of dropping out, or have dropped out already.
Through our online courses, students follow their own pace. Therefore, students are not kept to the typical semester schedule that expects everyone to learn at a similar speed. It’s really based on each student’s motivation and teachers are there to facilitate learning. Through this, students are able to make up credits and graduate on time.
The Durham Performance Learning Center (DPLC) is one of five PLCs in North Carolina. In its fifth year, the DPLC serves 100-120 students each year. Sarah C., service coordinator at the DPLC, helps students meet their nonacademic needs, whether they are personal, family, school or community-related. As she says, “My job is to get in their business, find out what they need and learn how to deliver it, whether its finding a mentor, organizing college visits, or locating internships.” Sarah also emphasizes the importance of engaging parents by calling home every week, whether it’s a positive or negative review of their son/daughter.
Chris, a student at the DPLC, will be graduating at the end of the summer. He came to the alternative school in August 2010 on his own initiative; he says his GPA fell when he started hanging out with the wrong people. Chris interned at Habitat for Humanity in Durham this past semester, and worked in their office and at the build sites. It opened his eyes to the engineering field, which he looks to pursue after graduation, and hopes to work full-time for Habitat for Humanity. If not, his goal is to enter the U.S. Air Force. Chris has big dreams and states that it would not have been possible without the help of the DPLC. To students struggling in their high schools, Chris says, “If you’re having problems in school, you will understand the material when you get here. Teachers are always here to help you and you will get the attention you need.”