The Mission of CIS
Connect community resources with schools to help young
people succeed in school, graduate, and prepare for life.

Our Purpose
To ensure that all students have the five CIS basic resources to help them succeed in school and in life…

• A healthy start for a healthy future.
• A safe place to learn and grow.
• A positive, on-going relationship with a caring adult.
• A marketable skill to use upon graduation.
• An opportunity to give back to their community and peers.

“Communities In Schools (CIS) has a focused mission, bringing resources to the place where children already spend their days – public schools. Programs and services are delivered in a caring, coordinated manner, yet in a way that is cost-efficient, responsive and results-oriented.”

Daniel J. Cardinali, National President,
Communities In Schools, Inc.

It's About Change, Not Charity

If you've ever lost a loved one, says Bill Milliken, you know how people immediately rush to you, surround you, hug you, feed you. But six months later, they're gone.
That's what Milliken, the founder and national vice chairman of Communities in Schools Inc., calls charity.
"That's the thing about America," Milliken said during a visit to The Eagle last week. "The way we give to people in need is unbelievable.
"But we're not about charity. We're about change."
Milliken's Communities in Schools, considered the nation's leading community-based organization helping kids stay in school, changes lives every day.
But his blueprint for changing schools has broader implications for our seemingly deteriorating society. Fix schools and fix society. Fix society and fix schools.
Communities in Schools introduces caring staff and volunteers to the children and schools who need them. It's his way of piecing together the social contract communities have broken with children.
As the safety nets of community -- networks of families and friends and institutions -- continue to falter, Milliken says, society needs to replace those safety nets.
But not with programs, per se.
"Relationships change people, not programs," he says.
Communities in Schools pushes three boilerplate values: It's about relationships, it's about community and it's about coordination.
Milliken says that there are "unusually dedicated" people in every community, but they need leadership and a call to arms. A strategy. Some direction.
"Love goes where the people are," he says.
And who are the people love needs to find?
They're people forced onto their rooftops by flood water, they're grown men who cry because they're unable to read, they're children who go to bed hungry.
"How can you say you love your neighbor, and allow your neighbor to live on rooftops?" he asked rhetorically. "How can you say you love your neighbor and allow them to grow up unable to read, or go to bed hungry? How can you say you love your neighbor and not give them the tools they need to survive?"
At one point in our conversation, Milliken talked about how the images from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina made him cry.

Serenity Eichholz, 2003 CIS Interview Challenge Winner,
now a junior at Southeastern University.

"I saw the Titanic," he said.
He explained that the people with education and jobs were on deck and able to land a spot in a lifeboat or jump to safety. The people without education and jobs drowned below, never even reaching the deck.
"Without an education, they're going to go down in the Titanic," he said. "How could that be anything other than a justice issue?"
That's why he wants to bring communities into schools and rejuvenate both in the process.

“Today, more than ever, we must let our youth know that there is hope for the future because they are our hope for the future. One of the best ways to communicate that message is by supporting Communities In Schools, an organization that turns kids on to learning by turning them on to life.”

Laura Bush, First Lady