DEARBORN — Communities In Schools (CIS) Michigan is looking to the community for help for local students in the Dearborn School District.
Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko brought the program into 10 schools in the district five years ago.
Gina Mroczka, program director of Ypsilanti and Dearborn, said that the role of CIS is little more involved than that of a guidance counselor or teacher.
“We empower children to stay in school and achieve in life,” she said. “We assist with any needs that a student or family may have. We are now present in 19 schools in Dearborn. We integrate into the school and the culture and do whatever the school needs.”
Starting with interview surveys, CIS tries to figure out what exactly each school needs to be able to offer support.
“Each building principal usually has a list of who is in need of academic, basic, social or emotional needs,” Mroczka said. “We report to the district hours of support and money spent, we do food drives five times per month throughout the district. I get to go home every day thinking, ‘I did something good today’ and it’s not the same thing every day.”
Amani Alnaqeb, a student support coordinator at Dearborn High School, said that she wants the community to know what it is CIS does.
“We want all local businesses, doctors, lawyers, anyone to support our programs,” she said. “Our programs include a college readiness program and without their support, we cannot support our students. We remove barriers to give every kid a chance to succeed and to have a caring adult to make sure they have a good day, even if it’s just at school. We find creative ways to give them what they need.”
While many local businesses such as Malek Al Kabob, Melt N Dip, Sweet Stacks, Noah’s Steakhouse and Aldi have donated different prizes or grants for CIS to use to help students, Alnaqeb said that many times local businesses don’t know who they are.
“We need community engagement,” she said. “We need it for helping students socialize; especially since the pandemic, many kids have struggled with communication and making friends. It’s not only limited to Dearborn. We need the entire community to be involved.”
CIS was founded in New York in the 1970s as a means to bring community resources into schools. CIS helps with academic assistance, basic needs, behavioral interventions, college and career prep, community and service learning, enrichment, family engagement, life skills, mental health, physical health and more.
More information can be found at https://www.communitiesinschools.org/.