PEMBROKE — Communities in Schools of Robeson County will mark 25 years of helping students succeed in the public schools and in life with a celebration on Thursday.
The public is invited to the free event that will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the gym of the CIS Academy, located at 818 W. Third St., in Pembroke. A program is scheduled for 6 p.m.
On Friday, CIS will host a drop-in for alumni and parents from 1 to 5 p.m. at the academy.
On Thursday, Cammie Hunt, vice chair of the CIS board of directors, will introduce speakers, including Jill Cox, CEO of CIS North Carolina, and local partners, Dr. Robin Cummings, chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Kimberly Gold, president of Robeson Community College, and Shanita Wooten, superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County.
A milestone anniversary is a time to reflect on the past successes and the promise for the future, said Dencie Lambdin, who has served as executive director of CIS Robeson for 19 of its 25 years. Currently, CIS programs serve approximately 5,000 students in 18 Robeson schools.
“CIS began in the Public Schools of Robeson County providing student support specialists in six schools for tutoring, mentoring and advisement that gives students another layer of support,” Lambdin said. “The goal was and is to improve graduation rates and the lives of students.
“Today, we offer after-school programming, a reading program in eight schools, peer mentoring in two high schools and the CIS Academy, our charter school for grades sixth through eighth,” Lambdin said. “The academy is 20 years old with an enrollment of 116 students.”
CIS’s newest program is BakPak Pals, a program to fight food insecurity among elementary and middle school students. It serves 400 children with programs in Lumberton, Maxton, Fairmont and Red Springs.
“BakPak Pals and all of our programs seek to enhance student success by bringing additional resources to students,” Lambdin said. “We know food insecurity is a serious problem for children in Robeson County.”
The CIS Academy is the county’s first charter school and a poster child for the success of the entire program, Lambdin said. The academy provides small classes and individualized instruction, as well as additional enrichment activities. All the academy’s teachers are certified.
“In the beginning we went to the schools to recruit students; today, parents are coming to us,” she said.
CIS is America’s largest drop-out prevention program and operates in 26 states.