The Communities In Schools® of the Gulf South Story
Communities In Schools® (CIS) of the Gulf South was established in 1996 as Communities In Schools of Greater New Orleans. Communities In Schools® of the Gulf South is an affiliate of Communities In Schools, a national nonprofit founded by Bill Milliken over 40 years ago.
Bill came up with the idea of bringing community resources inside public schools where they are accessible, coordinated, and accountable. Bill once said:
“It’s relationships, not programs, that change children."
He continued, "a great program simply creates the environment for healthy relationships to form between adults and children. Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to-one level, and when they also have a sense of belonging to a caring community.”
Following in the footsteps of Bill Milliken, a group of committed local volunteers including Margaret Wall, Claire Stahel, and the late Frances “Frankie” Wittenberg brought the national Communities In Schools model to New Orleans. Since 1996, CIS Gulf South has grown from serving students at one school to serving over 11,000 students across Louisiana.
In the spring of 2018, Communities In Schools® of Greater New Orleans changed its name to Communities In Schools® of the Gulf South to reflect the growing needs of the broader community and to serve more students in our growing region. CIS Gulf South is continuing to expand and serve more students and families across Louisiana and began serving students and families in Capital Area and Acadiana.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
CIS Gulf South recognizes diversity as an asset and strives to promote equity and inclusion for all by being advocates for those who face barriers due to race, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or ability. Acknowledging that differences and inequities exist empowers CIS Gulf South to elevate student voices in respectful, compassionate, non-judgemental ways as we strive to model and to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for our staff, board, and those we serve. We believe providing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment is an imperative that empowers us to advocate for change. We hold ourselves accountable for working to create an atmosphere of respect for the dignity of all individuals.