Children First/CIS documents impact in annual reports on school initiatives

From Children First/Communities In Schools:

Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe County
Announces Continued Impact in New Report Released Today

Asheville, NC – January 30, 2018 – Children First/Communities In Schools (CIS) of Buncombe County released an Impact Report that includes new data on how the organization continues to help remove barriers for students and families who are unable to afford basic necessities, housing and medical care, providing resources, and surrounding students with a community of support. This report can be viewed at

This year’s report focuses on the importance of managing and improving attendance, behaviors, course-work and opportunities for parent engagement (ABC+P). Research shows that when a student is on track with ABC+P, they are more likely to succeed in school and graduate.

Natasha Adwaters, the newly appointed Executive Director of Children First/CIS, recognizes that instilling a love of learning begins at the elementary-school level. “Research is showing that the elementary school years are crucial for a child’s future success. For instance, if a child is not reading at grade level by the third grade, they are 4 times more likely to drop out of school during high-school. Our job is to make sure elementary-school aged children have the tools they need to be able to come to school ready to learn. These tools range from basic necessities such as food, clothing, and housing as well as tutoring and empowerment opportunities for the child and their parents.”

Children First/CIS provides these tools both in and out of the schools through their Project POWER/AmeriCorps, Student Support Specialist and after-school programs. By providing intensive one-on-one supports such as small group sessions, tutoring, homework help, enrichment activities and daily check-ins, the staff of Children First/CIS connect with our most vulnerable students to make sure they have the resources they need to thrive.

For example, Christina is the mother of a 5th grader. She tells of her daughter’s long-time anxiety about attending school, which led to chronic absences. “My daughter has had problems with anxiety, especially when it came to going to school,” she says.

Studies have shown that chronic absenteeism is a major barrier to a child’s success in school- if a child is not in school, they cannot learn. Students who are absent three or more times a year by the 3rd grade are twice as likely to drop out of high school.

But Christina has noticed a significant change in her daughter’s attitude about school since she started working with Children First/CIS Student Support Specialist at Eblen Intermediate, Dani Wilber. “My daughter is enrolled in Dani’s after-school programs (Working Warriors and Homework Club) and this is the first year that she is actually excited about going to school. It used to be so hard to get her out the door before, but on the days that she knows she is going to see Dani, she is jumping to get out the door! Having Dani as ‘her person’ at school has made a ton of difference for our daughter.”

Children First/CIS achieved the following:

  • 4,422 children in Buncombe County, or 10 percent of all children living in Buncombe County, received a service through Children First/CIS programming in schools and communities. These programs are in the schools and during after-school to provide academic assistance, enrichment activities, mentoring, holiday assistance, food, clothing, school supply resources, and school supports.
  • 200 families were served with Children First/CIS direct services and programming that helped prevent short-term crisis that could lead to homelessness and/or food insecurity.
  • 293 parents were empowered through our Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) classes Motheread literacy classes and parenting workshops.
  • Children First/CIS Success Equation partnered with other advocates to see the culmination of decades-long work to raise the age of juvenile sentencing. Starting in 2019, North Carolina’s 16 and 17 year-old offenders will no longer be placed into the adult criminal system and will instead go into the juvenile justice system where they can continue their education and receive treatment.
  • Children First/CIS Success Equation works to increase city and county investment in housing affordability. The result is new funding and policies for more housing options connected by bus, sidewalks and greenways that local families can afford.

Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive,” says Adwaters. “It is our responsibility as a community to ensure that every child, regardless of their economic background, has the tools they need and opportunities to succeed. We are proud of the work we are doing, but we know there is much more work to do. We look forward to another year of collaborating with our partners and supporters to secure children’s futures.”

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.