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1Celebrating National Volunteer Week, students of Communities In School (CIS) in Delaware recently partnered with the Food Bank of Delaware to prepare food and material packages for less fortunate families across the state of Delaware. CIS programs from Milford Central Academy, Woodbridge High School and Dover High School came together at the Food Bank in Milford in an effort to give back to the local community.

The Communities In Schools in-school classroom program, which is located at the Milford Central Academy, teaches sixth, seventh and eighth graders students life skills, proper decision making and how to build positive relationships. Growing in size since 2010, CIS has a focus on not only academic support but also on creating young leaders that have a productive and positive impact on their own community. Volunteering at the Food Bank is one of many opportunities that CIS students take part in throughout the year.

“Through working with the Food Bank I hope that our kids understand the importance of community service,” commented Keenon Mann, CIS Program Director. “Through this hands-on approach they actually see how their work can make a difference.”

Part of the service learning component, which is required of all involved in CIS, students packed up hygiene and home products that will accompany the food packages that are received by less fortunate families throughout the year. Food collected from the Food Bank of Delaware is distributed to people in need of food assistance through the Food Bank of Delaware’s 475 hunger-relief program partners which include local churches, food pantries, shelters and low-income daycare centers.

In addition to helping their own communities, students were able to see in person how working together can lead to more effective outreach efforts. Guy Harding, 16 year old from Woodbridge High School was please to see students from several different schools working together for one cause.

“It was pretty fun and interesting to see everyone working together for one cause,” commented Harding. “I learned that with organization you can help the community even more and make a big impact.”

Student Malik Powell, 18 year old from Dover High School, said that he was amazed to see how little some individuals have and that small things can make a difference. “Every little thing helps, even if it is eye drops or toothpaste,” commented Malik. “Seeing that some people do not have these basic things made me more humble and realize how fortunate I am.”

This was the third year CIS students celebrated National Volunteer Week partnering with the Food Bank of Delaware. Growing the event with more than 60 students involved, Communities In Schools is looking to continue increasing the impact that CIS students have on their local communities. Individuals interested in becoming a part of the Communities In Schools program are encouraged to contact Program Director Kennon Man at kmann@cisdelaware.org or Site Director Jennifer Bostic at jbostic@cisdelaware.org.

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