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a quarterly publication of Communities In Schools of the Midlands with information and opportunities to connect with students and schools so every child has a chance to succeed.

Volume XXIII, Issue 2

Important Dates January: National Mentoring Month 1/17 MLK Day of Service 1/20 E.L. Wright NineWeek Celebration 1/28 Dent Nine-Week Celebration February: African American history month 2/21 Presidents’ Day

On November 7th, Communities In Schools of the Midlands celebrated its 23rd year serving students in our community. Thank you for supporting our students’ success!

“A Safe Place to Learn and Grow” Communities In Schools of the Midlands, as part of the Five Basics every child needs to be successful, believes every child deserves a safe place to learn and grow in order to be empowered to stay in school and achieve in life. Students and their families may face many stressors, however by building on each of their strengths to improve communication we can help develop safe environments. In order to accomplish this at schools, our model calls for the creation of planning teams consisting of teachers, community members, administrators and parents to plan and provide strategies that can serve as the basis for building a “backpack” of

skills to improve communication. Many of the tactics we implement to encourage safety are based upon conflict resolution strategies. Here are some ideas for improving communication and building safe places. Stay Calm: Take deep breaths and don't respond aggressively. Address the issues: Respond only to the issues and never make it personal. Focus on one problem at a time: Agree to discuss only one issue and stick to it. If the person does something else to make you upset, try to address it at another time.

Listen to the other person: Sometimes people just want to “blow off steam.” Listen without interrupting until they have expressed their thoughts and pay attention to what they have to say. Don’t blame the other person: Use “I” statements to explain how you feel without blaming the other person. Walk Away: Sometimes the best thing is to leave the situation until each party is calm, and able to talk about it. These ideas can be used in any environment, not just school but with friends, family members or people we work with.

Western Soiree The results are in for the first ever “Western Soiree,” our effort to expand the Rhittie Gettone “Leading By Example” scholarship fund. With the help of our generous donors, $8,116 is available to reach more young people with scholarships which will provide opportunities for students touched by Communities In Schools of the Midlands to attend college and become productive citizens. On behalf of our students, thank you to everyone involved! The best dressed cowpokes award is presented

Parent To Parent “How do you provide your child a safe place to learn and grow at home?” “To promote a safe learning environment for my teenager, I keep our home computer in a public place and monitor use of the internet. This lessens the likelihood of my teen accessing sites that are inappropriate or counterproductive.” Ammie W. “I found that just having continuous communication with my teenage daughter has helped her grow, learn and be safe. Although some conversations can feel awkward and uncomfortable I learned to listen and not just judge and provide her with guidance which makes for a safe and learning home.” Elizabeth O. “We try and have dinner together as a family as much as possible at the table. Then the kids do homework and we assist as needed. No cell phones allowed in the bed rooms. You check it on the kitchen counter. We have a no TV or video games during the week policy as well.” Terry S. “I make sure my child knows it is much better to ask a question than not to ask. I make it known that no question is too silly, and he will never be made to feel dumb for asking a question.” Beth D. “My children are somewhat sheltered so I find that watching the news together and being there to answer any questions helps them to know how to be careful in and out of the house.” Simone G.

Partnerships Update: United Way of the Midlands has awarded recertification to Communities In Schools of the Midlands as having met their standards. Speaking of Schools ( will feature Communities In Schools of the Midlands along with Greenville and Charleston in January. The topic will be providing a child with a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult.

Surrounding students with a community of support E.L. Wright Middle School

Dent Middle School

C.A. Johnson High School

Heyward Gibbes Middle School

Success Coach Shelly Francis

Success Coach Randi Johnson

Success Coach Justin Hopkins

Success Coach Diane Paynter

Department of Juvenile Justice

Board of Directors Janet Bailey Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina Sarah Vann Bonds Palmetto Health

Thank you second quarter corporate donors! “Every financial contribution helps empower our community by connecting students with resources they need to be successful in school and life.”

Emily Brannen Board Vice President The South Financial Group Meda Cobb Department of Juvenile Justice Tammie Epps Palmetto Health Angela English Board Secretary First Citizens Julie Flaming Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Kathy Garrick Prudential Midlands Rhittie Gettone The University of South Carolina Charles Griffin Regions Bank Therese Griffin SCANA Corporation Anthony Hargrave Board President IBM Corporation Lori Marrero E. L. Wright Middle School Preston Sabalis Board Treasurer NBSC Terry Schmoyer Schmoyer and Company, LLC

Core Staff Terry L. Linder

Executive Director Madonna Gauthreaux

Director of Operations Jordan Thie

Development Director

Meet Our New Board Member Rhittie Gettone is our newest Board Member. Although she currently serves as Administrative Coordinator for the African American Professors Program, she once served Communities In Schools of the Midlands as Development Director. Rhittie is married to Vernon Gettone, Ph.D. She has two sons ,Vernon Gettone, Jr., who is the Head Tennis Pro for Broken Sound Tennis Resort in Boca Raton, Florida, and Rashad Gettone, a model and “budding” actor in Burbank, California.

Meet Our New Staff Member Justin Hopkins is the newest staff member at Communities In Schools of the Midlands. He will serve as Success Coach at C.A. Johnson High School. Before coming to Communities In Schools, Justin interned at the Communities In Schools of the Midlands program at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia and worked for Citizens Schools in Charlotte, NC. Justin holds a B.S.W. from Benedict College.

Columbia, SC 29202 PO Box 8884 Communities In Schools of the Midlands

Permit # 79


Non-Profit Org. Postage

Connection “Ads” For more information on any of these opportunities, call 803-254-9727 or email

New Year’s Resolutions for Caring Save The Date! The 9th Annual Oyster Roast is March 25th! at 701 Whaley (New Location)

Wanted Generous donor to contribute $1,000 to help us implement “Great Leaps” Literacy Program. The funds will be used to pay for the purchase of curriculum and training. We also need 4-5 volunteers to work in a middle school setting.

As you are making your New Year’s resolutions this year consider helping a student succeed by: Being a tutor for Algebra, English or Reading Mentoring a child Being a classroom assistant Donating school supplies Making a financial contribution Donating clothes for the school clothes closets Other opportunities exist… Visit for information

We are on facebook– Search for Communities In Schools of the Midlands

Help Students at DJJ Volunteer to provide one meal per year to celebrate the successes of up to 24 DJJ students. We still need 3 volunteers for the rest of this year and 12 volunteers for next year.

Help Stop Bullying We would like to implement a new curriculum addressing bullying. We need $2500 to fund training, curriculum supplies and student incentives for this new resource.


Volume XXIII, Issue 2 The results are in for the first ever “Western Soiree,” our effort to expand the Rhittie Gettone “Leading By Example”...

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