CIS is about keeping kids in school because we believe education determines our future. Hopefully this is one thing that everyone can agree on – at least at some level. Keeping kids in school may be the biggest opportunity to change the things that need to be changed and create a future that is rich in independence, confidence and the desire to be self-sufficient.
There are several challenges that get in the way of children’s success and make staying in school difficult. Most of them don’t have anything to do with the work required in school but rather the nurturing of the heart and dealing with basic needs of life. Teaching is about engaging the brain and heart and requires different kinds of resources – maybe more than one teacher can present. The heart is as critical as the brain to performance, wellness, and emotional stability. When children find meaning in their life, and have a mentor to help them define their path and deal with the obstacles they are confronted with, they learn to be independent and learn to succeed in life.
Questions I ask myself:
1. Doesn’t it make sense to seek out children in need and create an environment that nurtures the heart so we can engage the brain?
2. Does the combination of CIS Social Workers and quality teachers in our school district provide the best approach for dealing with the life challenges that get in the way of education?
3. How do children in a negative environment, with no mentor to help them find meaning in their life, find the way to create a future for themselves and build confidence?
4. Can we change “takers,” those people looking for someone to give them something, into “contributors” by providing an environment that nurtures and teaches independence and self-sufficiency?
The concept of helping others to help themselves is far from new. A basic example that we have all heard, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”, is what this is about and, we need to find a way to begin teaching children why “learning to fish” will prepare them to improve their future.
The problem isn’t access to education, it’s helping children and families overcoming the obstacles and helping them to understand the relevance of education and it’s positive effect on our future. We should be asking the questions “What do you want your future to be? What do you want it to be for your children, your community, your world?”
-Michelle Jenkins, CIS Board Member