2011-2012 Children First/CIS Annual Report
Please enjoy our 2011-2012 Annual Report to read stories of the families we’ve served and other outcomes from this past year. Click Here to View Our 2011-2012 Annual Report
Children First’s mission is to empower children and their families to reach their full potential through advocacy, education and services. The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.
“Children First/CIS direct services and advocacy work go hand-in-hand. The programs provide important immediate help, but without a systemic change through advocacy there is no real transformation for the children and families in our community.” Allison Jordan, Executive Director
A community where children and youth are highly valued and are provided the maximum opportunity to reach their full potential.
Our Core Values:
- Respect for the innate worth of all individuals
- Mutual responsibility and accountability
- Integrity, honesty, and open communication
- Caring and compassion
- Community, service, and collaboration
- Freedom and democratic process
- Opportunity and prosperity
- Fairness and justice
Children First/CIS of Buncombe County is a not-for-profit organization that offers direct services to economically disadvantaged children, youth and their families. These services include:
- Family Resource Center at Emma that helps over 700 English and Latino families (approximately 520 adults and 532 children) in crisis with a food pantry, clothing closet, emergency financial assistance, parenting classes and a community garden;
- Latino Outreach that offers a Motheread parent/child literacy program, Love & Logic parenting Classes and numerous resources;
- Learning Centers that provides a safe haven afterschool for 60 at-risk elementary school aged youth (living in two public housing complexes and a section 8 apartment complex) to receive homework help, a healthy snack, enrichment activities and also includes a parent involvement component;
- Project POWER/AmeriCorps program that provides mentoring and enrichment activities to youth living in Buncombe County.
In addition to direct services, Children First/CIS also provides advocacy and community education to raise awareness of, and develop sustainable solutions to, issues affecting children and families and breaking down barriers of poverty.
Originally created in the mid-1970’s as Youth Services Action Group (YSAG), we were a collective voice for the needs of youth in our community. Children First was established in 1992 as a program of the United Way and merged with YSAG in 1998. In 2003, Children First then merged with the local affiliate of Communities In Schools. Through our direct services, advocacy and collaborative efforts, Children First/CIS weaves together community members, organizations, volunteers, and resources to provide services to the working poor and families in crisis living in disadvantaged communities of Buncombe County.
Currently, 25% of children in Buncombe County are living in poverty. Many of these poverty stricken areas are in West Asheville of Buncombe County. Children First/CIS helps fulfill unmet needs of everyday life for children and families living in the Pisgah View, Deaverview and Emma communities. These needs include food boxes from the food pantry, clothing, emergency financial assistance to prevent eviction or disconnection of utilities, case management to create a plan to get out of crisis, information and referrals to other organizations for assistance, parenting classes, a safe haven afterschool, homework help, healthy snacks, and parent involvement.
Nearly 100% of the families we serve are living in poverty with incomes below $19,000/year for a family of four. Neighboring schools have above 80% eligibility of free and reduced cost lunch, meaning their families live on income at no more than 130% of the poverty line. The unemployment rate in 2009 for Buncombe County was 8.3% up by 2.1% from 2008 and is rising. However, many people who are currently employed are underemployed or working multiple jobs.