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About Us

Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. We place staff inside targeted, high-need public schools, who work directly with vulnerable students and those with the greatest risk factors throughout the school day. Our unique model works because it’s based on national research, driven by community relationships and supported by local resources.

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Current programs include Student Support Specialists at 21 area schools; afterschool programs; tutoring and mentoring; Summer enrichment opportunities including the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools; programs to support and empower young parents; and Teen Court, Mediation, Restorative Justice, and Restitution.

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Communities In Schools of Cape Fear is supported by a variety of Federal, State, and local municipal grants, as well as private foundations, corporate, and individual donations. We always have a list of items needed to support our students and of course, monetary donations are greatly appreciated. 100% of donations raised here stay here, and are used to fund our local programs and youth.

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Student Spotlight

Graduate Spotlight: Luke

Today’s student spotlight shines on our student, Luke, just two days before he turns his tassel and graduates from Pender High School!

Luke is passionate about his involvement in the school and community! He spent much of his time at Pender High School competing in track, playing in marching band and volunteering with Beta Club and Pender County Teen Court — All while maintaining a 3.9 GPA.

Once he walks across the stage Thursday, Luke will be dually enrolled in Cape Fear Community College and UNC Wilmington to earn his degree in Laboratory Science with hopes to become a traveling medical lab technician.

Recently, Luke was invited to be a model for the CIS Fashion Show where he rocked the catwalk!

In his free time, he loves to hang with his friends, get coffee and go for runs.

“I am beyond proud of everything Luke has accomplished. He has great ambition and a can-do spirit. It’s been lovely to watch him grow as a person this past year and achieve what he’s worked so hard for. He is a superstar,” said his student support specialist Samantha Fitzgerald.

Stellar job, Luke! Congratulations!

Graduate Spotlight: Ayhauna


This week’s Student Spotlight celebrates one of our beloved students, Ayhauna, who will walk across the stage next week and graduate from Heide Trask High!

Ayhauna is graduating a FULL YEAR early!

She joined our Pender County Baby Steps program as a sophomore, expecting a baby boy. She began this school year as a junior, at the same time she cared for her son, Azayvian.

“The CIS Baby Steps program has helped [me] stay motivated! The meetings help me grow as a parent and stay focused in school! I really appreciate all that CIS has done to support me and my child. I am ready to take my next steps,” Ayhauna said.

Her educational journey isn’t over just yet! After she collects her high school diploma, she plans to attend CFCC for Cosmetology.

“I have loved watching her grow and come to realize their own potential and goals,” said Pender County Baby Steps Coordinator Donna VanVliet  “I am so proud!”

Congratulations, graduate!!!


Graduate Spotlight: Stefanie

This week’s Student Spotlight celebrates one of our beloved graduates, Stefanie, who will soon collect her diploma from New Hanover High School!

She was born and raised in Wilmington and plans to stick around a little while longer as she completes Cape Fear Community College’s EMT program!

“I hopefully see myself becoming a paramedic, or eventually working in a clinical environment as a tech,” said Stefanie of her future plans.

Her passion for helping others in the medical field was something she cultivated at New Hanover High, with her favorite class being Health Science.

She adds that the CIS team supported her each step of the way and reminded her that she was capable of great things.

“They supported any decision I made, while always encouraging me to challenge myself,” said Stefanie. “[They] always reminded me of how far I’ve come.”

Congratulations, Stefanie! We’re SO proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished!


This week’s Student Spotlight shines bright on our College Park Elementary student, Anthony!

Anthony is in 5th grade, and he and his four siblings grew up in the Wilmington area. He’s interested in music, sports, and engineering and he hopes to go to college for engineering and business someday!

He wants to become a businessman with a car dealership in the future, and his CIS student support specialist, Nicole Esposito, is there to walk beside Anthony as he chases those dreams.

“[CIS] helped with my mindset toward school and friendships,” said Anthony.

He describes his CIS student support specialist as nice, supportive, funny, and adds that Ms. Esposito “makes me laugh.”

We know there’s great things in store for you, Anthony!


This week’s student spotlight celebrates one of our shining stars at Penderlea School, Anadeli!

Anadeli is an active 3rd grader. Her favorite subject in school is PE and while she loves to play outside, she also has a flair for the arts. Her favorite hobbies include reading and doing art projects, and she dreams of becoming an artist when she grows up!

Anadeli says she likes her CIS staff members because they are nice and help everyone with their homework.

“It makes me want to be better in school. I go home wanting to learn more,” said Anadeli.

Even though she’s just 9 years old, she has already visited a college with CIS, attended a robotics field trip and participated in visits with the I AM HERD Mustang Sanctuary, where students get to interact with horses and a full range of farm animals.

We’re so proud to watch you grow, Anadeli!!

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