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Elementary and Primary Education
Communities in Schools for the Golden Triangle Area
News Release
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Famous Author & Founder of CIS to be Featured Speaker 

Beaumont - Sandra Ellington, President of Communities in Schools for the Golden Triangle area, today announced the second annual Black Tie Event benefitting the CIS program.  Scheduled for Friday, January 20, 2012, the dinner will be held at the Holiday Inn Park Central in Port Arthur. Featured speaker for the event will be Bill Milliken, Founder and Vice Chairman of Communities In Schools, Inc.  Mr. Milliken is one of the nation’s foremost pioneers in the movement to give young people the help they need to graduate from high school and go on to rewarding lives.  His activism began in 1960 when he joined Young Life, an ecumenical youth organization.  He helped initiate “street academics” for young people who had dropped out of school and wanted a chance to resume their education as well as live-in programs for substance abusers and youth in need of shelter and support.  His experiences led him to search for a comprehensive approach to helping young people. This search culminated in the 1970s with the development of a model program that repositioned existing community resources into schools — the Communities In Schools network, which Mr. Milliken led as President until May 2004.

Communities In Schools is the nation’s leading community-based organization helping students achieve in school and prepare for life. Currently, the organization directly serves more than 1.3 million students and their families each year in nearly 3,300 schools in 26 states and the District of Columbia. Mr. Milliken has served three U.S. presidents and has received numerous honors for his commitment to young people. Most recently, he was the recipient of a 2009 National Jefferson Award for Public Service in the category of Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged. This prestigious recognition is widely regarded as the “Nobel Prize” for outstanding community and public service. Mr. Milliken serves on the board of Leadership Foundations of America. He is the author of three books, So Long, Sweet Jesus, Tough Love and The Last Dropout: Stop the Epidemic! He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2007 from Bard College.

The honoree for the event will be Cal Rutherford, one of the founders of the organization in this area.  As head of the Texas Work Force for the Golden Triangle, Mr. Rutherford became increasingly aware and concerned about the inability of his organization to place young people in jobs.  The failure to find work related directly to the lack of high school diplomas.  When he learned of Communities in Schools and its record of helping youths stay in school and graduate, his first reaction was to “pick up the phone.”  After gaining all the necessary information to form a C.I.S. organization for the Southeast Texas, he made of list of people he knew would help.  Charles Turco, Carl Griffith, Evelyn Lord, and Montie Morgan and the  late Jim Weber, came immediately to his mind.  Each had a unique perspective on the needs of young people and every one he solicited agreed to help.  Cal has since retired from Texas Work Force Commission, but he remains a strong supporter of young people and C.I.S.  He continues to encourage its efforts with both advice and financial support.

In 2011, the Black Tie Event was held in Beaumont.  This year it moves to Port Arthur where the Port Arthur Independent School District has enrolled one hundred percent of its schools in the C.I.S. program. 

Ocean Star

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