GALA DRAWS CAPACITY CROWD
Communities In Schools Southeast Texas honors Founders
Port Arthur, TX - Sandra Ellington, President of Communities in Schools Southeast Texas welcomed a capacity audience at the CISSET annual Black Tie Event Friday, January 20, 2012,. Featured speaker for the event, Bill Milliken, Founder and Vice Chairman of Communities In Schools, Inc. 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.
Cal Rutherford, the driving force behind the founding of Communities in Schools Southeast Texas, was the honoree at the event. Dr. Charles Turco, Judge Carl Griffith, former Beaumont Mayor, Evelyn Lord, and Montie Morgan, were among the past board members in attendance at the event. In recognizing Mr. Rutherford’s contributions to CISSET, Executive Director, Dr. Karen Newton, praised his ongoing support for twenty-one years and his assistance in attaining one hundred percent participation by the Port Arthur Independent School District this year.