On the evening of March 15th, 2018, Communties In Schools - Atlanta hosted their 14th Annual Choose Success Awards Ceremony at Flourish Atlanta in Buckhead. This event was filled with patrons, professionals in Education, students, family, and members of the Communities In School (CIS) staff from all over the nation. This year’s "Choose Success" awards program paid special tribute to its patriarchal founders Neil Shorthouse and Patty Pflum. Additionally, this event provides an opportunity for the public to commemorate the achievements of CIS Atlanta and the students that are a part of it. For those unaware, CIS "allows students who face various social and economic challenges to be of service to others. CIS works inside K-12 schools full-time to build relationships with students that empower them to stay in school and succeed in life." And this celebration was a magnificent way of showcasing the progress and results of such efforts.
Following a spectacular reception where everyone was able to network in the Flourish Event lobby, I had the pleasure of privately speaking with CIS - Atlanta CEO Frank Brown about the organization as a whole and the purpose of this annual “Choose Success” Ceremony. Frank shares that their goal for the evening is to honor their past and to formally salute the unsung heroes such as Neil & Patty, the site coordinators and the children. Frank also goes on to share how the heartbeat of the organization is to breakdown academic barriers and to facilitate life-long successes among children in need both in and beyond their high school years. Examples of CIS Atlanta’s service to the community include rendering emergency assistance to families in need of lights, water, groceries, as well as medical or burial assistance if necessary.
By the time we made our way into the elegant dining assembly and received special presentations for the evening, Frank announced that there had already been raised $300,000. From one speaker to the next, we were graced to learn about the brilliant work of CIS Atlanta and encouraged to join the movement! Prior to, I also had an opportunity to chat with President and CEO of CIS National, Dale Erquiaga, who emphasized the value of making a connection with children by showing that we care and says “that simple act gives the child agency, empowers them to write their own story and choose a very different pathway”. Absolutely everything about the night was excellent! Lavished with a delectable 3-Course spread during the ceremony, we had a blast being able to fellowship with like-minded individuals seated next to us and gain a greater sense of community and the Power of Collectiveness.
For more information about CIS Atlanta, please visit www.cisatlanta.org.