Communities in Schools of Richmond

Sarah Beauchamp, Volunteer Manager, and Dr. Harold Fitrer, President and CEO

Sarah Beauchamp, Volunteer Manager, and Dr. Harold Fitrer, President and CEO

H5RVA: Every nonprofit needs an "elevator speech"--a pitch about who you are and what you do that can be delivered to the captive audience of those riding the elevator with you. After meeting with you and learning about your programs, I feel as if a Communities in Schools (CIS) representative would need a building with 100 floors to have time to touch on all that you do. Can you nutshell CIS? Is that even possible?

Sara: We'd love to take all 100 floors to talk all about the students we work with but in a nutshell, CIS reduces the dropout rate by providing support services so that students can focus on learning. We have Site Coordinators working directly in 40 schools throughout the City of Richmond and Henrico County. We identify students most at risk of dropping out of school and set goals for them around academics, behavior and attendance. To help us in this massive endeavor, we partner with 350 nonprofits in the Richmond area and work with thousands of volunteers.

 H5RVA: How does CIS reach the students who need them the most?

Sara: Students are referred to us from their parents, guidance counselors and teachers. Our Site Coordinator meets with each student, assesses their individual strengths and needs, and comes up with an action plan to wrap services around the student to help them succeed in school.

H5RVA: What is one of the most hopeful trends happening in Richmond Public Schools today?

Sara: One of the most inspiring trends is the overwhelming engagement and support from the community at large. All across our city, families, businesses and individuals are rallying to support the public schools and let students know that their community is invested in their achievements. 

H5RVA: How can people help support CIS?

Sara: The three most impactful ways to support CIS are advocate, volunteer and donate. We encourage everyone to visit our website and learn more about the work we do and the students we serve, and then tell a friend or twelve about it. If you're looking for a hands-on way to support our work you can become a volunteer. There are lots of ways to get involved and we can make a great match that fits your schedule and interests. Finally, you can make a tax-deductible donation and know that you are helping to make a difference in the life of a student.

H5RVA: What are you going to do with this High Five?

Sara: We're going to brag about this awesome High Five by keeping it on display in our front office, and by posting about it on our social media accounts. 

Amy McCracken