COPPERAS COVE, TX — Tears welled up in the eyes of Clements and Parsons Elementary Communities in Schools Campus Coordinator Robbie Wiley when she looked around her classroom.
Although she was not surprised by the generosity of the students and staff at her school, she is always amazed by their giving spirit during the holiday season.
Wiley collected more than 100 gifts and hand-delivered them so all students would have gifts to open on Christmas morning.
"The most rewarding part of my job is making children smile," Wiley said. "We all go through things and need help and if I can help even a little bit, I am happy."
The numbers of families needing assistance is greater this year with the ongoing pandemic. Services offered to students are as simple as new pairs of shoes or winter coats to providing backpacks of food for students to take home so they are not hungry over the weekend.
"I needed socks so I am excited for that and to see what toys I got," said one student who received assistance through CIS.
"We appreciate the help," said the student's mother. "We have had a hard year."
Wiley says there is a strong partnership between her and the staff at the school.
"Without their donations and help, this would not have been possible. They shopped, donated and wrapped. It was a team effort," Wiley said. "Clements/Parsons and CCISD believe in helping the whole child and this is just one of the amazing ways our district offers help."
Copperas Cove ISD employs CIS campus coordinators on every campus to partner with teachers to identify challenges students face in class or at home and coordinate with community partners to bring outside resources inside schools. Very few school districts invest in CIS representatives on all of their campuses.
"It's relationships--not programs--that change children," Wiley said. "The holiday season offers its own set of financial stressors for families. Together, we work to support them in every way possible."In the 2019-2020 school year, Communities in Schools campus coordinators were in 2,500 schools in 25 different states and served 1.62 million students nationwide.