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Proctor and Gamble coupons to benefit Communities In Schools

By ALLISON MILES
July 30, 2011 at 2:30 a.m.


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To learn more about Communities In Schools, visit communitiesinschools.org.

Whether with toothpaste, detergent, dog food or otherwise, Crossroads residents can help students with a simple trip to the grocery store.

Procter and Gamble Co. will donate a portion of money brought in by the company's brandSAVER coupons to Communities In Schools, a national program aimed at keeping kids in school and helping them succeed.

Communities In Schools operates 28 programs throughout Texas, said Henry Guajardo, executive director of Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent.

The Crossroads' program, now in its 11th year, serves five school districts and has a presence on 12 campuses, he said. A recent 35 percent budget cut, however, means the organization must re-evaluate the way it works.

"We're looking for the best way to serve the Golden Crescent schools we have," Guajardo said, noting that, as a United Way agency, it gets some funds that way. "It's still going to be a challenge in the future."

Through the program, Communities In Schools staff members work on school campuses, overseeing lunch hours, helping with buses and doing other things regular teachers do, said Carole Kolle, director of Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent.

The goal is for the staff to be part of the campus, but remain separate so students know they have a safe, neutral ground where they can find help, Kolle said.

"The staff members are not counselors," she said. "They're intermediaries. They just need to be the ears and eyes of what's going on on campus."

Educational field trips and information about college and different jobs also join the mix, said Carmen Herrera-Lara, with the local Communities In Schools program. The program is good for the students involved, but it also benefits the community as a whole

The students are more likely to go on to higher education and earn better paying jobs. They, in turn, spend that money in their community.

"It's an all-around good thing when people stay in school," she said.

Caroline Boone joined CIS her sophomore year of high school. At the time, she was 16 years old and pregnant with her first child.

The program offered support and help in training for a job, she said, and the workforce center helped her find money for books, tuition and supplies.

Today, she said, she's a nurse with a good salary and a brighter future.

"I could not have done it without support," she said.

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