Dear CIS Friend,

It's that wonderful time of year! The holidays are coming and our CIS hearts are full of gratitude for the many incredible community partners, volunteers, and supporters who step in and up to ensure our students and their families have a joyous holiday season! We hope to fill you with some joy this season too - especially with CIS EXPRESS, our holiday light tour! You can learn more below, and make sure to get to know our three new Reengagement Coordinators, who are a big part of making sure students have what they need this school year!


Ashley Hall, Executive Director

CIS EXPRESS is back and bigger and better this year! We will have 11 stops, new houses added to the route, two live event nights when participants can stop at our hot cocoa and cookie cafe, enjoy live performances from some of our students, and more! Also, this year’s CIS EXPRESS includes a guided tour that will help navigate folks through the neighborhood using an app on their cell phones. Thanks to our amazing sponsors, including TowneBank Chesterfield, the event is free! Register today to experience the 2021 CIS EXPRESS, and please tell others!

Join us to visit (by bus) three of our CIS schools, where you will meet our Site Coordinators, hear about the work being done, and see CIS in action! Space is limited so, please sign up early!

Date: Friday, December 10
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

To register, please email Wendy Lively at

Our three new Reengagement Coordinators are officially on board and connecting with our high schools students who have become disengaged from school. Each is working with one of our three high schools, in tandem with those schools' Site Coordinators, to focus fully on students who are chronically absent and at risk of dropping out. Let us introduce you!

Reny Harris

Reny Harris has a Masters in Health Services Administration and a background in mental health program coordination. For the last 5 years, he's been a CIS Site Coordinator in Richmond, working at one of their Performance Learning Centers (PLC). The PLCs  are small, non-traditional programs geared toward students who have not been successful in a traditional high school setting. We know his experience working at a PLC will be a great parallel to Carver College and Career Academy, Career Academy, where he's already working with Site Coordinator Mary Thompson to do home visits and run support groups for his caseload. He also comes highly recommended for being amazing at building relationships with students!

LaQuita Hailstock
LaQuita Hailstock has worked with Dominion Youth Services for the last 13 years and has moved up from a Mental Health Support Counselor, to a Senior Lead Counselor, and a State Trainer. She has a ton of experience in mental health, home visiting, de-escalation, and case management. That, paired with her passionate and go-getter demeanor, felt like the perfect fit to face the challenges of this year.  LaQuita is serving students at L.C. Bird High School, alongside our Site Coordinator, Talaya Oxendine.
LaTrina Lee
LaTrina Lee has a Bachelors in social work and is currently working on her Masters. She has over a decade of experience working with youth both in and out of school, most recently at Intercept Health as a Treatment Foster Care Review specialist. With her experience combined with her thoughtful and asset-based lens, she has a lot to offer the students at Meadowbrook High School. She has begun working with Site Coordinator Cecelia Greenwood to identify those students who are missing school and in need of wrap-around support so they can reach graduation this June, alongside their class of 2022 peers!
In October, students and staff at Bellwood Elementary School got to see a mural they helped create! In 2020, when we were all quarantining, artists Hamilton Glass annd Matt Lively, came up with a collaborative art project, designed to highlight the beauty of a community coming together, even when we were physically apart. They distributed coloring sheets to folks across the Richmond region, including at Bellwood. People, big and little, colored in their sheets and returned them to Matt and Hamilton, who then pieced them together to make various All In Together murals - including one that is now officially on display on the walls at Bellwood. Thank you to Hamilton and Matt for collaborating with CIS on this amazing project and donating their art to one of our CIS schools!
Harvard Says Gratitude Makes You Happier!

Each holiday season comes with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. However, for many this time of year is tinged with sadness, anxiety, or depression. Certainly, major depression or a severe anxiety disorder benefits most from professional help. But what about those who just feel lost or overwhelmed or down at this time of year? Research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it's built right into the holiday - continue reading

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