The "Free Hugs Guy" Visits Northwest NC 
Thursday, March 22nd and Friday, March 23rd, Communities In Schools of NWNC brought Ken Nwadike Jr., a well known peace activist, to the region. On Thursday, Ken spent the day speaking to the students of Wilkes Central High School. Ken spoke about his childhood, growing up homeless and overcoming obstacles. The students hung on Ken's every word, learning from him that spreading love, not hate, is the key to peace in this world. On Friday, Ken traveled to the next school CIS of NWNC will be serving, Sparta Elementary in Alleghany County. We didn't think it could go any better than it did at Wilkes Central, but somehow it did. The 5th-8th graders were entranced by Ken's speech. When asked if they had any questions, the majority of the students in the room raised their hands eagerly. During the last 20 minutes of allotted time, Ken allowed the students to come get their own Free Hugs and the students rushed the floor to hug him. It was a sight to see. The principal, Dustin Webb, expressed interest in turning Fridays at Sparta Elementary, into Free Hugs Friday and giving the whole student body shirts. Judging by the response of the students at Wilkes Central and Sparta Elementary, Ken's impact will be long-lasting.

To learn more about Ken Nwadike Jr. visit 
Strengthening Families Program Starts Back Up in Alexander County
The Strengthening Families Program started on Tuesday, March 20th. They will meet every Tuesday and Thursday at the Student Success Center until May 17th when they will have a graduation celebration.
Stephanie Davis is the Program Coordinator and will be giving you updates with pictures from here on out. Parent facilitators are Erica Johnson, Finance Director, and Shannon Morgan, Site Coordinator at Ellendale Elementary. Youth facilitators are Kelsey Ferrell, Site Coordinator at Taylorsville Elementary and Le'Rone Gore, Site Coordinator at Stony Point Elementary. Jettie Walker. Mentoring Coordinator is the alternate coordinator if Stephanie cannot attend. 
The evening starts with a meal. During the first hour, the parents and youth go into separate rooms where they work on skills to help bridge any barriers in their families. For the last hour, they practice what they have learned through games and role-playing. Childcare for the families participating is available during the sessions.

Lip Sync Battle 2018

Lip sync challengers from all over the region came together Thursday, March 15th to benefit the students served by Communities In Schools of Northwest NC. The night kicked off with the CIS challenge- CISNC vs. CIS of NWNC. CISNC's, Collin Leary did a fantastic rendition of Frozen's "Let It Go," taking it all the way with his Elsa costume and back-up Olaf, played by CISNC's Morgan Vail. Despite the effort of the state office, CIS of NWNC couldn't let them win. Tiger, Jeremy, Caitlin, and Sarah, from the NWNC, staff rocked it out with a choreographed performance of the Kenny Loggins hit, "Footloose." By audience applause, CIS of NWNC won this challenge.
Moravian Falls 5th grade and Mrs. Marino's 5th-grade class from Mulberry Elementary battled it out next. Moravian Falls performed "Fallin' For Ya" from Teen Beach Movie Two and Team Marino challenged with the Kidz Bop version of Bruno Mars' "24K Magic." This challenge was so close, the decision was taken to the judges who chose Team Marino. 
Next up, West Wilkes Cheerleaders and the Wilkes Community Partnership for Children went head to head. Up first, the Partnership for Children performed Aretha Franklin's "Respect," with Aretha played by the Executive Director, Susan Cogdill. The West Wilkes Cheerleaders performed a mash-up of girl power songs with a surprise appearance by Kathy Lovette, the WWHS Varsity Cheerleading Head Coach (who is also Jeremy's Grandma!). This time the judges chose the Partnership for Children, but like every other challenge, it was a close one. Both groups knocked it out. 
To finish up the evening, CIS of NWNC brought back two of the original lip sync stars from the past lip sync battles, Chloe Witherspoon and Leila Dobbins. Chloe sassed it up with her performance of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" and Leila brought down the house with the 90's classic, "Space Jam." This tie was too close to call, these cuties were both awarded trophies. 
The final award is given by the judges who calculated scores for each challenger based on song choice, appearance, stage presence/choreography, and accuracy. After a tough deliberation, the Judge's Award went to Team Marino's 5th-grade class from Mulberry Elementary. 
A special thank you to our sponsors:
Craftmaster Furniture, Miller Funeral Service, Accessible Cruise and Travel, Crumpton Law, Riders of Faith, Betsy Welborn, Ken Yarbrough and Edward Jones Financial Advisor, Craig Langston.
Another special shout out to our judges, who take on the toughest job in the house:
Kevin Mann, Craftmaster Senior VP of Operations
Michael Duncan, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge
Janet Handy, Clerk of Superior Court.
Are you in Alexander County? Craving that original chicken sandwich everyone loves so much? Call 33-903-4897 to place your order today. We even deliver orders of 10 lunches or more!
The phrase 'Communities In Schools' rings true for Wilkes County High Schools in March
brought to you by Student Support Specialist, Dana Zacharias
CIS provided a workshop for Wilkes Early College High School on March 1st. Linda Cheek, President of Wilkes Chamber of Commerce presented about commerce and tourism in Wilkes County. She spoke about the history of Wilkes and the road to tourism and commerce today.
On March 2nd Dana brought a workshop to Wilkes Early College High School for 9th graders. Cindi Blackburn with Project Lazarus presented about drug abuse prevention. She spoke about the dangers of drug abuse, drug addiction, removing the stigma for those needing help and community resources. She also spoke to the students on March 23rd about Media Influences and Health. The students are challenged to think critically about how they choose the media they favor and to become more aware of how the media presents issues relating to health and taking risks.
 spoke at West High School to the Freshmen Success Academy and presented about healthy and unhealthy relationships in a series of workshops. She also hosted workshops for Wilkes Central High, East Wilkes High and North Wilkes High Schools March 19, 21, and 22 for the Turning Points Programs.
The YMCA hosted a workshop for Wilkes Early College High School 9th grades on March 16th. Lisa Beard, Associate Engagement Director, gave the students a tour and then led them in a
high-intensity workout utilizing their cross fit room at the YMCA. The students learned techniques to working out, not only at the gym but anywhere!
CIS of NWNC will be having the 15th Annual Headed to College race on May 12th, 2018. Thanks to a grant awarded to the race by The Health Foundation, CIS is offering a $2000 award to the PE Department of the school with the most participation. This can mean students, parents, grandparents, faculty, staff, your mama's best friend from high school, as long as you put the school you're representing on your registration form, YOU COUNT! It's only $10 dollars for kids and $25 dollars for adults. Hurry up and register today to ensure you get a T-Shirt. 
CJ Ballard will be playing at the finish line, refreshments will be provided, and we may even have some free hugs to give out! You don't want to miss this race. 
100% of the proceeds go to Communities In Schools of Northwest NC. Go on vacation anywhere, but help your community locally! Win-Win. 
Call Phil @ 828-781-5769 or visit
(don't be fooled by the website, it's not just for cruises!)
Copyright © 2018 Communities In Schools of Northwest NC, All rights reserved.

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