On March 23, 200 people gathered at Old Country Buffet for the 15th annual Champions for Youth breakfast.  Guests were treated to a delicious breakfast, inspirational stories and opportunities to learn more about the work of Communities In Schools of Lakewood (CISL). The event generated over $26,000 of funds that will be dedicated to services and programs at Four Heroes and Tillicum Elementary Schools, Lochburn Middle School and Clover Park High School.

Ron Banner, assistant superintendent for elementary schools, and CISL board member, highlighted the impact that caring adults and CISL staff make at partner schools. CISL program manager and site coordinator at Clover Park High School (CPHS), Leah Livingston, explained the CIS model and introduced site coordinators and students who shared their stories. CPHS principal, Tim Stults, and assistant principal, Rene McCord affirmed the unique and essential contributions CISL is making at the high school that has boosted student achievement and morale. Stults noted, “it is no coincidence that graduation rates increased by 14% the year that CISL launched their partnership at the school”.

Many guests were visibly moved by the student presentations and a video of high school students sharing about their relationships with CISL staff. One student talked about dramatic changes to his grades and desire to go to college; another talked about CISL helping him to find stable housing. The role of CISL as “problem-solvers” at the school was noted by principals and students alike.

Next year, CISL will hold the breakfast at the McGavick Center so more people can participate in the event. A plaque was presented to Old Country Buffet for hosting the event for the past 15 years and the sponsor below were recognized for contributions as well. Please thank our sponsors for supporting kids and families in Lakewood:

$1,000 level:  Harborstone Credit Union, G. Robb Cooper, LeMay Enterprises, St. Clare’s Hospital, Cash America

$500 level:  Lakewood First Baptist Church, Columbia Bank, Puget Sound Orthopaedics, Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Pierce Community and Technical Colleges, Piece College Foundation, Flying Colors Painting, Rolf’s Import, Andie Gernon, Janet Cox & Fred Brotherton, Rick Kirk and Ellie Wilson.