DSC_7228  Leah Livingston, Tillicum Elementary Site Coordinator & CHAMPIONS Mentor Coordinator

Communities In Schools, the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, has selected Leah Livingston of Lakewood as one of five recipients of the “Unsung Heroes” award, a national honor recognizing individuals who demonstrate excellence in helping students overcome obstacles to succeed.

“Leah has been a valuable member of our staff for three years, and has always put the needs of her students above her own,” said Dave O’Keeffe, executive director of Communities In Schools of Lakewood. “On behalf of all of the students and families she has helped keep on track, we are delighted to see her efforts recognized with the Unsung Heroes award.”

Livingston coordinates two highly effective programs for students in Lakewood:

  • The Champions Mentor Program which serves 85 students and mentors. Leah created a unique mentoring manual that guides mentors in the process of setting personal, school and college/career awareness goals
  • The Tillicum Community Learning Center which operates 12 hours per week and serves 80 students and their parents. Tillicum principal, Taj Jensen, stated that , “Mrs. Livingston’s positive and “always there for you” attitude is a huge addition to any school climate. She responds well to parents, teachers, staff, community partners, and children. In fact, it is clearly obvious that she is beloved by the children in our neighborhood, many of whom clamored to her to spend a few extra minutes just talking. She is a huge support for our community and trusted by staff, students and community members.

Site coordinators play a pivotal role in the Communities In Schools model by working inside partner schools and with school staff to identify students at risk of not graduating. By assessing school and student needs, and establishing relationships with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and other organizations, site coordinators harness needed resources to help students achieve their full potential.

Livingston and four other Communities In Schools site coordinators from around the country will be presented with their awards during a special ceremony in Charlotte, N.C., in January. About Communities In Schools of Lakewood CISL is part of the national Communities In Schools network, one of the nation’s leading dropout prevention organizations. The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Through a school-based site coordinator, CISL connects students and their families to critical community resources, tailored to local needs. Last school year, CISL served 1,500 students in After-School, Mentoring and Readiness to Learn programs, empowering them to stay on track to graduate. It has been shown through an independent evaluation that Communities In Schools is the nation’s only dropout prevention organization proven to both increase graduation rates and reduce dropout rates.