Local Teens Travel to Washington, D.C. to Attend Jefferson Awards Ceremony for Service Project

Jun 15, 2010, 12:24 ET from Communities In Schools of Nevada

LAS VEGAS, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Students from Communities In Schools of Southern Nevada's Fellows Academy at Eldorado High School will be traveling to Washington, D.C. on June 20th to attend the Jefferson Awards ceremony as representatives for their service-learning project that the students created as part of the Fellows Academy program.

These at-risk students recognized the importance of giving back to their peers, a key principle of the Communities In Schools program.  Together they created a resource center at Eldorado High School as part of their service-learning project. The center offers all students (provided complete referral paperwork from a teacher, administrator, staff member and/or parents permission) the opportunity to receive weekly food pantry bags, clothing vouchers, tutoring, backpacks with school supplies, college information & scholarship materials, medical care, snacks, computer usage, books, family assistance referrals, mental health counseling & community service, employment & career planning information enhanced by speakers and workshops free of charge.

The Fellows Academy is a dropout prevention program that connects students with the community to provide them with the tools and inspiration they need to succeed. Many of the students were in jeopardy of dropping out or failing to graduate on time before coming to the Fellows Academy program. Now thanks to Communities In Schools of Southern Nevada with support by the Clark County School District, Nevada Partners, and Olive Crest and funding by AT&T, these students are receiving the credits they need to graduate as well as the inspiration to achieve in life as displayed by the success of their service-learning project and their plans to travel to Washington D.C.

The students held a variety of fundraisers throughout the community to pay for their trip, including airfare, accommodation and food, but were also supported through a generous match by Communities In Schools of Nevada's board chairman, Elaine Wynn.  

In addition to attending the Jefferson Awards ceremony, they are scheduled to meet with U.S. Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. "If anyone would have told me that I would be going to Washington, D.C., let alone graduating from high school and going to college, I would have told them they were dreaming," said Katherine Forondo, A Fellows Academy graduate.  "But now I know that dreams really can come true and that I can do anything I set my mind to," she added. Macy's has generously donated a gift certificate to Katherine so that she can shop for a new dress to wear to the formal event.

"We are so proud of these students," noted Executive Director, Jessica Bretzlaff. "They have worked so hard and overcome so many challenges in their lives and deserve to be recognized for their efforts.  The Communities In Schools of Southern Nevada staff is honored to be recognized by the Jefferson Awards committee and is grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime experience that it will give our students," she added.

For more information about Communities In Schools of Nevada and their mission of empowering at-risk students to stay in school and succeed, please contact State Marketing Director, Carolyn Wheeler, (702)339-8516 or by email at Carolyn@cisnevada.org.

About Communities In Schools of Nevada: Communities In Schools surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Through a school-based coordinator, Communities in Schools connects students and their families to critical community resources, tailored to local needs.  Working in more than 3,200 schools, in the most challenged communities, in 26 states, and the District of Columbia, Communities in Schools serves nearly 1.4 million young people and their families every year. Communities in Schools has become the nation's leading dropout prevention organization, and the only one proven to both decrease dropout rates and increase graduation rates.

SOURCE Communities In Schools of Nevada