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.


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Join us Nov. 8!

Grab your running buddies and lace up for the second annual Lexington City Schools Backpack Program 5k Run/Walk!

Runners and walkers will leave from the Davidson County Governmental Center at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 8 (day-of registration begins at 7:30 a.m.).

Registration for the 5K is just $25 before Nov. 1 and $30 after. Registration for the 1 mile fun run/walk is $20. All registered participants will receive a long-sleeve dri-fit shirt.

Visit to register online. Or call 242-1527.

All proceeds support the backpack programs serving students at South Lexington Primary, Charles England Elementary, Pickett Elementary, Southwest Elementary, Lexington Senior High and Lexington Middle schools. Read more.

Can’t run or want to sleep in? Donate your registration fee!


Event Sponsors


NewBridge Bank

Turlington and Company

Lexington Utilities

Fleet Feet Sports


The Dispatch

Brinkley Walser

Lanier’s Hardware

Mountcastle Insurance


Pierce Group

Food Lion

Davis Chevrolet

Black Chicken


Hayes Jewelers




Trader Joe’s

NEW! Lexington City Schools will now accept food donations.

The Backpack Programs at South Lexington Primary, Charles England Elementary, Pickett Elementary, Southwest Elementary, Lexington Middle and Lexington Senior High schools will now accept donations of food items in addition to monetary donations.

All food items donated to the Backpack Program must be kid-friendly, single-serve, and shelf-stable.  This is to ensure consistency and ease-of-use for students of all ages.  

Acceptable items: 

Juice Boxes (100% juice preferred)

Fruit Cups/Applesauce Cups

Canned Foods (single-serve and pop-top lids only)

Single-Serve Cereals

Shelf-Stable White Milk (single-serve only)

Other acceptable items: single-serve packets of crackers (no peanut butter, please); boxed raisins; single-serve snacks (cookies, chips, etc.); breakfast bars

Please contact Communities In Schools if you would like to organize a donation drive

YMCA Partnership

DSC00128_resizedNew for the 2014/15 school year - mentors are invited to use the J. Smith Young YMCA facilities while accompanied by CIS-enrolled students!

No membership is required and existing members will not be asked to use a guest pass while using the YMCA with a mentee.

Please ask for the Communities In Schools visitor log at the front desk to sign in and you’ll have access to basketball and racquetball courts, a game room, and bowling.

Please visit or email to learn more about this unique opportunity to expand your student’s horizons!

Amazon Smile

Amazon-Smile-LogoWant to support Communities In Schools just by shopping at your favorite online retailer?

Link your account to Amazon Smile!

It’s easy and once your account is linked all you have to do is shop – the Amazon Smile Foundation will send a check for 0.5% of all your eligible purchases directly to our agency each quarter.

• Go to Smile.Amazon.Com where you’ll be prompted to sign in and pick your charity.

• Search for “Communities In Schools of Lexington, Inc.” and connect your account.

• Start all future shopping from Smile.Amazon.Com and you’ll be notified if a product you’re about to buy is eligible for a donation. Most are.

• If you don’t remember to start at the Smile site, Amazon will remind you.

School supply drop-off locations

Several churches, businesses, and organizations have agreed to help Communities In Schools collect school supplies for the many deserving students who would otherwise be heading back to the classroom already a step behind their peers.

Right now our biggest needs are backpacks, three-ring binders, washable markers, colored pencils, and clothing meeting Standard Mode of Dress requirements. 

If you’re able, please consider making a small donation in the coming weeks at the Communities In Schools main office (6 E. 4th St., Lexington) or at one of these locations:

Bank of NC

Fidelity Bank

First Presbyterian Church

First Reformed United Church of Christ

Hospice of Davidson County

New Bridge Bank in Tyro

Parrott Insurance

PPG Industries

Turlington and Company

Tyro United Methodist Church

Walmart of Lexington

YMCA of Lexington

Seasoned site coordinator reflects on school year

Lexington Middle School students prepare for a trip to the Lexington Senior Center to host a Valentine's Day party for the residents.

Lexington Middle School students prepare for a trip to the Lexington Health Care Center to host a Valentine’s Day party for the residents.

The 2013/14 school year has been swift, exciting and, as always, challenging.

The year began with dual excitement of enrolling new students in the program as well as trying to put names and faces with approximately 30 new staff members at Lexington Middle School.

Our older CIS students are always interested in knowing what the activities are going to be for the year while our sixth grade students are just overwhelmed that middle school means not only having a lunch buddy, but getting to participate in events throughout the year.

My greatest challenge this year has been getting students motivated enough to meet the academic goals that they are capable of achieving.

This year we had twelve applicants who were eligible and willing to go to Camp Challenge for a week. Only six of the twelve that applied were accepted due to the mass number of applicants and the limited space at the camp’s new site in Winston-Salem.

We are anxiously awaiting our end-of-year celebration and field trip on May 23 at Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury.

As a whole, Communities In Schools has had a great year at Lexington Middle School. We’ve had much praise from the staff for the assistance that we’ve provided with whatever problems and needs that occur with CIS students as well as the rapport with their families.

CIS mentor receives N.C. Governor’s award

Deneesha Edwards received the N.C. Governor's Award for Volunteer Service during the Lexington City School Board of Education meeting on May 6.

Deneesha Edwards received the N.C. Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service during the Lexington City School Board of Education meeting on May 6.

On May 6, Communities In Schools of Lexington/Davidson County mentor, Deneesha Edwards was presented with a North Carolina Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service during the regular meeting of the Lexington City School Board of Education.

Edwards was one of only three volunteers in Davidson County to receive this award, which recognizes individuals, groups and businesses across the state making significant contributions to their community through volunteer service.

Edwards was nominated by Communities In Schools based on her outstanding commitment to being a stable, caring presence in the life of her mentee, Ja’Nia, currently a sixth grade student at Lexington Middle School.

“It is my honor to volunteer for this great cause and to work in partnership with Communities In Schools,” Edwards said in a written statement. “Being a mentor allows me to do something meaningful. Volunteering with CIS gives me a sense of purpose … I have always been a supporter of the organization because I believe volunteers have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of communities.”

“Deneesha is everything we hope to see in our mentors and more. She is committed not only to helping her mentee, Ja’Nia reach her true potential, but to helping CIS achieve our larger goal of preventing dropouts by providing a support system to deserving kids in need of extra attention,” said Ryan Jones, executive director of CIS.

Edwards began working with Ja’Nia at Charles England Elementary School in 2011. Over the last three school years, Edwards has helped Ja’Nia develop positive social habits and understand the importance of setting goals and staying focused.

“Picking up my lunch buddy, Ja’Nia is always one of my favorite days. I like to refer to it as ‘our time’ because we share personal stories, talk about school and life, and have a great time bonding as friends. She truly brings joy to my week,” Edwards said. “I would encourage others to consider being a mentor … It truly makes a difference. There are young people in the community who need a role model, someone to inspire them, and lots of love.”

Mentor establishes bond through play


Vicki Lindow (third from left) enjoys a holiday celebration earlier this school year with her mentee, Darla (far right).

On first glance, the sight of retired pediatric RN, Vicki Lindow playing in a mud puddle with a little girl who could be her granddaughter isn’t particularly noteworthy, but this is no ordinary nature walk.

Lindow has been a mentor to Darla, now in the fourth grade at Denton Elementary School, for the last five years; their trusting friendship developed over time as they shared simple activities like looking for signs of life in rain runoff.

“She loves science and animals so we talk a lot about that. She likes to draw and is very artistic,” said Lindow of Darla. “We talk a lot about the future and sometimes we just play.”

“Just playing” has been the key to their relationship according to Lindow. She decided to become a mentor through Communities In Schools of Lexington/Davidson County after some encouragement from her husband, also a CIS mentor and active community volunteer. She has enjoyed seeing Darla grow and mature in a healthy, positive way as a result of their time together.

“She now has a new perspective on life as seen through the eyes of another caring adult,” said Lindow, who also volunteers weekly at the Denton Library and is a Master Gardener in Davidson County.

“I love kids and see a real need for kids to get more adult influence and meaningful relationships. Our society has moved away from stay-at-home parents and working parents have little time. Extended family in our society today is frequently not in the same vicinity as the child,” she said. “They need good adult influence.”

Since they began working together, Lindow said she can see the impact she has made in Darla’s life in terms of improved attendance, performance and behavior at school, though she can’t take credit for her mentee’s naturally high self-esteem.

“She always has felt good about herself but we’re still working on her relationships with her peers,” said Lindow, adding that she wholeheartedly encourages others to follow her lead and mentor young people in the community.

“We need adults to mentor kids in formal and informal settings. Too often the kids are left to grow up with too little adult care or care that’s fragmented. They need a consistent, caring person in their life.”

A note from LSHS Site Coordinator, Amanda Bostick:

CIS students enjoy pizza during a weekend bowling outing at the J. Smith Young YMCA earlier this school year.

CIS students from Lexington Sr. High School enjoy pizza during a weekend bowling outing at the J. Smith Young YMCA earlier this school year.

It is so hard to believe that the 2013/14 school year is coming to an end. I have had such an amazing first year. I have become really attached to my 91 students and I am so proud of the accomplishments they have made.

In addition to all the hard school work they have done we have also had the chance to have some fun outside of the school setting. We went bowling, to a corn maze, roller skating, had pizza parties, and participated in parades, theater performances and college trips. We also just participated in the annual Multicultural Festival at Finch Park. I have been so impressed with the way all of my students come together as a group and love going places.

The mentors have been incredible; they really hold their students accountable for their actions and together we have made great strides (but) we aren’t done yet.

The prom is coming up on May 10, Relay for Life is May 16, and we are participating in the Spring Clean Up on May 17 at Charles England Elementary School. What an exciting time of year!

This year our seniors will be wearing something special during their graduation ceremony on June 13; during a special banquet held just for them on May 8 they received their very own CIS honor cord to proudly wear with their caps and gowns.

Someone asked me what the hardest part of my job is and I have to say that saying goodbye to all 21 of my seniors will definitely be the hardest. I am so proud of them and can’t wait to see what their future holds. (Yes I will be the one with a box of tissues at graduation).

Happy end-of-year from CIS and from LSHS! Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you have done to help these kids have a brighter future! They appreciate it more than you will ever know.

Longtime CIS mentor finds joy in starting over

Phil Mickey, a 12-year veteran of the CIS program, recently began meeting with Marcos at Southwest Elementary School.

Phil Mickey, a 12-year veteran of the CIS program, recently began meeting with Marcos at Southwest Elementary School.

Over the last 12 years, Phil Mickey has spent countless hours in the company of young people whose life situations are worlds away from his own. The experience of being a mentor with Communities In Schools of Lexington/Davidson County, he insists, is rewarding on many levels.

“I have been so blessed in my life and I want to share that blessing. Also, those that I have mentored and worked with through CIS have been a blessing to me,” said Mickey, a retired PPG Industries engineer. He currently works part-time at Pastor’s Pantry.

Mickey chose to become a mentor after learning about CIS at his church, First Baptist on West Third Avenue.

“Part of it is that I only have daughters and I thought it would be neat to mentor a boy. Also, I just wanted to follow through on my faith and help someone who might have a need,” he said.

Looking back on the relationships he has shared with three different students, Mickey admits it’s not always as easy as stepping into someone’s life and sparking an instant transformation.

“Through the years there are some disappointments as children get older. It is discouraging that despite your best efforts, you cannot always influence the results of a child’s behavior. Other influences are sometimes hard to overcome,” he said.

Finding joy in the simple, fun moments together is key.

“I have enjoyed going to a basketball game, seeing the Christmas lights at Tanglewood (Park in Winston-Salem), ringing the Salvation Army bell, and just having lunch and talking,” Mickey said, adding that he is looking forward to a fun future with his newest mentee, Marcos, a second grade student at Southwest Elementary School.

“It has been refreshing to start over with a new mentee and at a young age. I hope that our relationship will have a positive impact on his life over time,” Mickey said. “I am excited about the potential.”

The new friends initially bonded over a sticker book in the office of Southwest Elementary ’s CIS site coordinator, Stacie Thompson. Mickey said the activity helped him break down barriers and start the process of gaining Marcos’ trust and confidence.

“We then moved on to working on a writing and sentence structure book that his teacher suggested he needed help on. He seemed to really get excited when he was told that he was allowed to go off-campus with me to eat lunch. We have eaten at a lot of places that he has never been to before,” Mickey said, adding that he plans to let Marcos weigh in on their dining spots in the future. “I have really enjoyed eating lunch with Marcos; he is a neat kid.”