Farewell from our Community Schools program

July 8th, 2018
Southwest Solutions' Community Schools staff at their farewell gathering

Southwest Solutions’ Community Schools program ended at the close of this past school year after the Detroit Public Schools Community District decided not to renew our Community Schools contract with the District.

We began our Community Schools program in 2013 and operated in 13 public schools in Detroit. At each school, the Community School Site Coordinator helped arrange for resources, services and activities that benefited students and their families. The Coordinator worked closely with the principal, staff and community partners to focus on the needs of the whole student so that the student would have a better chance to be successful.

Here are some reflections from our Community Schools staff about the program and its impact on students and families:

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have served thousands of families through Community Schools. We know we have a made a difference in the key strategic areas of decreasing chronic absenteeism, improving academic achievement, and addressing the social and emotional needs of students. Our Coordinators established more than 400 unique partnerships with organizations in the community and have connected students and families with healthcare, vision care, food assistance, tutors and educational assistance, mentors, extracurricular programs, cultural opportunities, and so much more. We have worked to make the neighborhood around the school safer and to build community with the school as the hub. We thank DPSCD, the principals, teachers, all of our partners and supporters, and, most of all, the students and families we have been privileged to serve.”
– Emma Herdean, Community Schools Manager

“Our kids are the best and they are our future! I leave with faith they will be the change we want to see.”
– Adriana Alvarez, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Western International High School

“I’m going to miss all 850 of ‘my kids.’ I know every child’s name and personality. The love I have for those kids is immeasurable. We have truly bonded over the years. I am grateful to have spent the precious times with them.”
– Lakisha Beebe, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Gompers Elementary – Middle School

“The students are what I will miss the most! To have such a profound impact on their lives outside of the classroom can’t be measured, but you see it in their smiles. Although the work of the coordinator is truly never done, I will cherish the memories and experiences.”
– Verea Bibbs, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Golightly Educational Center

“I will miss the families, my co-workers and the great feeling this position gave me. I loved being a Community Schools Site Coordinator.”
– Ardelle Bradley, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Bagley Elementary

“I love ‘my kiddos.’ They are the reason I have done and will continue to do this work in our community. Being a Community Schools Site Coordinator was a perfect job for me because it allowed me to utilize all of my random skills and knowledge: from teaching art and reducing barriers for learning and attendance to partnering with people and organizations and planning big events. I loved it all! I will miss my School and my Southwest Solutions family.I hope we will continue to partner to serve together in the years to come!”
– Kelly Cousins, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Ann Arbor Trail Pre K – 8 School

“I had the privilege of starting out at Southwest Solutions as an MSW intern and this past year, serving as a Community Schools Site Coordinator. This program has impacted so many students and families through partnership with the community and has enriched our school by implementing a holistic community-based model. Thank you for the opportunity to make such a positive difference in the lives of Detroit children!”
– Becky Dean, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Bennett Elementary

“To do this work you must love others, must love your city, must love to serve. And as you are planting seeds of love, you eventually notice how much you have grown. You see, the more you love, the more you grow.”
– Ana Martinez, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Harms Elementary

“I’ve never had such a job experience where I was able to positively impact so many people. I loved working as a Community Schools Site Coordinator.”
– JoAnna Powell, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Carstens Academy of Aquatic Science

“Working as a Community Schools Site Coordinator gave me a direct connection with students that has been more rewarding that any other job I’ve ever had. ”
– Maria Robles, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Munger Elementary – Middle School

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve our DPSCD families.”
– Sonya Vinson, Community Schools Site Coordinator at Mason Academy.

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