Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania Hosts Annual Staff “Kickoff” Event
The annual Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania (CISEasternPA) agency "kickoff" event, held over the span of three days, began on August 16th at 9:30 AM with a keynote presentation by Communities in Schools (CIS) founder, Bill Milliken. Initially developed under the name "Cities In Schools," Milliken's vision for educating youth in dropout-prone areas brought a community of support into schools. Milliken’s connection to the Lehigh Valley dates back to the 1980s when CISEasternPA trainings were held at Lehigh University as a part of the "Iacocca Institute." After developing the comprehensive approach to helping students currently used by CIS, he led the organization as president until 2004.
During his speech, Milliken discussed the importance of advocacy for social justice. He reflected on how CIS has sought to help construct legislation to get more support in schools — a process that took decades of diligent work to just "get a seat at the table." “You have to turn kids on to living before you can turn them on to learning,” said Milliken. Following the keynote presentation, Milliken participated in a Q&A session with his wife, Jean Milliken, former chair of the CIS of Virginia state office. The two were interviewed by Tim Mulligan, CISEasternPA’s president and CEO.
“We are very grateful for the support of Bill & Jean Milliken,” said Mulligan. “Having them both join our annual professional development day allows our site professionals to learn firsthand about the decades of work that have gone into the mission of CIS."
“One of Bill Milliken’s most famous quotes is ‘programs don't change children, relationships do,’” said Michael T. Raymond, communications manager at CISEasternPA. “During the event, this quote was printed on a canvas bag by one of our site professionals and given as a gift to Bill. This quote has stuck with us, and we were happy to memorialize it for Bill as a way of saying thank you.”