by guest contributor, Emily Kobza, Director of Development & Business Engagement Communities In Schools

Even though I’m a relatively new parent, I like to think that I’m knowledgeable about the things parents do to help their kids grow up to be healthy, happy, kind, and responsible. Well-child visits to the doctor. Clothes shopping when the season changes. Trips to the library. Bedtime stories. Hours spent making nutritious snacks and meals. Talking about how to use words to express feelings.

Through my day job with Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo, I am in the position of seeing how children can be derailed from success when they have gaps in these areas. With nearly 40% of children in Kalamazoo living in poverty, there are lots of kids with gaps between what they have and what they need to succeed. CIS wants to ensure that all children can take advantage of the opportunities in both college and career that our community offers.

CIS-1 CIS-2-2


CIS works to remove the barriers that derail kids from success by filling the gaps, igniting in them the hope and belief that they can succeed in school, graduate, and be prepared for life. We literally bring the community and all the ways it can help to where kids are – the school. With 90 community partners, more than 500 volunteers, and support from many people like you, CIS is helping to make sure kids get the health care, tutoring, food, homework help, counseling, clothing, school supplies, and personal care items they need. We make sure kids can access the support and resources they need – services and resources that already exist in our community but that kids and their families often encounter barriers to accessing.



If you can do a little extra this month when you are out doing your back-to-school shopping, please consider picking up an item from our CIS Kids’ Closet wish list. With more than 6,000 visits last year, the CIS Kids’ Closet is one of our most-utilized services and helps make sure all kids can attend school with confidence and dignity, ready to learn. When the new school year begins next month, our CIS Site Coordinators will get many requests for school supplies, sweatpants, underwear, deodorant, and much more.



In addition to our office at 125 W. Exchange Place in downtown Kalamazoo, you can drop your donation off at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts free Back-to-School Block Party on August 25 from 6:30 – 8:00 PM. CIS is also proud to partner with Harding’s this fall so be on the look-out for opportunities at your Kalamazoo Harding’s stores to get involved!

On behalf of the thousands of students we serve, thank you for supporting kids!


Emily- CIS Headshot-2


Emily has lived in southwest Michigan for most of her life. She is the mother of one and the Development Director for Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo. When she’s not working with the community to connect people to opportunities to help support kids and their success in school, she enjoys spending time with her family and checking out the great things happening in Kalamazoo.






By | 2016-08-16T05:27:22+00:00 August 16th, 2016|Categories: Around Kalamazoo, Newly Published, Parent resources|Comments Off on Filling the Gaps – Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo

About the Author: