In Schools and Beyond amid school closures

Schools are closed, but Communities In Schools of the Midlands (CISM) is still open amid the highs and lows of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other non-profits across Columbia, SC, CISM has made swift transitions to continue their charitable efforts to meet the ongoing needs of the community. From virtual meetings and conference calls, to dropping off care packages and retrieving homework assignments from doorsteps, CISM has been going #InSchoolsandBeyond since school closings in March and increasing their relationships with community organizations to reach more vulnerable populations of children in Richland and Lexington Counties.

Site Coordinator and Social Worker
Tabitha Jones with parent of CIS student at Watkins- Nance Elementary School

The organization’s national office, Communities In Schools, National, has gone full speed to ensure that 131 affiliate sites across the US have the tools they need to advocate for families and empower all students to stay in school and on a path to graduation. Communities In Schools of the Midlands is 1 of 3 affiliate sites in South Carolina working directly in schools to build relationships that empower students to stay in school and succeed in life. CIS National President and CEO Rey Saldaña quoted in a recent article asking local nonprofits, faith-based organizations and business leaders to partner with CIS affiliates in their communities to prevent the disruption of essential supports and services and add additional capacity to meet the growing needs of students. 

Site Coordinator Susan Key with CIS students and family of Pine Ridge Middle School

CEO Tanika Epps has been in communications with school districts and the largest education investor of the organization, United Way of the Midlands to share the pure heart and soul of Site Coordinators and the significant effects on hundreds of students whose families already confront economic and social inequities. Ms. Epps shared a testimony in an article pushed by Education Drive on the affiliate’s response to COVID-19 and a family displayed due to loss wages. To see full article click here.

CISM increase capacity to meet growing needs of students


  • Site Coordinators transition in-schools intervention services to virtual check-ins
  • Assist parents with locating temporary housing
  • Deploy Resilient Richland care packages to 65 families at Watkins-Nance Elementary
  • Lexington United Methodist Church & Crossroads World Outreach provide non-perishable food items to Lexington Two Schools (Herbert A. Wood & Pine Ridge Elementary)
  • Motivational enrichment and social emotional learning virtual sessions
  • Deliver lesson plans to families with transportation challenges


  • Power In Changing Diaper Bank donates over 800 diapers
  • Joined Richland School District One weekly student meal deliveries to serve 29 families
  • Enter into partnership with T-Mobile and United Way of the Midlands to provide students with tablets and mobile broadband services
  • United Way of the Midlands COVID-19 Relief funds to purchase basic needs, weekend meals, connectivity services and materials for remote learning and virtual intervention services.  
  • First Choice by Select Health of South Carolina donated nonperishable food items
  • LRADAC donated alcohol and drug intervention resources


  • Prepare high school readiness resources for middle school students
  • Purchase masks and gloves for CISM families funded by First Presbyterian Church emergency donations
  • Power in Changing Diaper Bank donated 1,000 diapers
  • Delta Dental donated 500 dental hygienic items(tooth brushes, tooth paste, floss)
  • Midlands Fatherhood Coalition donated 150 Parent-Child Learning Activities
  • Address social emotional challenges by hosting Virtual Talent Shows and continue Dominion Energy Recycling Challenge to encourage healthy habits and creativity

Thank you community partners and donors for supporting the CISM COVID-19 Emergency Relief Efforts.