When the pandemic forced schools in Washington to close in March 2020, many district and school leaders worked quickly to plan for and address the needs of students alongside nonprofit organizations that quickly adapted to meet the needs of students. One organization that rose to the occasion was NAWA member Communities in Schools Benton – Franklin.

Communities in Schools Benton – Franklin works in schools to provide wrap-around support to students in need. Using a case management approach, Communities in Schools Benton – Franklin  works with school and community leaders to determine how to best support local youth. An affiliate of a national organization, Communities In Schools uses an integrated student support model to deliver a mix of academic assistance, basic needs, life skills, enrichment, behavioral interventions, and other program components. Last year, Communities in Schools Benton – Franklin served over 20,000 students across 5 school districts, including offering case management support to over 1,200 youth.

Executive Director Lupe Mares attributes their success through COVID to a data-driven culture fueled by her incredible team. “We have an incredibly dedicated staff. Everyone here wants to give all they have to meet the needs of our students, and we have really had to come together through COVID,” said Mares.

“The school district has been an incredible partner,” said Development Director Joely Nye-Felt. “Because we had such a strong relationship before COVID, they were able to turn to us as a resource to support the families.”

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