By Elizabeth LeRoy, Barcroft Elementary School CIS Site Coordinator

Barcroft Elementary is the newest school partnership for Communities In Schools of NOVA, and the first elementary school for the CIS of NOVA network. We are thrilled to partner with Barcroft’s students and families and to grow the connections between Barcroft and the surrounding community.

As the Site Coordinator for Barcroft, it is a new beginning for me in Arlington, too. Starting out in the high-rise world of Crystal City, I learned the ropes of volunteer management in my first two jobs out of college, quickly growing to appreciate the way volunteerism fosters community. While managing these service opportunities, I wanted to learn more about why the needs that volunteers showed up to address existed in the first place. Volunteers are a critical asset in alleviating the effects of poverty as they serve in food pantries, advocate for affordable housing, or mentor youth in need of a positive adult relationship. Volunteers do tremendous good to address these needs, and will continue to be an indispensable resource where they serve. But, I found myself asking, how can communities, including volunteers, work together for the greater good, which is to ensure the needs of the vulnerable are eliminated and don’t persist?

This question led me to pursue graduate work in social service administration in Chicago, from which I have recently returned to invest my training and experience in public schools for the good of students here in Arlington County. Communities In Schools has a strong track record of helping students achieve in school and in life by engaging people and resources in the community to support all students, and following up with those most at risk of falling behind in school.

I am excited for Barcroft and for myself for this new beginning with CIS of NOVA, and I look forward to working with the students and families in this community!