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Family Ambassadors Spreading the Word, Making the Connection

May 6, 2024

About 150 educators, school volunteers and business partners gathered earlier this evening for a special end-of-year event to celebrate Cumberland County Schools' (CCS) nearly 60 Family Ambassadors who are 'spreading the word and making connections' when it comes to engaging families across the district.

At the heart of the Celebration, Family Ambassadors were honored with awards, certificates and tokens of appreciation for their remarkable efforts in engaging families. Additionally, they were treated to uplifting words from former NFL Player Keith Davis, inspiring them further on their journey as a vital part of 'the team.'

Davis recounted a college football championship game where his team was initially behind with zero points in the first half. However, they regrouped at halftime, devised a new action plan, and emerged stronger in the second half, ultimately winning the game. This example illustrated the importance of resilience and adapting strategies to achieve success, showcasing that individuals can overcome challenges and thrive regardless of their starting point. Davis explained how this story highlights how educational initiatives. such as the Family Ambassador Program, can empower students and families from diverse backgrounds to succeed despite setbacks.

"As a former football player, winning championships was always exciting," said Davis. "But, more exciting was to see that everyone in our organization received a gigantic gold and diamond championship ring with their name on it. And, in the same respect, we thank you for being a part of this winning championship team as you create change in your community."

Since its inception almost two years ago, Family Ambassadors, spearheaded by CCS' Communications & Community Engagement department, have contributed to facilitating over 100 diverse workshops, sessions, volunteer initiatives and events aimed at getting families involved in their children's education.

"Family Ambassadors are vital bridges, reaching every corner of our county with innovative strategies to engage families," said Dr. Lindsay A. Whitley, associate superintendent of Communications and Community Engagement. "They serve as communication cornerstones within our district, using a parent-to-parent outreach model. Despite the benefits of mass communication channels like social media and notifications, these dedicated Ambassadors excel by finding innovative ways to share information effectively, strengthening our community and supporting student success."

As the Family Ambassadors work with school administrators and parent facilitators, many have established volunteer initiatives, promoted proctoring opportunities for testing, conducted social media safety and awareness workshops, arranged plant sales, raffles and other fundraising events and assisted with publicizing school and district events.

CCS officials have learned through research that parent engagement in schools is closely linked to better student behavior, higher academic achievement, and enhanced social skills.

"Thank you for being champions of family engagement, for advocating for our students and for making a real difference in the lives of our school community," said CCS' Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr. "You have helped bridge the gap between home and school, creating a supportive environment where every child can thrive. Your impact is immeasurable, and I am proud to stand alongside you in this important work."

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