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by Sarah F. Wimberley

C.B. Community Schools is a small private high school in Roxborough (Northwest Philadelphia) where all of the students attend on full scholarships. Since 2015, they have educated and advocated for students in child welfare and juvenile justice systems as they “learn, heal, and grow into caring, confident, competent citizens of the world.” Their students, ages 14-21 have lived their lives in a complicated child welfare system and have experienced multiple home and school moves. Nearly 60% have spent time in institutional placements. Young people in the foster care and juvenile justice systems are more likely to drop out of school, experience homelessness, be unemployed or end up incarcerated. National outcomes for high school students in the child welfare system make it clear that we must transform our educational models to provide healing-centered supports that empower our young people to build the skills they need for the world. Impact100 Philadelphia awarded C.B. Community Schools a $100,000 core mission grant in 2021 in the education focus area.

Too many of our area’s students have been removed from their homes and placed in institutional settings to address their educational and social and emotional challenges. This is a successful model for prevention and diversion from institutional placement. We provide our students with the resources and skills to be successful in their communities. One student placed in juvenile or institutional care can cost between $100,000 – $200,000 per year. The C.B. Community Schools model, fully resourced, costs $27,000 per year per student.

The school has an 80% attendance rate, a 90% graduation rate, with 100% of graduates connected to post-secondary opportunities, 100% of students having access to onsite mental health services, and 100% of students are connected to employment opportunities. As a specific result of their socio-emotional support throughout the program, CBCS helps students heal from trauma, develop positive coping strategies and explore their postsecondary interests. Tasked with raising 80% of their budget each year, the organization has a budget of $1.9 million.

The organization was featured in Philadelphia Magazine’s December Issue, The Ultimate Guide to Giving Back, as one of the “30 Great Philly Nonprofits to Give To This Year.” In addition, C.B. Community Schools was one of ten Philadelphia organizations to receive a 2021 GSK IMPACT Award of $50,000 for their work toward building a healthier Greater Philadelphia region recognizing their exceptional achievements, overall excellence, and best practices in contributing to a healthier Greater Philadelphia Region. Their latest award will support their mission to provide quality education, health, and mental health care for our students in the child welfare system.

C.B. Community Schools welcomes volunteers.

To learn more about C.B. Community Schools, reach out to Impact100 Grant Champion Marjorie Stein.

For information about volunteering, visit their website or contact them via email.