Our Impact

CIS Alumni

Ready for What’s Next!

Whether a student has been with the CISM family for several years or just joined as a high school senior, seeing them graduate – on time – is one of the most rewarding experiences for our team.

Like their families and loved ones, we are grateful to celebrate and be a part of their journey. However, the support and guidance our specialists provide are designed to prepare students for their post-secondary goals as well, from help with college applications, entrance exams, and financial aid applications to career counseling, finding paid internship opportunities, practicing interview skills, and much more.

Words from Others

CIS of Memphis has impacted my life in more ways than I can say because my specialist knows [students] will be the future of the world one day and helps us decide on a great future for ourselves. Even after we depart from CIS of Memphis’ presence in high school, [my specialist] still checks up on us and lets us know how much we are cared for, especially when it comes to our future.


Jones, Austin Peay State University Student (CISM Class of 2017)

Success Story

CISM College Trunk Party

Recognizing that many of our graduates have grown up in impoverished conditions and do not have everything they need to be fully prepared for their first year of college, CIS of Memphis started a new tradition in 2021 to help give our alumni the best chance to be successful and reach their potential after high school.

Thanks to incredible support from our community partners and individual CISM donors, 65 case-managed seniors were celebrated for their accomplishments and rewarded with essential supplies for college during the second annual College Trunk Party on June 22, 2022. It was an amazing night, as students and their proud families joined the CISM team at the Memphis Athletic Ministries Grizzlies Center. Each senior student received a trunk full of much-needed resources, from laptops and linens to desk lamps and dorm supplies, to begin their college journey.

The event is one of the most special highlights of the year and a shining example of CISM’s commitment to surrounding students with a community of support, empowering them to achieve in life.

Special thanks go to our 2022 event sponsors, including WorkForce Mid-South, The Burroughs Foundation, and the Memphis City Council, as well as many individual donors. In total, more than $26,000 was raised for the 2022 Trunk Party, which allowed CISM to reward seven times as many seniors as the previous year!


Empowering Alumni Voice & Action

Along the journey to graduation, CISM strives to equip youth with the capacity and power to create possibilities for themselves and become self-sufficient throughout adulthood.

Success Story

CISM Alum Q’Derrin Scott Finds the “Power of IN”

The CISM mission is about eliminating barriers and creating access to opportunities so students can achieve in life. CISM alum Q’Derrin Scott earned the opportunity of a lifetime as one of a select group of alumni from CIS affiliates across the country to be awarded a scholarship to attend the 2022 CIS National DEI Summit in the fall. The DEI Summit is designed to lift up the voices and experiences of today’s youth and empower them to lead.

The summit, titled “The Power of IN: Included, Involved, Inspired” took place November 15-18, 2022 in Washington D.C. The immersive and interactive experience included fellow alumni and CIS specialists from other cities, respected DEI experts, renowned speakers, and leaders from youth-serving organizations. Q’Derrin joined members of the CISM leadership team in speaker sessions, learning labs, and networking events that integrated principles in diversity, equity, and inclusion and strategies for activating youth voices in the areas of social justice, public service, community engagement, and community organizing. Session topics were wide-ranging, from finding a personal role in DEI and challenges facing LGBTQ+ youth in American schools to the intersection of DEI and advocacy, empowering youth to lead social change, leveraging personal lived experiences to build inclusivity, and more.

Q’Derrin returned from his trip with a deeper understanding of the education equity challenges in America and a greater passion to become an agent of change. 

“I wasn’t as aware of the challenges we are facing here in today’s society with opportunities not being equal for all and the ones we are fighting daily within our school systems for education equity,”  he said.

Hearing first-hand stories about struggles and successes in the pursuit of educational equity in underserved communities across the country, Q’Derrin said two powerful themes came through loud and clear: 1. DEI means creating spaces for all – “with no exclusions or limitations for anyone.”; and 2. “…to fight for what I believe is right and never settle!” 

“Not everyone will agree, and I may lose some partnerships and connections in the process, but some battles are meant to be fought alone. Reaching the end goal will be more satisfying than the results I would’ve gotten if I settled.”

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