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FC-CIS awards mini-grants

POSTED: September 30, 2013 7:54 p.m.
Photo by Paul Floeckher/

FC-CIS executive director Elaine Spencer, far right, presents grant money to, left to right, Denise Dawson, Effingham County School System transition specialist and Project SEARCH coordinator; Sharon Wilson, advocacy coordinator for the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit CASA program; and Lainie Jenkins, CASA executive director.

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The Effingham County School System’s Project SEARCH program and the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit’s CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program each received a boost from Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Effingham County.

Both were awarded $500 mini-grants from FC-CIS at the organization’s recent collaborative meeting.

The grants are made possible by contributions to the United Way of the Coastal Empire, designated specifically to FC-CIS.

Project SEARCH provides internships for people with developmental disabilities and trains them in entry-level positions. The nationwide program is now in its second year in Effingham County.

Effingham Health System partners with the Effingham County School System in Project SEARCH. Each intern puts in a full day, five days a week, at EHS, and works in three 10-week rotations to gain job experience in different areas.

The $500 grant from FC-CIS will be used to take two interns to state Project SEARCH conferences and meetings quarterly and annually.

CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for abused and neglected children, helping to place them in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.

Specially-trained CASA volunteers develop relationships with the children and make recommendations to the juvenile court on behalf of the child's best interests. CASA is currently serving approximately 60 of the children in Effingham County’s foster care system, with a goal to serve 100.

To raise awareness of the need for new volunteers, CASA will use the FC-CIS grant funds for its first Guyton Superhero Run for CASA, a 5K race and one-mile fun run on Nov. 2. Registration is available at


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