Vicki Courier @ Downtown Elementary

Partners in Education brings the community together. Because when it comes right down to it, the business sector and the education system are not separate entities. We both share a common goal. After all, the economic success of Columbus is directly related to our having an educated workforce. These children are an investment in our future, and our partners believe in them.

Columbus Chamber of Commerce Member Since 1992

The Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce offers its member businesses many exciting opportunities to invest in the future prosperity of our burgeoning city. You can join a committee and guide the public debate, throw your hat into the political arena, or simply run your business in a manner that inspires your fellow citizens. But perhaps the most influential and enduring way to shape the future is to prepare our children to lead it. That’s why in 1987 the Chamber of Commerce and the Muscogee County School Department initiated a joint venture called Partners in Education (PIE) as a means to further educational opportunities by inviting the business community to become more directly involved in the local school system. PIE is now active in over 80 schools, both private and public, across the school districts of Chattahoochee, Harris, Muscogee and Talbot counties, as well as on base at Fort Benning.

As the vice principal of Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy, Vickie Courier witnesses firsthand just how much her students benefit from their partnerships with TSYS and the Kiwanis Club, week in week out. Each department at TSYS adopts a homeroom class and spends quality time with the students, helping with science projects, helping them to prepare for the CRCT exams, even participating in Fine Arts Day, where the children are encouraged to express themselves through art music, dancing, and drama. The Kiwanis Club visits Downtown Elementary weekly to read to the students and act as mentors in the young people’s lives. And each week, they donate a book to the school library. “Our partnerships with TSYS and the Kiwanis Club have introduced us to so many people who are really dedicated to helping our children succeed,” explained Vickie. “With recent cuts in funding, it is truly a gift that these businesses and organizations care enough to make sure that we have the resources necessary to meet the individual needs of our student body.”

WHERE THE BOARDROOM MEETS THE CLASSROOM
The personal, one-on-one interaction between the participating businesses, professional organizations, churches, and civic clubs and the adopted schools of the Partners in Education program provides students with enhanced educational and enrichment opportunities that aim to raise their levels of achievement and their self-esteem, as well as help them to acquire a fundamental understanding of how to navigate the world once they enter the workforce.

Partners in Education isn’t your typical volunteering opportunity. It is more than simple donations of time and resources. This is a program that has a big heart behind its big ambitions, because what happens as these relationships develop is essentially the equal exchange of “human capital.” The students benefit from the gift of a sound education made possible in part by their partners. The businesses benefit from knowing that they have helped shape the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. And the community as a whole benefits from a prosperous future guaranteed by the human investments made today.

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