Bobby Valcin literally works around the clock – as a security guard on the graveyard shift, as a student earning his bachelor’s degree in social work at night school, and as a site coordinator for Communities In Schools of Palm Beach County. Now he has another feather to add to his cap. Valcin has been named one of five “Unsung Heroes” by the national Communities In Schools organization. He and the four other award recipients were honored on September 20th at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The award, first presented in 2007, recognizes members of the Communities In Schools national network who embody the core values of the organization and exemplify the commitment of Communities In Schools to surround students with a community of support.
Valcin says it’s his passion for supporting students that makes his daily grind worth it, and his faith plays a fundamental role in his approach to work. After an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, more than 625 students and their families sought refuge in Palm Beach County. Bobby, fluent in Creole, was enlisted to serve these students. Many had lost everything and were in desperate need of school uniforms, shoes, personal hygiene items, a translator and someone who could help them navigate their new school and life.
“Bobby has an excellent rapport with students and teachers,” said Danette Stevenson, guidance counselor at John F. Kennedy Middle School. “His ability to connect with students demonstrates his ability to serve the community.”
“Bobby is a young man with a heart for his students. It is not uncommon to see students seek him out in the hallways at JFK Middle School. The conversations always start out with a handshake and end with a high five,” said Margaret Bagley, Executive Director of Communities In Schools of Palm Beach County.
“Site coordinators are at the heart of the Communities In Schools network, and these Unsung Heroes award recipients go above and beyond to ensure the students we serve have the resources and support to be successful in school and in life,” said Communities In Schools President Daniel Cardinali.
In addition to Valcin, the other 2012 Unsung Heroes are:
- Stephanie Armendariz, Communities In Schools of South Central Texas, who took over a parent engagement program targeted at fathers and recruited 300 fathers to attend.
- Paul Fagen, Communities In Schools of Chicago, who saw that school violence was an issue at his school, so enlisted students to create a conflict resolution club that is now three years old and has helped resolve more than 150 conflicts in the last year.
- Linda Shelley, Communities In Schools of Peninsula, Wash., who coordinated free dental care for a family of six children without health insurance and a family income of only $34,000.
- Steven Weeks, Communities In Schools of Greenville, S.C., who not only takes care of the middle school students on his current caseload, but often visits the high school to eat lunch with and check in on the students he used to serve.
A video of Mr. Valcin and his work can be view here
About Communities In Schools
Working in nearly 2,700 schools, in the most challenged communities in 24 states and the District of Columbia, Communities In Schools serves nearly 1.26 million young people and their families every year. It has become the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, and the only one proven to both increase on-time graduation rates and reduce dropout rates.
By connecting at-risk students and their families to critical community resources, Palm Beach County’s CIS served 8,856 students and their families during the 2011-12 school year; 244 in its intensive program. Of those, none dropped out, 85% improved academic performance; 81% improved classroom behavior; 85% graduated and 88% were promoted. http://www.cispbc.org