Merry Makeover 1

This past September, Asheville Lifestyle Magazine teamed up Children First/Communities In Schools (CIS) and two local businesses to celebrate a mother-daughter duo just in time for back to school. Each lady chose a new outfit from the downtown boutique, Hazel Twenty, and had their hair and makeup done by the amazing stylists at ananda hair studio.

Stephanie and her daughter Aubrey were chosen by Dani Wilber, who is placed by Children First/CIS as a Student Support Specialist at Elben Intermediate School, where Aubrey attends school.

“I wanted them to have this special makeover because they have such a close relationship, and Stephanie has always taken such an active role in being there for her kids,” said Dani. “What I do wouldn’t be as effective if Stephanie wasn’t as involved as she is. It’s a real partnership!”  

Dani first met Stephanie through the food pantry at Children First/CIS’ Family Resource Center in the Emma Elementary School community. For several years, Stephanie has volunteered with and been involved in multiple programs of Children First/CIS, including Motheread, a literacy program for parents that helps adults to discuss real life topics through the use of children’s books and instill a love of reading in their children.

Stephanie also helps Dani support Aubrey’s success in school. During the school year, Aubrey is involved with Dani’s Homework Club and the Working Warriors after school program. In these programs, she is given the tools she needs to develop into a responsible and hardworking student and, ultimately, live to her fullest potential. She learns about leadership, empowerment and accountability by interacting in a positive, forward-looking environment.

When students aren’t engaged in school, they are more likely to drop out. Dani and our other Student Support Specialists at Claxton Elementary, Emma Elementary, Estes Elementary and Johnston Elementary work to improve attendance, behavior, coursework and parent engagement. Parents who play an active role in their children’s education help them reach their full potential.

Children First/CIS works alongside students and their families to make sure they have the tools they need to be successful in school. They serve over 4,400 children and 300 families annually through their programs. In addition to providing resources like food boxes and clothing, Children First/CIS aims to create lasting relationships with students and parents through tutoring, mentoring and parent workshops. Together, resources and relationships make Children First/CIS part of the solution that helps students stay in school, graduate, and achieve in life.

To learn more about Children First/Communities In Schools and support the work they are doing, please visit