MOULTRIE -- When the Communities in Schools found out last September their charity lease for a building would not be renewed, it did not have to go far to find a new place to call home. Ronnie Marchant, president and Chief Executive Officer of the American Banking Company and a member of the CIS Board of Directors, was able to locate a space for them at no charge.

Marchant said he brought the matter before ABC's holding company to inquire about their vacant building on Quitman Highway, which was being used for storage. The company agreed to allow CIS to use the building on a charity basis.

"We're just proud to be able to offer that space," Marchant said. "(CIS) is, for the long term, good for this community."

CIS Executive Director Denise Bell said she is pleased by the support her group gets from the community.

"(ABC giving the space) is another example of how the business community is coming forward to support Communities in Schools," Bell said. "The need was there, and the American Banking figured out a way to help us out because we really did not know exactly what we were going to be able to do."

The new location for CIS will be dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the ABC location on Quitman Highway Feb. 13.

Communities in Schools was formed in 1998 to provide children in Colquitt County with the resources of the community. This is done through mentoring and volunteer programs with children.

A goal in the formation of CIS was to reduce the high school dropout rate in Colquitt County, and statistics show the dropout rate has fallen each year since its inception.

One of the major goals currently for Communities in Schools is to have the community see CIS as "the way to advance in education," Bell said.

ABC has played a large role in helping CIS since the group's inception, Marchant said. A former president of ABC, Brooks Sheldon, was instrumental in the establishment of CIS, and someone from the bank has served on the CIS Board of Directors since it was started.

"American Banking Company is committed to our community and its growth in education," Bell said.

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