An organization fights to prevent school dropouts in my community, and throughout America.

Everyone has received a bad grade once, but there are kids who constantly get bad grades. Even worse, there are hundreds of thousands of students who are at risk of dropping out of school.

Communities In Schools of Houston (CIS) is a non-profit organization created to prevent school dropouts.

CIS provides many services for potential dropouts, including tutors and mentors. CIS helps in Title I schools, which have 40% of students living under the poverty line. They work directly inside the school, so case workers are present at the source of the problem.

CIS often utilizes the resources of local businesses that have already perfected their service. For the Project MOVE Dental Van, CIS has partnered with University of Texas Dental Branch to provide free oral care for over 1,200 elementary students.

CIS has helped a lot in the last few years, but mostly they helped improved students academics, behavior, and attendance (ABA’s). (See graph)

improvement proved

Nelda Zuniga, a case worker for CIS, works at Spring Branch Middle School in Houston, TX. “We try to embrace every culture, every language, every person, and see them for who they are,” she says. She works with “caseload” students, who seem to be at more risk than others. They receive special help from case workers and mentors. Mrs. Zuniga says, “I love what I do. My heart is to serve the students and to make sure they don’t have to worry about basic needs or anything that hinders them from really expanding their education.”

CIS not only affects the lives of people they help, but their effort impacts the local community. Allison Gower, a helper and mentor at CIS, says, “For every dollar we spend toward preventing school dropouts, that’s $12 for the economy.” With support from CIS, students have a higher chance of graduating from college, and becoming contributing members of society.

CIS is making a difference and changing the lives of students and their families. Mrs. Zuniga says, “CIS provides activities that will allow them to explore their potential, their talents, and their gifts. CIS gives them the opportunity to be creative with themselves and helps them develop as young ladies and young men.”

-Natalie Raskin, Age 12, 7th grade, home-schooled