No natural disaster, family ailment, or threat of any other kind is going to get in the way of Milby High School students’ plans for college and future careers if Communities In Schools of Houston’s Rene Gonzalez has anything to do with it. The student support specialist has, for more than 15 years, been earning the trust of Milby students and their families to help in times of need.
“Kids will not open up to you unless they feel they can trust you – trust that you care, that you have time for them, that you have their best interest at heart,” Gonzalez said. “That type of trust can’t be built in one day. It’s letting them know day in and day out that you’re there for them if they ever need to talk, no matter what they’re going through. We all deal with different things throughout our lives.”
And with HISD’s commitment to meet the needs of the whole child, no student should have to do it alone.
Whether helping a senior pay for a cap and gown and other graduation expenses while her family struggles to pay for medical treatments, helping students who’ve pledged to avoid gang activity and be “better men” in support groups, or counseling students coping with traumatic life experiences while cycling, Gonzalez’s work is critical to helping students stay focused on their studies and their futures.