CIS Brings Hope and Help to Hug Students


Communities in Schools, or CIS, is an unequivocal force of good on this campus. They help kids, from freshman to seniors, graduate from high school and make it not only into their dream college, but their dream job as well. From just my relatively short meeting with them just this year, I can’t stress enough their drive and passion to help all students on this campus. I interviewed the two great gentlemen in the CIS office in A-15 and I couldn’t be more impressed by their work. Mr. Ramirez and Mr. Gasetoto are clearly thoroughly invested in this program and thoroughly invested in the well being of every one of the students that may come approach them as well.

CIS is an organization that is built around helping at-risk students to graduate through high school. It was founded in 1977 in New York City, coming to Las Vegas in 2007, then into Northern Nevada later on. The organization gives school supplies, food, and many other necessities that students may need. According to the CIS statistics for students that they had overseen for the 2018-2019 school year, 98% of the students they looked after graduated. In comparison, the overall graduation rate of Hug High that year was 74%, according to the US News & World Report. So clearly, the program is making an impact, and a big one at that.

To focus on what CIS does around campus is to focus on a whole lot. Firstly, one of the more apparent ones is the food pantry that is open on the first Tuesday of every month and is located in the eastern parking lot of the school. Both Mr. Ramirez and Mr. Gasetoto hope that because the food is being given out here at school, students and their families will be more inclined and willing to actually get the food and supplies they may need. Both CIS coordinators are extremely eager to help any student in need in any way they can. During my interview with the two of them, they said that they hope for their room to be as inviting as possible, for it to be a comfortable place where you can have a heart to heart with the coordinators about your school struggles. “We want to be a one-stop-shop for anything and everything a student may need”  Mr. Gasetoto said. They really do just want to help people.

They’ve collaborated with many community partners so that they can help everyone, since two people can’t fill the needs of so many students. One of the partners they have is Project 150, which is an organization focused on helping students with primarily clothing, but also meals, school supplies, and other basic necessities. They also helped organize the ‘Fill the Bus’ campaign, which was a partnership between CIS of Western Nevada with KTVN Channel 2 News, local officials, and other sponsors to get students the supplies they need. Additionally, CIS has a partnership with Healthy Smiles, a dentistry, to help supply kids who really need it with the tooth help they need.

During my interview, I got to hear about one particular student, who I wasn’t given the name for privacy reasons, that had various problems at home, such as a lack of hygiene products. Mr. Gasetoto went into how this student was bullied because of his lack of cleanliness that he and his family were just unable to afford. When he went to CIS he found a home where he was cared for, and one where he was able to get those products that he so desperately needed. Even afterwards, the student worked with CIS the rest of the school year and built strong interpersonal skills and morale. As Mr. Gasetoto said to me during this portion of the interview, “Everyone needs someone sometimes,” and I can tell both CIS coordinators are here at school to help, because it is what they really care about.

The most important thing to note about CIS can be summed up in a sentence by Mr. Ramirez during our interview: “We just want to help some students graduate, because that’s what is important.” And it’s true, I’ve seen it be true each and every day on campus. It was true when talking to the CIS coordinators. It is true, and it will continue to be.