Success Stories

Franco Casas


Franco’s Story – At the age of 16 Franco was already on probation and had been suspended from school several times. It was common for Franco to lose control of his temper and get into fights at school and on the streets; he was not afraid to talk with his fists so much so that Franco had crossed the line and assaulted one of his teachers. Franco was placed under house arrest and with no other options was making his way to juvenile detention. While on probation Franco had failed drug tests and was on a downward spiral in his education and was eventually placed in Juvenile Detention Center in Sylmar, Ca.

The process of transformation began when Franco was introduced to CIW Miguel Flores who works the Foothill GRYD, Flores began to challenge Franco as to the direction he was taking and informing him of a unique opportunity to attend Eagle Rock Professional Development; at the time Franco was on fast track of incarceration and was attending court with the possibility of being locked up as the judge was getting tired of seeing him back in court.

Franco’s father and brother where already in and out of prison with Franco following in the same footsteps, Franco was brought into the offices of Communities in Schools by Flores and was signed up for the GRYD being case managed by Pastor Rudy Trujillo who together with Flores developed a service plan to redirect him.

Franco’s service plan included Tattoo Removal, one-on-one enhancement sessions, court advocacy and assistance with meeting probation requirements along with CIS Preparatory Leadership Academy. Franco began to learn about the consequences of his actions and learned to stop and think about the outcome before lashing out which helped him to control his temper.

While working with Franco he once again found himself facing the judge at which point the judge was ready to throw the book at him and give him the maximum due to his criminal record. Both Flores and Trujillo appeared in court to speak on Franco’s behalf highlighting the need for intervention and redirection in the most critical time of one’s bad decisions that would affect the rest of his life. After hearing our plead to allow CIS intervention, the judge agreed and gave Franco a book to read while detained with the intent of releasing him to CIW Flores and was told “do as these gentlemen tell you” with instructions to put Franco on a plane and go directly to Eagle Rock Development and to continue with CIS intervention.

With hurdles such as the challenge of completing enrollment, petitioning the court to perform a physical which was required for enrollment, along with financial obligations while only having the support of a single mother working to meet the needs, Faith Center Church in San Fernando was able to meet the financial need and helped to ensure Franco’s enrollment with the required $300 deposit for essentials.

Released from Detention to CIS Care On January 21, 2012 Franco was released from Sylmar Detention Center to CIW Flores which began the new path which has taken him to a place of preparation to take the S130 – Safety Fire Fighting Orientation and to acquire his Red Card and has become a Hotshot Firefighter July of 2015.

Franco truly is a success story of the power of intervention, collaboration coupled with relationships and opportunities!

Brian Yanez

Brian Yanez

A Football Player and Straight “A” Student with a hard working single mom who was struggling to make ends-meet. I got involved with gangs in school while struggling to maintain my GPA to continue to play football. After getting involved with gangs I was shot at a couple of times had friends killed, dealing drugs was becoming a way of life for me and losing my way.

My mom was told about Miguel from CIS and got my brother Melvin to attend ER in Colorado and I was told I could also get the help needed to get out of the lifestyle I was living.

I got hooked up and enrolled at ER and since getting the chance offered to me I’ve had the opportunity to develop my mind, spirit and body, and I am getting the push I needed to get over the barriers that were before me. I have been given a unique opportunity to not only attend ER but also I got exposed to FireSpot Fighters and have hopes of becoming one. I now see myself graduating and working with the Fire Department.

“I want people to know there is an opportunity to change in life and no one can change you like you can, when you decide to take the opportunities at hand!”

Melvin Yanez


Involved in gang life, drug addicted and out of control, Melvin never thought he would get a second-chance to graduate. Melvin was involved with gangs since the 7th grade and was failing school and not rarely attending.

It wasn’t till Melvin heard about CIS and was told about CIW’s Miguel and Chuy, Miguel immediately began to speak to him about the opportunity to turn his life around and the possibility of attending Eagle Rock Development School.

Melvin was enrolled into ER and began his second chance for his education, “the wilderness experience was great, I got a lot from it, and gave me the opportunity to clear my mind and to think and reflect on my life, I did it for myself” said Melvin.

“I feel like I got direction in my life and I wants to help other kids”. I am doing better in school away from where I lived and also the exposure to the new here at ER has helped me, I recommend this for everyone who’s been through a hard life and to see things from a different perspective!

CIS has been there for me and helped to change my life, I had to wait to get into ER and I can truly say “the waiting helped me to keep focused and to stay off the street!”

Stacy Escobar

Stacy Escobar
I was sad, confused, lost, angry and not in my right mind as an alcoholic taking drugs in order to deal with my problems
with no future at hand!

I heard through a family friend about CIS and how they help people, I knew I needed to get disconnected from what I was doing and where I was at in life and after connecting with CIS I began opening my mind and heart to the possibility of changing my life around and decided to take the challenge of attending ER offered to me through Miguel Flores.

Iv’e been able to get direction in my life in just 3 months as I am preparing for my future, learning about other people groups, myself and about self control. I want to be a lawyer for change; an advocate for human rights and immigration as I prepare for my future I hope to one day be able to volunteer at Pico Youth and Family Center who also helped my family out . I’m getting out of this experience what I put into it and now look toward the future!

Manny Gomez


At the age of 19 Manny’s encounter with CIS’s Community Intervention Worker Miguel Flores began and has flourished into a 10 year relationship. When first meeting with CIW Flores, Manny was living a life of gang-banging and with a pregnant girlfriend was desperate for a change of life when he got introduced to CIS’ at an outreach at Sun Valley Park.

“When I met Miguel, he would always come around, asking if he could help and offered to take me on job interviews”. The job that I’ve now held for 8 years came as a result of Miguel taking me on a few job interviews, from the EDD office and around town and after a few days I remember we were on our last search for the day and we stopped at Anderson’s Trophy’s to apply for a job, I was interviewed and hired on the spot, Anderson’s gave me a chance and I’ve been there since for-over 8 years.

I been able to support my family and been promoted to the front office here at Anderson’s and I am very appreciative and grateful to Miguel Flores and CIS as they helped me when I needed it the most with no strings attached!