By Nydia Barreiro (Master Trainer, Tus Valores Cuentan) and Rosario Rivera (Teacher, José Ramón Rodriguez Elementary)
Mrs. Rosario Rivera teaches English at the José Ramón Rodriguez Elementary School in the town of Coamo, and last semester she began working with Tus Valores Cuentan (CHARACTER COUNTS!). For one of her first TVC activities, she showed her class the film Letters to God, about a boy with cancer who inspires his community by writing letters to God.
When Mrs. Rivera told her students she’d gotten a fundraising letter from the American Cancer Society, they asked her if she was going to give anything. She told them she always did. Then she said, “Remember the movie we saw in class, and the values we talked about? This is a way to show we care.” She told them she was going to put an empty can on her desk, and if anyone who wanted to could give their leftover pennies. The pennies added up, and when it was time to send in their donation, the students had gathered $32.00.
Next, Mrs. Rivera and her students participated in their town’s march against cancer, and Mrs. Rivera told the students that her long hair was her next gift to the Locks of Love Foundation. They didn’t believe her, but one day in January Mrs. Rivera walked into her classroom with short hair and a box from the post office. Her students couldn’t believe their eyes. She opened the box and showed them a very long braid. Then she let one of her students write the address for her, and off it went. A couple of weeks later, Mrs. Rivera got a certificate of appreciation and took it to school to put on the board for everyone to see. To her astonishment, Mrs. Rivera’s female students told her they also want to let their hair grow so they can donate it.
Mrs. Rivera’s students really enjoy the Tus Valores Cuentan activities. They feel they’re important in this world, and they’re making a difference, and this is truly having an impact on the way they think and what they do. Mrs. Rivera can see the change in their actions, and she is glad to be able to plant a little seed to make this world a better place for all of us.