Christmas Kindness: Volunteer teaches MEC students the true meaning of “giving”
At the end of October, Monee Education Center held several Career Days. One of the presenters was Mr. Juan Hernandez, a former World Karate and Wrestling champion. The students immediately took to Mr. Hernandez and he felt an instant connection with them. So much so that Mr. Hernandez called the next day to say he wanted to “do something special” for not only the students, but their families as well.
Amazingly, Mr. Hernandez’s “special” something included a donation, in conjunction with his foundation Alicia’s House, of the entire Thanksgiving Dinner for MEC students and their families. Students went home from school that day with turkeys and fixings for their families to enjoy!
Additionally, as part of MEC’s Community Service Learning Project, students took a field trip with Mr. Hernandez in November to Alicia’s House in Chicago Heights as he talked to the students about “giving back.” MEC students and staff helped to unload pallets of food, pack bags, carry bags of food out to clients and even load the food into cars.
Mr. Hernandez has continued to be an angel for the students and families at MEC this holiday season, hosting a holiday party for students and even giving gifts to each of them. Each student was asked by him to complete a questionnaire asking, “If someone told you that for the holidays you could choose something for $100, what would you choose?” Today, Mr. Hernandez returned to MEC to fulfill each student’s Christmas wish!
“Today was truly what Christmas is all about,” said board member Jeanine Galbraith, who attended today’s festivities. “You could see the awe on the kid’s faces and the amazement that someone cared about them. It was truly a special day,” she added.
Crete-Monee School District and administration is extremely grateful for all of the volunteers who, by their words in action, show our students how to be good citizens and neighbors!