Jacquelynn Hernandez, a KidWorks Program Leader, knew something was deeply troubling Maria, a normally cheerful six grader enrolled in our after-school programs.
“One day, I sat with Maria (not her real name) and gently asked her to share about what might be on her mind,” Jacquelynn says. “I learned that she was being bullied by several girls at her public school; in fact, it turned out to be one of the more severe cases of bullying I’ve seen.”
That is when the compassion that fills the heart of each KidWorks teacher moved Jacquelynn into action. Having had her own struggles with unkind classmates growing up, this KidWorks teacher was going to make sure Maria’s pain would stop.
Working with Maria’s parents and school officials, Jacquelynn helped Maria transfer to a new school. She also enrolled Maria in Global G.L.O.W., a KidWorks partner. They describe themselves as helping to“transform the lives of strong girls, in grades 5-12, from vulnerable communities around the world, by empowering them to realize their full potential.”
KidWorks programs include educating all of our students about the devastating impact of bullying.
The transition from being bullied to a safe, nurturing environment has had its struggles, but Maria is making new friends and overcoming understandable trust issues.
“Maria loves to bake and so do I, so we plan some kitchen time together,” Jacquelynn says. They also plan outings to Starbucks.
“Even though this young lady has gone through so much, she is optimistic while learning to overcome her hurt,” Jacquelynn says. “Maria shows much love and respect to others.”
We are so grateful for KidWorks team members like Jacquelynn who show endless love and compassion each day for students just like Maria.
By Glenn Leibowitz, Volunteer Content Writer