COMMENTARY 987.1: A Short-Haired Role Model

A popular way to encourage charitable donations is to invoke people to “give till it hurts.” Mrs. Rosario Rivera, an elementary school teacher in Puerto Rico, takes a very different approach, urging her students to “give until it feels good.”

Mrs. Rivera teaches English at the José Ramón Rodriguez Elementary School in the town of Coamo in Puerto Rico. Her school is one of the 205 schools piloting the CHARACTER COUNTS! program (called Tus Valores Cuentan in Puerto Rico).

To stimulate her students’ sense of charity and empathy, she showed her class a movie about a young boy dying of cancer. A few weeks later she told her students she had received a letter from the American Cancer Society seeking donations for cancer research. She put an empty can on her desk and encouraged her students to donate all their leftover change for the next few weeks. The class raised $32.

Hair.jpgBut that wasn’t enough. Mrs. Rosario had long, beautiful hair all the way to her waist. It was a source of pride and pleasure, so when she told her students she was going to cut off her hair and donate it to the Locks of Love Foundation so cancer patients could have wigs with real hair, her students were astonished. I suspect some were doubtful that she would follow through – until she came to class with short hair and showed her students a shipping box filled with a very long braid. She told them how good it made her feel to give away something that was so important to her to help children.

That’s what it means to be a good role model.

So, are you surprised that several girls in her class declared their intention to follow her example?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 2

  1. I’m very proud of this Puertorrican teacher and her efforts to educate and be an example for those in her faculty. We Puertorricans are very creative — all we need is the time and the forum to let ourselves be heard. Congratulations to this colleague and thanks to Michael Josephson for publishing this material and extending it through email.
    — A.De Jesús, Martin Gonzalez middle school, Carolina, PR

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