Spanish teacher Diana De La Cruz does not only teach in her classes, but she also encourages her students to donate to those who are less fortunate than them.
In her Spanish 4 Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, De La Cruz informs her students every year about poverty in Latin America. Through her lessons, she raises awareness for different living standards around the world.
“Christmastime [is] a good opportunity for our students to get together and give back,” De La Cruz said. “Everyone is in the spirit of giving, so it opens your heart up to help others.”
De La Cruz considered sending donations through her classes when she came across Samaritan’s Purse at church last year. The Christian humanitarian aid organization offers the program Operation Christmas Child which sends shoeboxes to countries in need. By participating in this program, De La Cruz has obtained two shoe boxes that are chosen to go to South America.
“I think as part of our class, I want to instill compassion for the rest of the world,” De La Cruz said. “That’s basically a way to bring the outside world into the classroom. It touches my heart to know that there’s people outside of the United States that don’t really get any help and if we don’t try to take the initiative it’s sad to see their conditions.”
Students choose their recipients by their age group and gender. This year, the classes chose to donate to teenagers, with one box for girls and one for boys. Each class was given a shoebox, which the students packed with small gifts such as socks, colored pencils, bracelets, stuffed animals and letters.
“I think sometimes we focus on helping people that are in the United States,” De La Cruz said. “Regardless of how poor people in the United States are, the government provides a lot of assistance. [In] other parts of the world, they don’t have programs like the ones the United States has.”
After testing out Operation Christmas Child for two years, De La Cruz plans to continue implementing the donation system as a part of her classes.
“It’s not a difficult thing to do. Sometimes, we think we’re so overwhelmed with the things that we have here that we forget that there are people that really don’t have access to basic necessities.”
By Landon Park, Staff writer
Photo by Erin Tan