Red Nose Day is all about making it fun to come together to raise money and awareness for children who need our help most, in America and around the world. Red Nose Day’s mission is to end child poverty—one nose at a time. This year, Red Nose Day is on May 24.
At Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA)—an UnidosUS Affiliate—we help the kids of migrant and farmworker families like Seba be healthy and ready for the future. So our partnership with UnidosUS and association with Red Nose Day is incredibly valuable to our daily mission.
Seba first came to RCMA Community School just after the holiday break. She accompanied her dad who introduced her and spoke excitedly about enrolling her at the school. Seba shyly shook hands with the school principal as Ms. Q welcomed her. Ms. Q told assured her that Immokalee Community School was special, and that she knew Seba would like her new classmates and teachers. While her dad completed the enrollment papers, we learned that Seba was newly arrived from Guatemala, having left her mother and sisters behind to join her father in our small rural Florida farm community.
She spoke very softly about herself, her family, and the school she left behind. She moved her hands in front of her mouth, making it difficult to understand the little she offered about her life in Guatemala. We learned she was 10 years old, unsure of her school grade, and noticed that her eyes lit up when the school principal touched on something that sparked her interest.
Seba was placed in fourth grade and was assigned a student study-buddy to help her acclimate. Although some fourth-grade material remained beyond her reach, the teacher noted Seba’s enthusiasm and determination during tutoring sessions. Her teacher also noted that some of Seba’s reluctance to speak in class was attributable to something other than shyness. The teachers asked if the school could help Seba access dental care.
Seba’s father shared our concerns about her dental problems but said he could not afford to help his daughter. He could barely pay for the room he rented for himself and Seba in another family’s trailer. He struggled to send money to the rest of the family back home. He seemed defeated, until he heard about the help the school could offer thanks to the UnidosUS grant and Red Nose Day.
Seba had never visited a dentist before and when examined was diagnosed with issues requiring extensive dental work. The work was completed before the end of the school year. The results were a smile that matched Seba’s laughing eyes. Seba grew more confident and able to express herself in class.
In June, Seba participated in the end-of-the school-year Poetry Slam. She stood poised on the stage and proudly recited her published poem.
My heart is bright
With the Moon
It gives me power
My heart has a light that helps me get through the night
This heart of mine …is happy with many emotions
In December, Seba’s father announced that she would need to return to Guatemala. She left the following week after long and heartfelt good-byes and promises of staying in touch. We recently saw a photo of Seba, her arms wrapped around her older sister, wearing a beautiful smile. Her teacher noted that “it’s one of the proudest gifts she took back home”.
We are hoping we can do the same for Itzel, Chui, and the many other students waiting to get their smiles back. With Red Nose Day’s continued support, they will.
You can help kids like Seba by purchasing a red nose for $1 at Walgreens Pharmacy. You can also learn more about Red Nose Day by visiting their website. Don’t forget to tune in to the Red Nose Day Special on NBC on May 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
By Juana Brown, Director of Charter Schools, Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA)
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