Meet Our Students – Mitzy

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Mitzy Erandi Valencia Ramírez loves animals. She can often be seen around the school carrying a dog, cat, or bird she has rescued and/or is helping. Her and our former teacher, Mrs. Emily McCarthy, are affectionately known around here as the Volcanes Animal Rescue Team because of all the animals they have rescued over the years.

Mitzy is not afraid to get dirty in her quest to save and protect animals. She goes into ditches, crawls under abandoned vehicles, and wanders into the bushes to get to animals in need. She is not afraid of blood and dirt and everything else that comes with helping abandoned and helpless creatures. There have been times when we’ve seen her clothes full of dirt and dog hair or cat fur, while she cuddles her little rescue. Not surprisingly, she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

“Treat a child as though he already is the person he’s capable of becoming.” Walter Elias Disney

The thing with Mitzy is that in the last few months, maybe the last year, she had become very rebellious. She had an attitude with anyone trying to correct her about anything and sometimes had a sarcastic response for everything. That was not her. We have had her here in our program for almost 5 years already. She has been one of the most loving and humble students we have known. And her love of animals only confirms her selfless way of being. But something has been going on at home that has affected her behavior and her grades. Something she does not want to talk about.

When dealing with kids like this, sometimes our first reaction is to suspend or expel them from school and/or reject them due to their bad attitude. There is a quote I love which says “the children who need love the most will always ask for it in the most unloving ways.” This is very true. Mitzy is one of these cases. With her attitude she was asking for love, asking for someone to believe in her and treat her like she matters. We have made it a point to reinforce all the good she has inside, to take time to talk with her and just listen. From the moment we made a conscious effort to focus on her, Mitzy has been making a big turn around in attitude and in her grades. We can tell she feels more relaxed and comfortable. Sometimes that’s all a child needs – to be treated as if she already is the person she’s capable of becoming.


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