It was fun to see “my kids” at the Rufino Mendoza Elementary School this week. The school is on the north side of Fort Worth in an economically disadvantaged area of town. I picked this school wanting to make a difference.
When I went into the cafeteria, the children in the after-school program got excited, stood up, and shouted “Mr. is here!”
I walked around the room and said hello as they worked on their homework. I asked to spoke to the 80 children and told them how proud I was of them. I urged them to keep studying hard, make good grades, and graduate from high school (there is an substantial drop out rate). I told them they should also graduate from college and professional school too — that anything was possible if they really wanted it.
I encouraged them to start thinking about what job they would like to have later in life. I told them to dream big and never doubt that they could be an attorney, doctor, or anybody they wanted to be.
I also reminded them how important fitness and nutrition were if they wanted to succeed. Readers of this blog know that I am a fitness advocate.
During the year, I walk, run and cheer on the kids. I sponsor them in 5K races and go to them so I can be there at the finish line and compliment the participants afterwards. I have spoken at every Career Day, bought books, medals, running clothes and pedometers and supplied food and beverages for the teachers and parties.
I sometimes walk in holding an apple and mention my diet and how it keeps me healthy and thin — and that soft drinks and junk food should be avoided.
As we all know, in the last 20 years there has been a terrible increase in the number of overweight or obese children. But when I was growing up the 60’s we were always outside running, riding our bikes, and playing. There were only three television channels — and certainly no videos or games . And hardly any one was overweight.
We have to get our children to be more active. Less than one-third of children engage in physical activity that gets their heart rate up for at least 20 minutes — the minimum amount of recommended activity. That’s why these school fitness clubs are so important.
I hope that I motivated at least one child and made a difference in his or her life over the years.
I am proud to be one of three law firms in the city and the only solo practitioner involved in the Fort Worth Independent School District’s Adopt-A-School program.
I encourage other lawyers and businesses to adopt a school. It is a small but important way to improve our world.