You don’t need a cape to make a difference.

Defining a hero is a challenging task.  With newspapers filled with war, crime and depression, heroes offer a glimpse into society’s potential.  There are those among us plain ol’ ordinary folk who have taken it upon themselves to do more than what is required of the average citizen.  Typically noted for remarkable courage or simply a larger than life heart, a hero is not discriminated by ethnicity, gender, class or even location.  As educators, we need to do more than simple tell children how to behave.  Using role models and admirable figures, heroes can inspire children to see that one person can, in fact, change the world.  And that one person can be you.  This blog will offer a variety of resources that can be used both in and out of the classroom to incorporate positive figures  relating to current events into your every day curriculum.  It is vital for students to see that great deeds are not limited to those with money of fame, but occur every day in even the smallest of towns.  After all, there can be a Superman on every street corner and a Wonder Woman on every block.

Chef Bruno Serato loves pasta.  Even more than making pasta, Serato loves to share it with nearly 200 families, seven days a week.  Once just a hobby, Serato has made it his goal to make sure ‘motel kids’, children and families currently living in cheap and often unkept motels, have a warm dinner every night.  Currently rooted in Anaheim, California, and catering to the Boys & Girls Club Serato has plans to further his pasta-making program to feed even more families as well as spread to other ‘motel kids’ nation wide.  Serato was featured in CNN in March, 2011 where he was interviewed about his future endeavors.  This article can be used as a current events assignment as a means for teachers to incorporate authentic literacy texts into their current activities.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/03/24/cnnheroes.serato.motel.kids/index.html

To expand upon the article, a visual literacy is fantastic for building upon students’ motivation.  The video below follows the life of a typical ‘motel kid’.  Not only will this expand students’ background knowledge, but will also open their eyes to a world unlike their own.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2011/03/24/cnnheroes.serato.extra.cnn

Viewing and embracing Serato’s accomplishments is a positive step forward.  However, this is what draws the line between a hero and, well, not.  Students can use his action to further the message and take action.  After reading the articles and viewing the videos, utilize Serato’s own site and see how you can help.  A pasta dinner at your school or neighborhood would be an excellent way to raise money to donate to Serato’s cause.  To further embrace Serato’s desire to feed those less fortunate, encourage your classroom (& school) to create a bank where food items can be dropped off to later be donated to the local food bank.  Students can make flyers, newsletters and signs to advertise the cause and promote their overall purpose. Donations can be made through his website below.

http://www.thecaterinasclub.org/

Ask your students:

Serato is making a difference not only by feeding ‘motel kids’, but also drawing attention to the larger picture of a current crisis in our nation.  What do you think this current crisis is in our nation?  How can you address it in your own community?

While note everyone has the talent or resources to cook for 200 people a day, in what other ways could you help those how are hungry?

For older students, the film “Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County” by Alexandra Pelosi is a great resource that further investigates these young lives.

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