John Santiago’s face lit up when Julian Miles-Foster arrived at Don Samuel Torres Park on May 22.
The rain and thunderstorms had held off. The sun was shining. And all 10-year-old John wanted to do was get in some batting practice with Julian at the park’s corner baseball diamond.
I am happy to get to witness moments like these when I am out reporting on a program like "Rec on the Move," for which Julian is a staffer. You see the impact of those personal connections between a child and an adult who obviously is serving as an invaluable mentor.
Some of the employees even grew up in the city, thereby also serving as role models for success.
In interviews with the kids, I was duly impressed that the city program’s messages were getting through and they were quoting buzz words like "healthy weight" and "good for your heart."
And earlier in the week, I was similarly impressed by a group of Girl Scouts in Henrietta who were giving of their hearts while also being good to their hearts in a Zumbathon to earn a Bronze Award.
They collected food, clothing or bedding for migrant workers as event admission even though many of the girls had not heard about migrant workers living and working in the Rochester area before they took on the project. But once they did, they were gung-ho about helping them.
And how could they not be enthusiastic when the catalyst for the project was Zumba instructor and migrant outreach worker Irene Sánchez? She not only makes Zumba incredibly fun but is a person with infectious energy, like Julian from the city rec program.
So, kudos to these adults for informing and transforming young minds and attitudes. What better way to make the community a better place?