Most of us remember our elementary school days of show and tell, where we brought one of our favorite items to school to share with our classmates. One kindergartner, Natalie Ruiz, was able to bring someone famous to her classroom – Chicago Bears player Roberto Garza.
From Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 of last year, parents in the Chicago area were encouraged to visit one of five Verizon Wireless stores to enter their child for a chance to receive a school visit from one of the Chicago Bears. Around 200 entries were put in the contest, and out of those entries, Verizon Wireless chose Ruiz, a kindergartner at Falconer Elementary School, to have the Chicago Bears center, Garza, visit her school.
“This will be a memorable day, not only for my Natalie but also for her classmates,” said Veronica Vargas-Ruiz, Natalie’s mother. “We are honored to have this experience and hope more players follow Roberto’s path toward motivating our youth. For him to take time out of his busy schedule to inspire our children who look up to sports figures like him is wonderful.”
Roberto Garza has teamed up with Verizon Wireless multiple times in their community outreach to help inspire children. “When I met an NFL player for the first time, I was 20 years old and that was an event with the Dallas Cowboys. I knew from that moment (on), the smile of a child is an important thing,” said Garza.
While Hispanic families still consider sports like soccer, baseball and boxing as part of their cultural fabric, more and more families are starting to adapt to American football. Along with Garza, the NFL has more Hispanic players like Victor Cruz of the New York Giants, Tony Gonzalez, a future Hall of Fame tight end who played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, and Louis Vazquez and Manny Ramirez of the Denver Broncos.
Whether it is playing sports or becoming a doctor, Roberto Garza encourages Natalie and other children like her to “be focused in what you do and have fun.”
“All of us have dreams. When there is something that motivates you, go for it. Whether you are a sportsman, an instructor, a teacher, a lawyer, education is very important in order to reach a dream,” said Garza.
This post is also available in: Spanish