Big twist after married teachers received Cash for Kindness award
Their smiles are hard to miss. Kids can be seen beaming with pride after fun-filled trips with City Kids Adventures. From fishing and hunting to beaches and bumper cars, City Kids Adventures gives at-risk youth, a sense of family, with opportunities to see life beyond their communities.
Michael Morales was a 6th grader at Tafolla Middle School on the West Side when he signed up. Once the frequent target of bullying, his mother, Christy Sifuentes, now credits the local non-profit for helping him fit in.
They turned to Fox San Antonio’s CASH FOR KINDNESS program as a way to give back to his teacher who co-founded the local non-profit organization.
“We called Ryan from Fox," she told Leticia and Leon McNeil outside the middle school.
“Why?" Leticia said with a nervous laugh.
The founders of City Kids Adventures had no idea they were nominated for the CASH FOR KINDNESS prize.
“Hi, I’m Ryan Wolf with Fox San Antonio,” he said while approaching the married couple from behind a car.
The McNeil’s started the organization back in 1996 while working together at a West Side middle school. They married shortly after, and continue to use their vast network as teachers, to find students who come from single parent homes, experience behavior problems or who've been bullied, and pay for them to go on the trips.
Sifuentes explained to them how their organization changed her son’s life for the better.
“Michael was having a hard time, and you took him under your wing and brought him into the organization,” she said while tearing up. “It just encourages all the kids to be better and encourages kids who may think nobody is there for them. You all give them that hope."
Michael wanted to show his personal gratitude as well.
“I got bullied a lot from all the other kids, and the reason you got me in was because I told you what I like to do over the Summer,” he said with a smile.
The McNeil’s looked stunned after hearing from them. The couple said they’ve never been thanked like this before.
“How much do you think over the years you've spent?” Wolf asked them with regards to the organization.
“Oh my God!” Leon said. “We don't even want to think about it. It's not about the money for us. It's about changing lives and giving kids the opportunities and stuff."
Just how big are the McNeils' hearts? The husband and wife duo stunned everyone with their actions after they received their CASH FOR KINDNESS.
“We want to give back to you on behalf of Fox San Antonio,” Wolf told them. “Would you put your hands out for me?"
Leticia counted the money she received out loud.
“$500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000!” she shouted. “Oh my! Thank you.”
“Now, can we do an act of kindness as well?” Leon asked Wolf.
“You can do an act of kindness,” he responded.
“Can we give her half of this money?” Leon wondered.
“You can do whatever you want with this,” Wolf said.
The McNeil’s took half the money, $500, and gave it to Sifuentes to help her family.
“I can't take that,” she said while wiping the tears off her face.
“We're not going to let you not take that,” Leon insisted. “Here you go."
Sifuentes said their actions only proved their CASH FOR KINDNESS worthiness.
“I didn't expect this,” she told Wolf. “It just shows what great people they are."
The McNeil's said they're going to use their portion of the money to help fund a youth trip planned for Sunday on South Padre Island.
Click here to nominate someone for the $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS award.