School counselor's compassion rewarded with $1,000
Daquita Ross has had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about her son.
“It's gut wrenching to hear that your child is feeling that way," the mother of two explained.
Her son is a second grader at Boone Elementary School in the North Side Independent School District.
The structured environment poses a unique challenge for her 7-year-old who has trouble vocalizing his emotions.
“When he stated that he wanted to kill himself, it made me feel confused,” Ross, who lives on the Northwest Side said. “It made me feel like I was failing as a mother."
Her child is diagnosed with a number of mental illnesses.
Ross said it causes him thoughts of self-harm.
“He wanted to cut himself,” Ross told Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf. “He wanted to be washed away. Eaten by sharks."
Right after the Thanksgiving break, Ross received a call from her son’s school that he wanted to stab himself.
Ross immediately picked him up and sought medical and psychological help for him.
The next day, she received an unexpected, follow-up phone call.
“When I picked up the phone, I could feel the sincerity in her voice," she said about her son’s school counselor.
For the first time ever, someone showed they really cared about her son, according to Ross.
“Just that conversation alone was enough to bring tears to my eyes,” Ross explained. “And I'm so grateful, so grateful for people like her."
Fox San Antonio set up a surprise for Yvonne Perez at the elementary school.
Perez had no idea she was nominated for the CASH FOR KINDNESS prize.
“Hi there!” Wolf said after entering her classroom. “I'm here because somebody thinks the world of you.”
"Oh my goodness!” Perez said with a shocked look on her face.
Wolf added how a school parent reached out to Fox San Antonio “because she wanted to be able to share with the community just how you're making a difference.”
Perez called the news “wonderful!"
That's when Ross entered the classroom with a big smile on her face.
She walked over to Perez and held her hands. “I'm definitely very grateful for the phone call,” she told her. “It meant the world to me. When a child wants to harm themselves, moms can really be in a state of distress. And when you reached out, it meant so much. So I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much!”
Both women had tears streaming down their faces when they embraced with a hug.
Administrators from the school, who were watching from the back of the classroom, erupted in cheers.
Perez has been a school counselor for the last 16 years.
She said she picked the career because she wanted to try and make a difference.
"My heart is so full,” she told Wolf. “I didn't choose this job. This job chose me. This is my journey. And I am so elated. I am just over the moon."
Wolf shared how her CASH FOR KINDNESS nomination came with a prize.
"In my pocket is something special just for you," he said.
Wolf pulled out a handful of $100 bills from Fox San Antonio.
"$500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000,” Ross counted aloud while crying. “I can't even speak. I'm speechless. I'm just so happy. I do what I do because I love my job and I love working with these families and the community, especially these children."
It’s a passion that was not only recognized-- but rewarded!
“A thousand dollars on CASH FOR KINDNESS,” the smiling counselor said while holding her money up high.
Ross said she planned to use the money to help other students, not herself.
Click here to nominate someone for the $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS award.