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California Immigrant Boosts Children's Esteem : Published November 2006 All Rights Reserved


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California Immigrant Shares Experiences to Boost Children's Esteem


Nancy Tran Cantrell of southern California learned English for the first time when she was in her mid-30s. Now at 59, the former Vietnamese immigrant Cantrell tells of her challenges to inspire school children.

The California State Lottery awarded Cantrell its monthly  "Heroes in Education" award for her inspirational efforts.

Actress and children's advocate Alison Arngrim presented the award to Cantrell. The California Lottery partners with celebrities to present these awards, which recognize special individuals who volunteer time and resources to their schools and communities.

Cantrell mentors students at several middle schools and after-school programs at Boys and Girls Clubs in Orange County. She speaks with children about arriving in the states from Vietnam and of those new challenges she faced with the English language and culture.

Many of the children Cantrell addresses are non-national residents, but even those nationals can relate with Cantrell's lessons, the State Lottery claims,  with a universal message of: You can be somebody if you focus on the positive.

Cantrell uses in-class lessons to teach children the art of positive thinking and visualization to build self-esteem, which lead to making solid life choices that will improve their outlook.  In a typical lesson, Cantrell provides inspirational stories and takes the students through an essay writing exercise on that given topic.

Writing lessons are intended to help children set appropriate goals, explore their dreams, and understand that if they believe in themselves and their capabilities, they can achieve those dreams.

Cantrell has authored a book titled Seeds of Hope in which she chronicles her struggles and accomplishments so that others can use them as a road map for their own success.


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