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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