Do you remember your summer job when you were a teenager? A lot of kids pick up summer jobs to make some cash, but we found one local teen who works for free!
Dominic Monaco is a running back on the Buckeye High School football team. His moves on and off the field have started a chain reaction of kindness.
On a hot summer day at Buckeye, Dominic is out on the practice field as a volunteer helping to mentor the junior high players. "It makes me feel good because I think they look up to me. I like it when I can help anyone in any way," he says.
Whether it's the football field, the basketball court, serving food at the Valley City Frog Jump Festival, or ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, Dominic is all about giving back.
"He works our youth camps for grades 1 to 8," explains Buckeye Athletic Director Tom Harrington. "He's mentoring young kids, working with them, encouraging them. Always very positive. And Dom is a leader because he lifts others up."
Dominic also takes part in the school's D.A.R.E/H.U.D.D.L.E program. He helps plan the curriculum to teach the younger kids to stay away from drugs and alcohol, as well as prevent bullying.
"So here you have an upperclassman, coming to talk to a 4 or 5th grader. A lot of the boys connect right away because he's an athlete. They see him on the football field and he comes into the classroom and talks to them about making good decisions," says Medina County Sheriff's Deputy John Girard, one of three D.A.R.E. officers in the county.
Why volunteer all this time? Dominic remembers the impact that an upperclassman had on him.
"When I was in elementary school, we each had like a high school buddy. I still remember mine to this day, so it just goes to show how much they actually mean to you," he recalls.
These simple acts of kindness go a long away. Dominic is also part of a group of kids who write encouraging words on post-it notes and stick them onto lockers to make people feel good.
Denise Dufala is the Be Kind Stick Together National Program Ambassador. She has written her first children's book, "Bomba the Brave," combining a story kids will enjoy, along with an important antibullying message. Click here to order your copy.