Photo of the Week

By 4 Comments 1,232 views

Joyce Gilos Torrefranca

This photo has been trending on my FB newsfeed. It was taken last month by Joyce Gilos Torrefranca, a medical student in Cebu:

It shows 9-year-old Daniel Cabrera kneeling on the pavement with the famous golden arches in the background.

He’s using a makeshift wooden bench as he writes in his workbook.

“For me as a student, it just hit me a lot, like big time,” Joyce Torrefranca told the Philippine news network ABS-CBN.

“This kid, he doesn’t have anything but he has dedication to study.”

Joyce said seeing Daniel struggling with his homework inspired her to work harder.

The photo was quickly shared thousands of times with other people saying they’d been inspired by him too.

An inspirational reminder of the blessings in our own lives, the struggles of those less fortunate, and the adage that if it’s important enough to you, you will find a way; if it’s not, you will find excuses.

Gymnastics is an expensive, “elitist” sport; and many kids don’t have the opportunity to discover their potential in the environment of training in a well-managed, well-equipped, well-coached facility. As a gymnastics coach, I try and remind my athletes to never take their opportunities in life for granted.

I have one athlete on the team whose parents struggle to afford her monthly tuition. The mom does not speak fluent English. Does not have a computer or email. She once pulled her daughter out of gym. At the end of the month and at the end of practice, without fanfare or warning, her kid comes up to me and matter-of-factly states, “This is my last day. Bye.” I guess the mom was too embarrassed to let us know her husband lost his job and they were struggling. She was doing extra work just for her daughter because she knew how much her daughter loves gymnastics Fortunately we were able to talk her into keeping her daughter- my gymnast- enrolled in our program. I’m grateful to the gym I work for in that the owner and office management were willing to work with the mom and negotiate something that she could afford.

At the annual Vidmar Invitational out in Los Angeles, ’84 Olympian Peter Vidmar reminds the competitors of this life lesson, telling the gymnasts that the next time their parents drop them off at the gym, to take pause and thank their parents and show deep appreciation. Because their parents don’t have to do any of this: Driving them to practice, financing it, watching meets, etc.

The 3 golden rules for the staff at my gym:

Do your best…

Always do the right thing…

And everyday, do something selfless that benefits others.

4 Responses to “Photo of the Week”

  1. 1

    Nanny G

    That’s such a sweet reminder.
    When I was just a little girl I ice skated where the US Olympic team happened to practice.
    One of the men encouraged me to try speed skates.
    I loved them.
    Then he helped me learn how to take corners and how to accelerate from a cold start.
    When they went to Europe, just before the games, their plane crashed and all died.
    I used to speed skate at that rink until well after I got married.
    I tried to encourage other girls, especially the taller ones (I am short, too short to ever have been competitive).
    Thanks for the reminders.

  2. 2

    john

    The crash that killed the skaters took place in 1961. It was the US Figure Skating Team on route to the World Championships not the Speed Skaters.
    Your story was a bit ironic it was sort of like the ones that caused Brian Williams to lose his job because of his misstatement of facts.
    And almost all the short track speed skaters are short.
    But other than that thanks for sharing the story as you remember it

  3. 3

    Bill

    What that kid is doing is the only way out of poverty. It ain’t easy, it ain’t glamorous but it can’t be avoided. No one can progress in society without an education and one must be dedicated and committed to it to accomplish it.

    Compare that to here where the left makes those in poverty believe that the government will simply keep compensating them for being in poverty. If the solution is not immediate and painless, they want no part of it. Changing their culture and committing themselves to education and family is the formula for success and the longer they wait to begin, the longer it will take to succeed.

  4. 4

    Nanny G

    Nice epilogue:

    As Daniel’s story spread across the web, donations began to pour in for his family.

    A local politician, Rep. Samuel Pagdilao, has given Daniel a scholarship, and Espinosa has been given grants from sponsors to start her own business, ABS-CBN reported. The family have also received donations of money and food from local law enforcement and are working with a social worker to see how else they can be helped, according to the TV station.

    $1.77 per day was the boy’s family’s old reality.
    Things are changing for them now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *