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steven nava, hose villaruel, homeless teacher

Steven Nava hugs his former teacher, José Villaruel.

For decades, José Villaruel, 78, was a substitute teacher in Fontana, California, 50 miles west of Los Angeles, where he was affectionately known in schools as “Mr. V.” But all of that changed in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After schools pivoted to distance learning, the substitute teacher was out of work.

Villaruel was forced to retire and live off his social security check, but he had debts and sent a large portion of his money to Mexico to pay for care for his sick wife. To make ends meet, Villaruel was forced to live in his blue Thunderbird until his fortunes improved. But he had a strong hope they would.

Around that time, Steven Nava began to notice someone sleeping in their car every morning in a parking lot near his home.

"I noticed that he had all of his belongings in his car, and that's when I realized he was homeless," Nava told NBC Los Angeles. He also noticed that the man living in his car was his former substitute teacher, Mr. V.

Once Nava made the connection, he gave him $300 to stay in a hotel room for a few nights.


"I had a mission to help the teacher who was going through a difficult time during the pandemic,” he said. "I spoke to Mr. V., and he told me that the only source of income was a monthly Social Security check and that most of that money was sent to his wife who is very ill in Mexico."

Knowing that Villaruel needed more help, Nava put together a GoFundMe fundraiser for him and posted about it on social media.

Nava’s tweets quickly went viral and he raised $27,000 for his friend. On Villaruel’s 77th birthday, Nava, with the help of a local news station and former students, surprised him with a check for $27,000. "Everybody always recognized him because when he went into the classroom he always had just such good energy," Melissa Lopez, a former student of Mr. V.'s, told Fox 11 at the ceremony.

After the initial fundraiser ended, Nava started a second fundraiser that earned $30,000 more for Villaruel.

"It is an experience of my life that will be kept for the rest of my life. I carry it in my heart," Villaruel said. "I felt that something was going to happen, that things were going to change, and it happened suddenly when I least expected it.

“I tell the students when they have a project, keep going despite the difficulties, don't give up. Do not give up. Don't quit." Mr. V. didn’t quit and his students didn’t give up on him.

@stevennava_

update- THANK YOU! we’ve been busy with interviews, NEW YT VID TONIGHT 6PM PST| LINK IN BIO GO SUB! #fyp #foryoupage #thankyou #mrv

The story of Nava and Mr. V. is a powerful example of the effect that a teacher—even a substitute—can have on their students. No one deserves to be without a home, especially those who spent decades educating children.

In September 2021, Nava revealed that thanks to all the help, Mr. V. was able to return to his family in Puebla, Mexico. “So long friend,'' he wrote on a TikTok video. “Keep spreading positivity.”

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How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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