Nathan Pantoja epitomizes what it means to give back to the community. Starting a Bay Area wrestling program for middle school and elementary students in East Palo Alto, Nathan has shown that his real job is more than being a teacher – it’s to give his whole heart to empowering these children. Listen to his words and you’ll know that he believes in something special: “we’re trying to instill positive character growth in kids, giving them a chance to flourish and be passionate… try something new and push themselves beyond limits and abilities.”
From hearing Nathan’s attitude about volunteerism, two questions immediately come to mind: (1) Why don’t I have a heart of gold like this guy? And (2) Wow, where did he learn to care so much about other people? Number 2 has a more inspiring answer – Nathan first learned what it meant to have a heart for his community when he became an E-Soccer coach years before he started teaching at Beechwood Elementary School. Creating a Bay Area wrestling program became an easy and logical next step.
Working closely with children with special needs and coaching them to play soccer helped plant in him seeds of community outreach that he has grown to love. Nathan, a member of the Bay Area Christian Church, has demonstrated that walks the walk because he wants to make others great. As Nathan says, “My reward is seeing these kids smile… seeing them grow… coming together as a team.”
Check out the video below for a in depth expose on the creation development of Nathan’s Bay Area wrestling program, or read more on the story from the local news site The Almanac.