At age 16, Jose Alberto Ramirez received some encouraging words from his pastor that he should connect with the community of Los Alcarrizos for the purpose of helping the areas youth realize their abilities in basketball and baseball. He immediately had success so much so, Lighthouse Schools director Cristian Santiago, took notice. Two years later, Ramirez came on board with the school as a volunteer in the physical education area. Without question, Jose was a diamond in the making.....
But it wasn't just the skills he possessed, it was the character he exhibited. To give you a little insight into the makeup of the man, catch this from a Cleveland group who sent a mission team to Lighthouse in 2012.
"The last time I visited the Dominican Republic, I asked Jose why none of the teams had ever built a house for him. His reply was so typical Jose. "There are too many people who need a house more than me. I just think about how I can help others, not how others can help me. He has served faithfully with his time and talents. Now he is being blessed him with a home of his own".
|Ramirez leads the right way......|
It wasn't all that long ago that Ramirez was overweight. When I asked him through my translator, Deb Heredia how much weight he'd lost, there was a rather sheepish response. "Some where in the neighborhood of 45 pounds"|, he replied.
Frankly, that's what was most convincing to his students. Over a year period, he knocked off all the unnecessary weight....something students could see first hand. Not only was it exercise that made a difference, Jose focused on a diet that helped him significantly.
That was the eye opener for his students. Not only did they see the progress that he made, they realized that if they indeed were in a similar situation...... there was a road to travel. "We like to see the kids grow", said Ramirez. "Be yourself is our motto. But most importantly, we have to show love and respect.
Listening to Ramirez speak, I have to tell you, gave me encouragement for the youth of Lighthouse. They aren't necessarily building world-class athletes.....they are molding well-rounded individuals.
What does the future hold for Jose? Where is he headed? He's always had this dream of being a lawyer..... and secondarily, involved with physical education. I asked him if he'd be disappointed if his dream of being a lawyer never transpired. And he quickly replied "no."....
If that's not a consistent comment from a young man focused on his future....I'm not sure what is. And I think back to the comment from the Cleveland people...."I just think about how I can help others".
"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it:-Proverbs 22:6