YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – For the last 15 years, Jasbir Bhullar has been working with students from Puerto Rico, teaching English as a second language in the Youngstown City Schools.
“I am what I am today because of Youngstown City Schools. I love it here. I can’t work anywhere else,” she said.
Jasbir also can’t help but give back to her students — no matter what it takes.
“It’s not just about someone who’s teaching them ABCs and grammar and writing, but educating their whole being,” she said.
What October’s hurricanes left in their wake weighed heavily on Jasbir’s heart. She had just visited Puerto Rico — the place most of her students call home — earlier in the year. She was moved by pictures of the devastation.
“I saw it and I was literally in so much pain and I said, ‘Oh my god, it’s all just getting ruined.’ So I ended up sending a small check,” Jasbir said.
Five-hundred dollars of her own money. But she didn’t stop there.
Jasbir is the vice president of the American Sikh Council and persuaded all of the organization’s board members to collect donations for hurricane victims.
“We collected $3,000 and I ended up sending that money to them,” she said.
Specifically, to a nonprofit organization in San Juan.
Since donating that check to the relief efforts, Jasbir said she’s now focusing on helping her students — some of whom have just moved to the Youngstown area — prepare for winter.
“They don’t even have enough sweaters or coats,” she said. “I’m going to buy, this weekend or next weekend…I’ve already bought for another student because I love doing these things.”
Youngstown Schools CEO Krish Mohip said Jasbir embodies what teachers in the district are all about.
“These are some of the best teachers that the county has. Some of the best teachers in the state.”
Jasbir just hopes she can be a role model for her students.
“So that they remember they had someone in their life who really, really showered them with love and affection and all the nurturing that I have,” she said.