Paying it Forward: Teacher who mentors at-risk kids gets assistance from church

Teachers are always helping others, but sometimes they need a little help themselves.

A local church has done just that, paying it forward to an educator who is also a single mom and a great friend to many. Even with a full-time job, she was having trouble making ends meet once the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"I was behind in my rent for quite a few months, and I'm a teacher, so I've been working hard tutoring," explained Shayna Castano, "working in a restaurant, doing whatever it takes."

To help through the hard times, she was gifted a $1,000 check from The Kingdom Church of Orlando. Every week, the church surprises someone with a check. It was a huge surprise, that came just in time.

"I was like, 'Oh, rent money!'" Castano said.

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Castano's friend, Jason Davis, nominated her because of her giving spirit. Castan started a nonprofit called Exodus United back in 2015

We mentor at-risk youth and we facilitate arts and education, programs like poetry, hip hop are, we take kids to the studio. We mentor them to give them positive outlets to express themselves," Castano said.

She has worked at a number of organizations that help at-risk children, and she also looks out for her friends.

Davi is a single dad and when the pandemic closed schools, his 15-year-old son had to take classes virtually.  Davis still had to work so Castano invited her son to study in her home and gave him a laptop, all while she was teaching her own class remotely.

"She made sure he stayed on task, you know, and stayed out of trouble while I was at work," Davis said.

"We out here wanting to continue to be a blessing in people's lives," said Pastor Daron Dixon of The Kingdom Church. "It's about spreading love."

If you have a "Paying it Forward" story that you would like for us to cover, message LuAnne Sorrell on Facebook.