Cathy Jasso is a special education teacher who has spent over four decades bringing out the best in students with a wide range of intellectual and physical disabilities.
She instills within them a sense of confidence and normalcy. As a result of her dedication, hundreds of students have been able to maintain fulfilling lives in spite of their afflictions.
Cathy Jasso Discovers Her Passion for Working With People With Disabilities
As early as high school, Cathy had been volunteering at Misericordia, a well-renowned Chicago-based home for people with disabilities. Her passion for serving the disadvantaged was immediately evident, and before long, she was a paid behavioral technician at Misericordia.
Cathy’s time as a behavioral technician was the seed that blossomed into her career in special education.
What Makes Cathy Jasso an Everyday Hero?
As anyone who works within the social services or education sectors will tell you, there is not a lot of money to be made in these fields; it is work that must be done purely out of passion, and this is something Cathy has in droves.
She is heroic because she has devoted four decades of her life to caring for an underprivileged sector of the population, putting them before any shred of desire for superfluous wealth.
What Impact Has Cathy Jasso Made?
It’s impossible to quantify the positivity that Cathy has brought into the lives of her students. While they are rarely shy to remind her how much she means to them, her impact is most evident in the many letters she has received from parents throughout the years.
“I have a big box of letters from parents,” she says. “The parents say things like, ‘I’m leaving my three year-old nonverbal child with someone else. I’ve never done that before, but when it’s with you, I feel comfortable doing so. Parents write me the most life-changing, beautiful notes.”
What Are Some of Cathy Jasso’s Greatest Struggles as a Teacher?
While Cathy manages to be a role model for her disadvantaged students, her own life has never been perfect. A major obstacle she had to overcome was the passing of her husband; diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, he required constant care at the end of his life, a responsibility that Cathy took upon herself whilst balancing her career.
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She is also a mother of four, As it is with any parent, juggling work and home life was no easy feat. However, she views her experience teaching as a necessary prerequisite to her experience as a mother.
To counter the many struggles Cathy has faced throughout her life, Cathy took up running early on in her career.
“I’ve been running for 38 years,” she says. “I run probably five or six miles a day. I look at it as my prayer time.”
Cathay Jasso on Heroism
Having spent the majority of her life making both financial and emotional sacrifices for the common good, Cathy is more than qualified to define the word “hero.”
According to her, a hero is someone who helps others that no one else is coming forth to help. She says that one does not have to give up their entire life to be a hero, as giving whatever you can give is heroic in and of itself.
“There is a hero in all of us,” she says. “No matter what, if you do great things, or little things with great intent, you’re a hero.”