No matter who you are, you can agree that teachers are some of the most important professionals in the world. Teachers shape our next generation of doctors, politicians, firefighters, and more with their guidance, and often with little thanks. Many find they have to work second jobs in order to go the extra mile and provide their students quality education.
One preschool director in Indianapolis is no exception. Renee Dixon is no stranger to the fact that, due to COVID-19, 2020 was an even more difficult year than usual to many families. It was in the months leading up to the holiday season, however, that this came even more clear. As the child of a single-parent in a low-income family, Dixon knows the sting of going without.
Renee Dixon. Credit: The Washington Post
“So many of our families don’t have money to get Christmas presents this year,” she says. “Some parents have lost their jobs, others have had their wages cut back. A lot of them already come from low-income families and are below the poverty line.”
Dixon decided she couldn’t like the 50 children who attended her preschool go without a visit from Santa. In order to make that happen, Dixon began driving for Uber and Lyft alongside her job of preschool director. For weeks, she gave her free time in order to make a difference in the lives of her students.
The hard work garnered her not only enough money for the children, but for the childrens’ siblings and even enough for a Christmas bonus for her staff. Funds in hand, Dixon took to Target with her husband’s co-worker, Eva Cheung. They filled their cart with a variety of toys to appeal a variety of children.
“You read about people like Renee, but when you are finally able to connect with somebody like that and help fulfill their vision, it’s an amazing feeling,” Cheung says.
Renee Dixon’s story
Working as an Uber and Lyft driver means you meet a great deal of people. While making conversation with her passengers, Dixon would occasionally share her plan of giving back to her students. As news tends to, word of Dixon’s story spread like wildfire. First, It granted her local support. Then national donations came pouring in.
When Pat Hurst, general manager of the Andy Mohr Nissan Dealership, caught wind of Renee Dixon, he decided to return the favor. Dixon was absolutely floored by the gesture. She had wanted a Nissan Armada for many years for traveling with her children and grandchildren, but the car was so much more than a kind gesture. After losing an uncle and a cousin to COVID, the car was a reminder that there is still good in the world.
But for Renee Dixon, helping children wasn’t with the potential benefits she could reap in mind.
“Everyone always told me I have a big heart,” Dixon says. “I said, ‘No, I love children.’”
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