Nicholas Ferroni is a social studies teacher at Union High School in New Jersey, but he is so much more than that. According to NJ.com, he’s an advocate for student nutrition, a former soap opera actor, and People magazine’s 2014 pick for Sexiest Teacher Alive (yes, I’m serious).
Above all though, he’s a true mentor to his pupils. He doesn’t just treat them like students, he treats them like his own children.
That’s why, when a former student of his seemed down, he got to the bottom of why that was and did something about it.
Nicholas Ferroni found out that a former student had been evicted and his mom has lost her job.
Final day of filming. Today’s historic lesson takes place at @harvard. #teacherlife #history #harvard
Given Ferroni’s dad-like attitude, he likes to check up on former students between classes. In late May, he spoke to George Hued as he had every day, but this time something seemed off.
George revealed that his mother, Melanie Robinson, had lost her job and couldn’t keep up payments on their house. He and his family had been evicted and had to stay at a friend’s place while Robinson looked for work.
Ferroni was extremely saddened by this but he wasn’t just going sit by while George and his family suffered.
On May 31, Ferroni set up a GoFundMe for Robinson and sent out a Facebook video to spread the word.
This wasn’t something that the school asked him to do, and he received no assistance from them in setting all this up. He did this purely because he felt like it was the right thing to do.
“Not only as educators, but as people, if you are in a position to help, you help,” Ferroni told Babble.
The goal was to raise $5,000, which would be enough to put down a deposit and pay a few month’s rent for a new place while Robinson searched for a job. Within three days, the campaign not only met its goal but exceeded it!
Later that week, he presented a nearly $5,000 check to the family.
By the end of the campaign, 155 donors had raised $5,355 for the family. Ferroni was able to spread the news far and wide while still keeping it a secret from George and his family.
While all of this is incredibly impressive on Ferroni’s part, he remains ever humble.
“I may have started [the campaign],” he said. “But 150 people you’ve never met sharing it—to me, that was the whole purpose.”
Soon after raising the money, Ferroni invited George and Robinson into the classroom to give them a check. A Facebook video clarified that the check he handed them was for $4,600 with an additional $500 check on the way.
Robinson accepted the gift with tears and a hug saying, “This is going right to my new landlord … I won’t have to pay rent until September.”
She also told Ferroni, “This will inspire other people to help out.”
Robinson was right. The video had been viewed over 6,000 times in just two weeks. After watching it, it’s hard not to feel compelled to do something for others.
Ferroni hopes to instill this mind set in everyone but especially teachers.
“Teachers are so much than just teachers in many cases,” he told Babble. “We do whatever we can to make sure a child is emotionally stable.”
Robinson was recently hired for a new job. So, between Ferroni’s gift and her new employment, George should be both emotionally and financially stable for quite a long time.