MORENO VALLEY, Calif. – Teachers have the ability to influence their students beyond their classrooms and into the future. Ruby Cortez had two teachers who inspired her to follow in their footsteps.

“I can only work to emulate what I learned from them and do my best in helping my own students,” says Ruby Cortez.

Ms. Cortez teaches AVID at Valley View High School in Moreno Valley. AVID is a class that prepares students for success in college and their adult life, all while working to close the opportunity gap between them. Most of her students are from low-income families and will be the first in their homes to go to college.

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“I want to be there as that person that makes them realize, if I can and they let me, to realize that they can do so much more than what they think they can,” says Cortez.

The AVID teacher knows that struggle since she was the first in her family to graduate from a university. She wants to make sure that her students are prepared by giving them the tools they need now and even after they leave her class.

Cortez wants to gift each of her students a book titled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Author Sean Covey. In the book, Covey discusses how teenagers can become more independent and effective by following seven basic habits. The habits range from being proactive in every aspect of one’s life to planning and prioritizing one’s daily life and responsibilities.

“It’s an interesting book. I think my students will be invested in especially because for this group of students, being highly effective is what they need to do in order to do well at a 4-year institution setting,” says Cortez.

However, it was going to cost the teacher about $500 to purchase 36 books. Cortez turned to a crowdsourcing and donation website called Donors Choose. As of Monday morning she has reached her fundraising goal.

Currently, Cortez only has one copy which she reads to her students like 17-year-old Isaiah Chavez-Chappell who didn’t have plans to go to college before her class.

“I really appreciate it and I try to show it as much as I can. There’s not that many teachers like her,” says student Isaiah Chavez-Chappell.

Isaiah plans on pursuing a career in physical therapy and is thinking about applying to California State University, Fullerton.

Cortez is a firm believer that her students are the future. She says her students have been through so much in their personal lives that they deserve people who will support their dreams of going to college so they can help the world become a better place.

To help Cortez give her students a resource to refer back to when they need help post-high school, visit this link to donate.