Positive People in Pinecrest – Rebekah Castano

Positive People in Pinecrest - Rebekah Castano
Positive People in Pinecrest - Rebekah Castano
Rebekah Castano

At the May 12 Westminster Christian School graduation, senior Rebekah Castano will be on stage and give a speech as salutatorian. Among her many honors, Rebekah is the recipient of the National Medal of Merit which is given to those who have shown leadership in the community and excelled academically.

Castano’s leadership abilities come into focus with the club she founded called Angels in Action. The club is her response to her grandmother’s ongoing problems with dementia.

“We work at East Ridge with patients with dementia,” she says. “We provide minimal crafts. We do painting, pumpkins, and made little Christmas trees. We play music with them. They like to sing.”

The students go every two to three weeks, depending on availability. The group is generally six to ten students each time. Which patients attend the sessions depends on their condition that day.
It makes the teens happy to visit.

“There is one resident that we all love,” she says. “She speaks Spanish and she loves to sing in Spanish. She’s a really kind lady. She tries to teach us words and phrases.”

Castano says the students go as a group so they can work with as many patients as possible. The teens help the seniors hold their paint brushes and help make the birdhouses.

“If we are doing the birdhouse, it’s a couple of residents to one person,” she says. “The mental ability of the residents is all over the place. Some can’t even do the crafts.”

Going to East Ridge to work with the dementia patients has taught her much.

“I definitely learned that doing small things goes a long way,” Castano says. “The last time I went, the daughter of one of the residents was thanking me. ‘You don’t understand, when you come it lights up their day’.”

The teens benefit as well.

“People are always talking about it,” she says. “I love spending time with the elderly. Now that we (students) are getting older, grandparents have passed away.”

When Castano goes off to college, her younger sister will take over the club and keep it going.
Castano plans to attend Covenant College in Chattanooga.

“I’ll be studying missions and theology,” she says. “Hopefully I’ll become a missionary. Hopefully I’ll find a church and they’ll put me in a missions program. I’m sure I’ll be happy going where they need me to go, in another country or right here in Miami.”

The decision to become a missionary was influenced by the trip to Nicaragua sponsored by the Missions Club.

“We were able to build a home for a small family,” she says. “It was nothing special, it was a cinderblock home. A one room house. But before that they were living in a shack that was deteriorating.”

Going on that trip made her realized how blessed she is.

“Realizing how content they are,” she says. “Here in Miami we complain about what car they get. There they are fine with what they have.”

At school, she’s also president of the National Honor Society and the National English Honor Society. The English Honor Society sponsors essay editing to English and History classes.

“We had a workshop to help freshman to help with the research paper,” she says.

The club sponsored a book drive to benefit the Children’s Trust.

She’s also a member of Rho Kappa, the History Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the Foreign Language Honor Society and the varsity basketball team.

This summer, Castano hopes to go on a mission trip to Jamaica with her church.

Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld

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