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An 11-Year-Old Started the ‘El Paso Challenge’ to Help His Community Heal

EL PASO, T.X. — Sixth-grader Ruben Martinez wants to hold up posters, pass out flyers and promote a challenge on Facebook he thinks will help his Texas community begin to heal from a devastating shooting that claimed the lives of 22 people and injured 24 others.

He calls it the #ElPasoChallenge.

Here’s how it works: The 11-year-old is challenging each person in El Paso to do 22 good deeds for others — one for each of the victims shot and killed when a white supremacist began firing Saturday inside a Walmart.

You can mow someone’s lawn, visit a nursing home, pay for someone’s lunch or dinner, donate to families in need, write someone a letter and tell them how great they are, hold the door for everyone, take flowers to someone in the hospital or leave a dollar on the vending machine for the next person, the young boy suggests, among other ideas in a list of “kind acts” examples.

The point is for people to “be kind to each other all day, every day,” his mom, Rose Gandarilla, said. Her son’s idea, she said, came after Ruben told his mom he didn’t want to go shopping at stores anymore, asking if they could find a delivery service instead.

“He was having some trouble dealing with what happened,” Gandarilla told CNN. “I explained to him that we could not live in fear and that people in our community are caring and loving. I told him to try and think of something he could do to make El Paso a little better.”

So, Ruben went to his room on Sunday, brainstormed and came up with the challenge — and he’s already leading the way.

“Last night, he agree(d) to go out to do his first act of kindness,” Gandarilla said Monday. “He chose to go deliver dinner to our first responders.”

The young boy and his mom have been to multiple places — Walgreens, Barnes & Noble and Sprouts — to spread the message.

“He seems to be doing better and says that hopefully, the world will be a better place with all these random acts of kindness.”


  • sassygirl58

    I love his idea. People are so rude to each other lately and it has nothing to do with race. A little kindness will go a long way. Personally, I am going to try to meet his challenge!

  • Lisa Marshinski

    Sounds like what my grandkids would do. This is something people should be doing in their daily lives anyway, not just because something bad happened. This country is so torn apart . . just as the left has been planning for decades. We don’t need mom and dad families, no God in schools, you don’t have to respect the flag and stand/say the Pledge of Allegiance, you can have anything you want because you want/deserve it, can’t hurt anyones feelings and ALWAYS blame someone else so you don’t have to be accountable. Look where we are today. I want nothing to do with it.

    • Sue Phillips

      you know they have to stick with the agenda …. divide, divide, divide!!!! most news services should really be ashamed of the way they report things.

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