Pay It Forward Finalist: Arlene Rangel spends own money for students

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
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Arlene Rangel of Bitely Elementary School, spends her own money to provide school supplies for students.

ROSEMEAD, Calif. (KABC) -- Students and staff can't help but smile when they pass Arlene Rangel in the halls of Bitely Elementary School.

Rangel, known as "Miss Yolie," works as a yard duty and cooking after school club leader at the school and said the children aren't just students, but her kids.

"In the morning, my little kids, when I come in they run to me and say, 'Miss Yoli,' and they hug me," Rangel said. "We almost fall on the floor. We're always having fun. I love my job!"

With that love, Rangel often times comes up with cash out of her own pocket to help students pay for after school supplies, so that no child ever feels left out.

"I see things and I buy them," Rangel said. "I buy jacks for the kids so they can play, craft supplies, whatever they need."

Rangel's friend of 40 years, Melena Hoyos, said Rangel would give someone the shoes off her feet if they needed them.

Hoyos said Rangel has never owned a car or new furniture because she is always focused on others.

"Even if she's hurting, you wouldn't know it," Hoyos said. "Because she's always picking everybody else up and making everybody else laugh and smile."

For these reasons, Hoyos nominated her for the "Pay It Forward" prize of $10,000 in furniture from Mathis Brothers.

Overwhelmed with tears, Rangel hugged Hoyos and thanked her for the nomination. She told ABC7 that she could use the prize money to purchase a new bed.

The grand prize winner will be announced Thursday on the ABC7 Morning News.