This week’s Pay it Forward is in York Township, York County, where a Dallastown teen surprised a woman she calls an inspiration and a great role model.
Like most 16 year olds, Rachel Church is just trying to find her way in the world, and she’s getting inspiration from an unlikely source.
“I dated her son for two years and I got to know her pretty well,” Church said about Maria DeFelice.
Though things didn’t work out romantically for Church and DeFelice’s son, DeFelice continues to have a profound impact on Church’s life.
“She has five children, two of them with mental and physical disabilities,” Church said. “And they are the nicest and sweetest people I’ve ever met. Her whole family.”
Already dealing with a lot, the DeFelice family was hit with another blow, when Maria lost her job over the summer.
But on this day, Church hoped to deliver some good news to DeFelice with a $200 surprise from Pay it Forward.
“I’m just really grateful that I can help her out because she’s a role model for me,” Church said. “When I grow up, I just want to be a lot like her.”
DeFelice was floored when Church surprised her with the money.
“Is this, like a news crew?” she asked.
Once the shock wore off, DeFelice explained that all of the hardships she and her family have faced over the years have made them better people.
“We’ve really learned what is important in life is family and taking care of family,” she said. “No matter what.”
Before we left for the night, DeFelice offered up a pitch for a new FOX43 segment.
“Is there any way that I could pay it backward?” she asked.
DeFelice said the money couldn’t have come at a better time. Her unemployment just ran out.
She’s currently back in school, pursuing a Master’s degree at Millersville University, so she can become a licensed therapist.
She’s planning on using the Pay it Forward money toward books for school.