SAN FRANCISCO - A Bay Area teacher who lost his job amid the pandemic is now facing eviction.
On his own time, he's been teaching first responders how to speak English. Now, he plans to take his language skills on the road.
Dino Rosso lives in San Francisco and plans to move out of the Bay Area, but continue with his goal of bridging the language divide all over the state.
His students are first responders including firefighters, EMTs and nurses from around the Bay Area so they can better serve the public.
"I like to be a helper. I work with helpers. Helpers tend to put other people first," said Rosso.
First responders say Rosso teaches them more than Spanish: it is communication to offer comfort and a connection with those in distress.
"He's very humble. At the end of the day, he just wants you to learn," said Serina Abu Arafeh, a nurse.
"A lot of times I get a lesson from him I can use that the same day when I go to work," said Steve Carson, an EMT.
Now, Rosso needs help. He has lost his job and his business due to the pandemic.
The 43-year-old was laid off from his job teaching Spanish at Waldorf High School in San Francisco for seven years.
His business teaching restaurant workers, who are often immigrants, to speak English and teaching front of the house staff Spanish, is gone.
He says his life's work has always been about bridging the language divide.
"A business that I created from scratch essentially was gone overnight so those things were devastating," said Rosso.
The teacher is now also facing eviction from his one-bedroom apartment.
When his first responder students heard about his dilemma, they wanted to show their support for a man they describe as their hero.
"He is giving something so valuable. He's giving his time; his knowledge, his ability to give his knowledge to all of us without asking anything back in return," said Lt. Jonathan Baxter with the San Francisco Fire Department who is also one of Rosso's students.
Rosso plans to purchase a blue school bus that he could live out of so he can travel up and down the state to start a new business: teaching farmers Spanish And their workers English.
"I want to empower immigrants by teaching them English," says Rosso.
He plans to continue to volunteer his time teaching first responders via the internet.
"I can't be helpful to other people if I myself am not lifting myself up where I need to be and moving forward," said Rosso.
The teacher says he's grateful for what he does have.
He has work lined up in Mexico for six months.
He hopes to raise enough money to buy the school bus so when he's back in California, he can help farm workers.