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Richmond teacher whose ‘act of kindness’ went viral donates to former school

Posted at 1:32 PM, Oct 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 13:37:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. – An act of kindness that touched hearts across the country made Richmond teacher Robert Dunham go viral earlier this year. Friday, the fifth-grade teacher’s giving spirit continued when he gave back to his former school Carver Elementary.

Dunham recently appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” after a photo of him giving a haircut to a student before a fifth-grade graduation ceremony went viral. During his visit last month, guest host Dax Shepard surprised Dunham with two checks worth $10,000 each for his good deed.

“It has definitely been a surreal experience,” said Dunham. “I did not expect all of these things to happen, but I’m very happy and I’m very humbled that I’ve been put in this position where I can continue to help those and continue to bless other children.”

Dunham, now a teacher at Overby Sheppard Elementary, returned to Carver Friday morning to present Principal Tiawana Giles with a $2,000 check for their Embrace Carver Foundation which supports the school's vision to achieve greatness and help students succeed.

“I have always made the promise that If something were to transpire, whether I was to be on Ellen or anything like that, if somehow I could come back to Carver to be a blessing than I would do that. That’s what I did today,” said the fifth-grade teacher.

Superintendent Jason Kamras, who attended to check presentation, says Dunham is a great example of teaching with love.

“Starting off with how he works with his kids, providing students haircuts, everything that stated all of this, and now he’s just continuing that by donating some of the money to the Embrace Carver Foundation to help Carver achieve greatness and support the young people here,” said Kamras.

Photo Credit: Dionyah Randolph

“Being here at Carver today is a homecoming. I'm back home where my roots are and I’m happy to be here to once again put my arms around the school where I was able to work with so many great kids here last year,” said Dunham.

Dunham said he believes the viral haircut photo has inspired thousands to go above and beyond their day-to-day duties and even inspired teachers during their toughest times.

“This story has literally impacted so many people and other people are just finding ways to do random acts of kindness and that’s what we need right now in this country,” added Dunham.

Dunham has now started a non-profit "BethechangeRVA",  which works with local barbers to mentor children and provide free haircuts.