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Special needs students participate in Christmas shopping spree
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
Christmas came early for about 200 Beaumont Independent School District special needs students today. The Glenda Jean Mostyn and Joe E. Moreno Educational Foundation funded a shopping spree for students at Wal-Mart. Each special needs student was given a 50-dollar gift card, and paired with another student who helped them stay in budget. Special needs students could pick out whatever Christmas presents they wanted.
Dylan Adkins helped Michael Littlefield shop for Christmas gifts. The pair also shopped together last year.
"We always have a lot of fun," said Adkins. "We always find some loud things to make his parents oh so happy at home."
Stacey Hansard is the Life Skills teacher at West Brook High School. She says the students have a blast, and look forward to this event every year. However, this event is about more than just having fun. It also teaches important life skills.
"This is an opportunity to get out of the classroom. To actually do the whole process of purchasing something in real life. People take for granted how easy it is, and for our kids it's not as easy, it's a process," said Hansard.
The Mostyn and Moreno Foundation is spending about 100-thousand dollars this year to support more than 1,000 special needs students in 12 Texas public school districts. The foundation hopes to help students have a merry Christmas, and practice skills that will help them later in life.
"If they don't practice them they'll lose them, and they need that real life experience so that when they do leave school they can be as independent as they possibly can, and that's very important to us," said the Executive Director of the Mostyn and Moreno Educational Foundation, Monte Osburn.
After shopping, the foundation treated the students to lunch at the MCM Elegante Hotel. Hansard says this is another great learning experience.
"I try to get them into the community as much as I can, doing other activites as well, and they're going to eat out today after this which is another great opportunity to work on eating skills, things like that, manners," said Hansard.
Adkins and Littlefield both had a great time. Littlefield bought a Duck Dynasty pillow, a football, a basketball, and some other items.
"Seeing him smile, it warms everybody's heart," said Adkins.