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Volunteers reach out to Utah kids with special needs

SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - 12 thousand people are giving back as part of the Canyons School District Volunteer Program, but a small group of volunteers is making all the difference for kids with special needs.
SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - 12 thousand people are giving back as part of the Canyons School District Volunteer Program, but a small group of volunteers is making all the difference for kids with special needs.

Lunch time may be over, but cleanup at Granite Elementary School in Sandy has just begun. Administrators here told ABC4 Utah the lunchroom runs like a well oiled machine thanks to Robert, a former student turned volunteer.

"Does this job make you happy?" a teacher asked him.  "Happy, yeah, happy," Robert replied.

Robert is deaf, but he is still known for giving back.

"I like the kids and I like the work," he said.

He is not alone. 

"We are grateful to be here because the kids really need help," Heather said. 

Heather is another volunteer who spends the majority of her time in the classroom.

"Heather does a reading program for us or will help with art projects or any special projects we have," Laura Bossard said.  She is a special education teacher that works with Heather and other volunteers like Jennifer.

As a child, Jennifer wanted to be a teacher.  Now she volunteers to help students reach their goals.

"What we have seen with Robert, Heather, and Jenny is that they are truly independent, happy, functioning people that give back to society," Bossard said.

All three are former special needs students.  For that reason they have chosen to focus on students just like them.

"I like being a teacher and being around other students," Jennifer said.  "It makes me feel good inside." 

Right now, Granite Elementary has three special needs classrooms and school officials say this small group of volunteers has made all the difference.  Students are getting much more one on one tutoring.  In addition, they look to their classroom volunteers as an example, proof that like those before them, they can grow up and reach their goals.
















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