Special Needs Student Has Life-Changing Experience at JA BizTown ?

Kathie Lambinicio, the director of JA World and JA BizTown for Junior Achievement of Washington, shared a touching story she received from a parent volunteer at JA BizTown. One dad's special needs son attended JA BizTown and the experience was one neither father nor son will ever forget. The dad sent the following email to Kathie.

"I wanted to pass along my thanks and appreciation for the amazing job that you and your team at JA did today for the kids at Somerset Elementary. I also wanted to share my personal story from today because in our family, we celebrate every little victory and today delivered that in spades. Our special needs son, who attended today, missed about half of the classroom work due to his pull out schedule for key academic areas where he struggles. We worked to try and supplement the missed class time with our home therapy team but remained worried that he would be a bit lost when he arrived at JA BizTown.

"While he may have missed some of the finer points that his classmates grasped, he told me at the end of the day that it was the best day he ever spent at school. For a kid that has a difficult time relating even a few sentences as to how his day went, he talked about JA BizTown during the entire 30-minute trip back to Bellevue--that's never happened before. "He also related that he was 'really good at customer service.' He has never felt that he was good at virtually anything before. When he got to go to the TV station and perform an unscripted advertisement for his store, he was over the moon. It's a piece of video that will be shared with many family and friends because he was so proud of it!

"His full day at JA BizTown was followed by two hours of therapy this evening and the therapist commented that had never seen him so enthused about an experience. My problem now is that he wants to 'find a flat piece of ground and build our own BizTown!' He wants to know when he can come back and do the day again. "Anyway, please share our heartfelt thanks with your team. Special needs families get so few 'great days' that I wanted to share ours with you all who made it happen!"

Reading this story brought tears to my eyes, Kathie said. It's just one more reminder of why we do what we do.

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