SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFTA) — A selfless middle-schooler turns a school-project into a long-lasting relationship with students in the special education program.
It’s a class assignment, turning into a labor of love.
“I’m making these rice packs, kind of like a heated blanket for the special needs kids here,” said Nicole Devlin.
The eighth-grader is taking what she learned in her family and consumer science class and using it to help students in the special needs program at Lakeside Junior High in Springdale.
Her own money sometimes going into this project.
“I knew Nicole wanted to help them so she took it and she ran with it,” said Devlin’s teacher Ashley Coston. “She came up with the design, she bought materials for it…the rest of my class made aprons.”
Devlin said when the rice inside these blankets heats up, it relieves some of the stress or anxiety the students might feel.
“When I put it like on their neck or on their lap, and they just like look at it and smile and it’s kind of like a relief,” she said. “You just helped somebody and it brightened their day so it brightens yours.”
We can’t show these students due to privacy reasons, but Coston said Devlin’s relationship with them is priceless.
Coston said, “She doesn’t just give it to a student. She goes in there and talks to them when they might not get that interaction otherwise.”
Devlin hopes her project can grow into something even more impactful.
She said, “I’m starting small with just one classroom right now and by the end of the next year I want to have all of the classes here to have one, like I want each student to have their own.”
Coston is grateful this is more than a service project for this eighth-grader.
“It just makes me so proud to see somebody at her age that cares so much about other people and not just herself,” Coston said. “It just makes me so happy for the future and for future generations.”