Through a unique program at the De Zavala Elementary School in Houston, TX, teacher Jillean Herrera organizes special field trips for her students with disabilities. It’s all to ensure these kids experience the same things as those in a general education setting.
“I really want to get the kids out into the community so they could experience things their parents can’t afford to take them to, or aren’t comfortable [doing],” she told LittleThings.
This time, Herrera signed her students up for the Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder, a specially designed 1-mile obstacle course where they’d have to crawl, climb, and run. Many of the students, some of whom have orthopedic impairments, are usually uncomfortable with those types of activities.
But how did they do the day of the Mini Mudder?
“The kids thrived, they really did,” Herrera said. “They did so well and it conquered so many of their fears.”
Aside from accomplishing the feat, the students also seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
See some of the incredible photos from the event below…
The days leading up to the Mini Mudder were nerve-racking since there was no telling how the middle school-aged students would do in the obstacle course.
But to Herrera’s delight, her students from the Skills for Learning and Living program thrived.
Even those with intense fears managed to make it through the course, including a student whose mother was initially reluctant to let her participate.
“She has a lot of fear of a lot of things and as she was jumping into one of the mud pits, the only thing she was complaining about was how dirty she was and she needed to take a shower,” Herrera told LittleThings. “She was not afraid of finding out about things you would think she would be afraid of. That just made me feel happy.”
It was also incredible, the proud teacher said, to witness how much students were helping one another out.
Even ones from the general education classes stepped in to give those with disabilities a helping hand. She called this teamwork a “blessing.”
Herrera, who has been a teacher at the school for three years, also believes the students will continue to benefit from the skills they picked up that day.
“The stuff I wanted them to get past, like fear of jumping over things, fear of climbing, working with other people, they did so well,” she said. “I feel they’ll [remember] some of the skills from the Tough Mudder.”
Watch the video below, and please SHARE to not only commend kindhearted teachers like this one, but to encourage others to also include children with special needs in activities!
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