WEST JORDAN, Utah – A donation to a school for children with special needs will help them build more accessible swings, and the donation came along with a visit from the Utah Jazz Bear.
The $5,000 donation will help the Kauri Sue Hamilton School build new swing sets for children in wheelchairs.
“When that bear shows up, these kids are just alive,” said Shelley Woeste, a physical therapist at the school. “They are so pumped, it's amazing how excited and enthusiastic: They are just jazzed to see this guy.”
It’s all in celebration of a major donation.
“We received a phone call from the Utah Jazz saying that we’ve been selected to receive $5,000 from them and Mountain America Credit Union,” Principal Rita Bouillon said.
Staff members at the school have been dreaming of the perfect playground for months, one that every child can interact with, no matter if they're in a wheelchair or not.
“So we have a playground, we have accessible equipment, but we don't have enough accessible equipment for the kids in wheelchairs,” Bouillon said. “So we’d already been dreaming of this, we already had a little bit of money set aside for it.”
Combined with what they already have saved, this donation will go a long way. Construction is expected to begin this spring and be finished by fall.
“Giving them $5,000 has just been a pretty emotional experience, watching the joy that comes across the face of someone who can just spend a moment with the Jazz Bear and feel his fuzzy fur,” said Marshall Paepke, executive vice president for Mountain America Credit Union.
Staff members at the school said this particular donation is special because they can do whatever they want with it. And, at the end of the day, the Jazz Bear even got a smile out of staffers.
“I’m thinking I just need to wear a costume and get out there too,” Woeste said. “They are so excited, and I’m excited to see how happy and alert and responsive they are to him.”
The check will be presented to the school February 19 during a Jazz game.
To learn more about the school, click here.