Aspiring Eagle Scout Helps kids with special needs

HOWELL (WXYZ) - A sandbox was delivered at Southeast Elementary School in Howell Tuesday morning and it instantly brightened the smiles of some kids with special needs and disabilities.

To many of the students it is a dream come true, for an aspiring Eagle Scout, 17-year-old Jeremy Stoops, it is a labor of love.

"It's just really paid off honestly," said Jeremy.  "It's a big accomplishment for me."

The school was in need a sandbox which would allow special needs kids to play with their friends. The school applied for a grant but was turned down.

"Unfortunately we didn't get the grant, but we've just been trying to do whatever we can to make the playground more accessible for our students," said Kim Elder, an occupation therapist at the school.  "We were lucky enough to have our eagle scouts come to help us with this."

Stoop needed a project as he works his way up to become an Eagle Scout and decided to help the kids.

It took about six months of planning, a lot of fundraising, and the assistance of his fellow scouts.

"Seeing those kids' faces," said scout Jacob Repino.  "A small project can make a big difference in all the kids."

 "Kind of made it a plus one kind of," said Stoops.  "It was really nice honestly.  It made me really happy to see how happy they all were."

Stoops' father, Jamie Stoops, was at the school along with other scouts and their parents as the sandbox was unveiled to the students.

All together, the kids shouted "Thank You" to the scouts.

"It's all about leadership right now becoming an Eagle Scout," said Jamie Stoops.  "It's really good to see my son actually make a difference. To do a project like this for a school that needs."

"I really couldn't be happier," said Jeremy Stoops.  "I think this is one of the biggest accomplishments in my life."

Jeremy Stoops will learn if he has made it to Eagle Scout in May.

By then, the children at Southeast Elementary will be enjoying their new sandbox.

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