A Special Idea – Bryan Middle School Student Starts an Awareness Campaign for Students with Special Needs

Posted on 09/08/2016
Zoey's Spark

Most of us want to make the world a better place, but we often wait too long to make a difference. But not Zoey Hurlbert. Not even in high school yet, Zoey is already making her mark on her community by helping raise awareness about students with special needs. She’s hoping to inspire us to see these kids differently in a social media campaign called “Zoey’s Spark.”

Bryan Middle teacher Emily Milligan leads the All of Us Club at the school, which was described by Milligan as a place where all students of all abilities are welcome to participate in activities with peers. “This has created some friendships for our students,” Milligan said, “that they might not have made otherwise. Zoey always jumps right into the activity, and effortlessly includes all students.”

A screenshot of the Zoey Spark's Facebook pageZoey jumped right into improving the lives of others by creating the Zoey’s Spark Facebook page (click the link to visit). “I considered waiting until I was an adult to begin this,” Zoey said, “but then I realized I can help so many more people if I start right now. I hope to inspire my peers along the way, and I believe everyone can make a difference regardless of age.”

“I was surprised that a young lady of the eighth grade would focus so much on the happiness and inclusion of her peers,” said Milligan. “It is amazing to find a young person who is willing to sacrifice her time to ensure others are able to take full advantage of opportunities.”

“All of my life I've felt called to serve the specially-abled community,” Zoey said. “I have witnessed various opportunities to be more inclusive of all children despite minor obstacles.” And that’s what she wants us all to see – the abilities of those whom some see as having DIS-abilities. It’s not all about raising awareness, but also about supporting those who assist these brave members of our community – the “teachers, families, and other professionals who work to serve the interest of these very special children.”

If nothing else, Zoey hopes to spark the interest and awareness of others, and we can help just like her. Milligan explained, “Anyone can be a part of advocating for others. By being a part of Zoey's Spark, you have the opportunity to brighten the future of others who may not automatically have opportunities handed to them. Zoey is making those opportunities possible. It is amazing to see someone so young have the potential to do something so great!”

“This journey will follow me long into my adult years,” Zoey said, “as I become a lawyer to protect the needs and interests of the specially-abled community. Zoey's Spark is on Facebook and Instagram, and I can't wait for you to join me on this journey.”

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