COPPERAS COVE, TX — When a single father in Belton asked for Christmas cards for his 33-year old son who has severe nonverbal autism, Copperas Cove students grabbed their paper and art supplies to grant this Christmas wish.
When House Creek Elementary third grade teacher Julian Harris learned that Marty Mendoza said his son, Marty Mendoza, Jr., lived on a fixed income and were not able to afford Christmas, he turned this opportunity for acts of kindness into math and English lessons.
“Students wanted to help a person in need who has never had a real Christmas due to financial hardships,” Harris said. “This lesson incorporated the financial literacy aspect of math along with certain components of English with students each creating a brief composition. The most challenging thing for students was exactly what words to write and how we were going to deliver Marty Mendoza's cards and presents.
“What surprised me was the genuine compassion the students had for Marty Mendoza, Jr. who they never met and how hard they worked to make his Christmas the best possible. They truly felt the reward of giving when we gave the family an actual Christmas with presents and the Christmas cards requested.”
In addition to the cards, House Creek students gave Mendoza, Jr. a t-shirt from House Creek Elementary.
“It is the most wonderful feeling to be able to spread the Christmas spirit for Mendoza, Jr. since he has not really had a great Christmas,” student Delilah Cazarez said.
Other students outside the school also created cards for Mendoza, Jr. Third grader and Junior Miss Five Hills Hayley Sawyer said making the cards was a wonderful way to help others feel the joy of the season.
“When I heard that we could do something special for someone who normally doesn't get a lot of Christmas cards this time of year, I really wanted to make something special for just for him,” Sawyer said.
Fifth grader and Five Hills Ambassador Briana Liles said it felt so good to send Mendoza, Jr. a Christmas card and some toys cars since she heard through social media that he loves Hot Wheels.
“I can’t imagine not getting to feel special on a holiday like Christmas,” Liles said. “I am so happy that so many pulled together to make Marty, Jr. feel good and not just him, but to remind his dad that there is good in the world and a community that cares about strangers. This is what the holidays are about: giving.”
Sixth grader and Preteen Miss Five Hills Kaydence Roberts said making and sending cards to the Mendoza family was a wonderful idea.
“All I thought about while I was making this special card was how happy this will make Marty and wish I could see the smile on his face when he receives all these cards for Christmas,” Roberts said. “It doesn't always have to be big toys and expensive items. Just a card with kind words can be the best present anybody receives.”