JOPLIN, Mo. — Walmart has stepped up to provide additional assistance to the Special Education Department at Joplin High School.

Two grants totaling $2,500 will help the department’s Life Skills classes, as well as its Peer Buddy Program. Both of Joplin’s Neighborhood Market locations made it possible.

About 80 kids are expected to be enrolled in Life Skills classes this fall and about 180 students will be part of the Peer Buddy Program.

“So our students, they gain friendships. A lot of our students, they don’t go out to classes outside of Life Skills classes and so they get to meet new people, they get to build friendships throughout the year. The general education students also have a huge takeaway from it. Some of our students that are in the program will go out of their way to make sure that our individuals with special needs are advocated for and taken care of and a part of the school. It’s a cool program. It’s cool to see them come together,” said Julie McCain, JHS Special Education Teacher.

Fundraisers for both the Peer Buddy Program and the Life Skills classes are held each year to offset program needs throughout the school year.

Folks can take part in either, or both of them, or make donations.

To find out more, contact Julie McCain at juliemccain@joplinschools.org.