Girl with special needs raises money, awareness for others who have disabilities

CINCINNATI - Dater Montessori School in Cincinnati joined one of its students on a mission to help people with special needs.

The school has an annual Walk-A-Thon and raised nearly $14,000 this year alone.

While members of the school and community walked, Katie Weber raised awareness for people who have disabilities.

“She said she wants to help people like herself who have special needs,” said Karen Weber, Katie’s mom.

Katie, who was born with Down syndrome, wanted to have a clothing drive for Goodwill Industries because it helps people with special needs train and be equipped to get jobs.

“I wasn’t surprised because Katie is such a caregiver and always thinking of really great ideas anyway,” said Dater Intervention Specialist Billie Swingle. “When she brought it to the table I was very, very excited by it but again, not surprised.”

The school thought Katie’s idea was in step with the schools Walk-A-Thon. Now Goodwill is looking to make the clothing drive an annual event.

“She’s positive,” said Dater Assistant Principal Lenise Fuqa. “She is a diamond... she defies all odds. She is very passionate about this project. She created it on her own and she’s a big cheerleader for it. We have lots of clothing to give to the community and to help Goodwill put people to work.”

The school said that eight barrels of clothes have been collected in the past week.

“As a father, I am very proud,” Mark Weber said. “Also, from day one since she’s been born, she’s always been my little princess.”

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