Four Olathe middle school students collecting goods for kids at school with special needs

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OLATHE, Kan. -- Four metro girls are spending some of their lunch hour collecting supplies for a special needs class at Mission Trail Middle School in Olathe.

"The whole reason why we're doing this project is because we're reading 'Flower for Algernon.' The lead character has a disability. It made me feel like I wanted to help and do something," Kolby Brown said.

This may have started out as a class project. Now, it's turned into something even bigger.

Right now, Kolby and her friends, Laci Lister, Lydia Fink and Emmy Harkrader are collecting everything from laundry detergent to board games.

"We asked her (special needs teacher) her specific needs. What do you not have enough of? What do you need new?" Lister said.

The girls credit the book for helping open their eyes.

"They are no different than us in all reality. They have learning disabilities. They still act like us. They want to be friends with us. Kids with autism still act like us," Lister said.

The school's special needs teacher said she's grateful for the girls help.

"I was so impressed with and honored that they came to our room. I thought it was such a great opportunity to look around the school and identify a potential problem," Lisa Burch said.

Now these students are realizing they're more alike than different.

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